As i arrived at the car park,got the gear together and began to explore,that welcome sweet sound of a lovely Willow Warbler singing close to the car,what a great start and my first of the year.
This was quickly followed by my first record of the year of Blackcap,with a male singing on the edge of the first meadow.He was quickly joined by a female and they both looked intent in finding a suitable nest site and gave some great views.
Overhead a flock of 16 Siskin passed over towards the pine plantation and as i passed the first dipping platform by,another singing male Blackcap and Willow Warbler were added to the notebook.
As i carried on my walk,several singing male Chiffchaff were recorded and again an overhead flock of winter visitors flew over,this time it was 27 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing,so certainly a mix of winter and summer visitors today,all making for an interesting variation in species.
A quick scan of the new fishing lake adjacent to the reserve added another welcome first for the year,with me watching my first Sand Martins hawking their flying prey and giving some really nice views.They are such smart little birds and it is amazing to think these little birds have just crossed the mighty Sahara Desert along with the Willow Warblers,Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs to arrive back here for the summer months,bird migration is just so amazing!.
I eventually arrived at the Duck Hide overlooking the main lake,but after several scans,nothing really of note could be seen and i decided to walk around to the Wader Hide instead.
At the Wader Hide plenty of activity was on show from the Black-headed Gulls collecting for the forth coming breeding season,with lots of displaying and territorial disputes as usual.
Several nice birds were seen from here which included a single Avocet and a lovely pair of Red-crested Pochard,the latter being a bit of a surprise,but i had seen them here in the past on occasion.Further exotica from the world of wildfowl,included a single male Mandarin Duck seen along the edge of the main lake,who knows were these latter two species have originated,but they certainly added some colour to the days sightings.
As i retraced my footsteps and back around the remainder of the reserve towards the plantation,i looked up to see my final firsts of the year,this time in the form of a single Swallow and 2 House Martins with a small flock of 4 Sand Martin.It is always a great day out when you see your first Swallow of the season and i have always had a soft spot for House Martins as well,since they nested under the eaves of our house when i was a lad.It was a great experience watching them return every summer to raise their noisy little broods,nice memories.
Non bird sightings today included a few insects at last,with Buff-tailed Bumble Bees,Tawny-mining Bee,Seven-spot Ladybird and hundreds of Back-Swimmers and Whirlgig Beetles being recorded.The only other notable was a single Common Toad.
What a great visit to this gem of a reserve today and it is always a privilege to come here.
|The Red-crested Pochard Pair.|
|The Lone Avocet.|