The magic of Spring is with us again! There is anticipation of what we will see and hear on our Signs of Spring survey.  Always on a similar date each year, last Saturday saw us wrapped up on a cool morning. It did not disappoint. With a lack of butterflies in the chilly wind with only a brimstone to be seen, the chiff-chaffs made up for it. We walked the Meadow Trail with red kites overhead -surely they are going to nest locally this year? and carried onto the Ouse Valley Way and there we watched bullfinch and heard our 1st blackcap singing. Further on by Bill’s bench, long-tailed tits are making a nest. Interestingly they have also made a nest outside the Kingfisher Hide. They are not the only wildlife that like a view of water!

Have you seen the Little Grebe on the Heronries? Are they the same ones that usually nest on the Farm Pit?  I hope not, as it would be great to see them nesting on the Heronries as well.

Sand martins have been seen and also one or 2 swallows.

 The plants were also plentiful, over 50 were noted. I don’t think of Paxton Pits for its flowers, but if you look closely, there are plenty to be seen.

I am reading Dave Goulson’s book, Silent Earth at present. A title taken from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which I read a long time ago. I fear we did not take enough note then. Have we now? I am sure we haven’t. Yesterday, it was great to see lots of bees of all sorts in an area we have been clearing on our work parties and making some bare patches to encourage them to nest. On the Signs of Spring survey, a new bee for the reserve, Colletes cunicularis was seen on the Redlands area. The largest of the nine British species in this genus has expanded its range from the west.

The Winter Wetland Bird survey has now finished. The results will be out later in the Spring  in the annual report on the website. The Breeding Bird Survey starts this Sunday and ringing in the sanctuary will start soon. If you want to help with either, let me know.

You may also be thinking of travelling further afield and want a bird guide. The Friends have been donated a large number of these wildlife guides. I have attached a list of some of them. Come down to the Visitor Centre for a look, or email for a list of some of them.  Most of them will be priced at £5.00 or under. All in aid of the reserve.

Hopefully the next blog, I write, will mention our nightingales!

Ann Thomas

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