With the recent warm weather there has been a rush of incoming summer migrants. Along with the swallows, sand martins and house martins swooping over the lakes we have had an influx of warblers, singing from the scrub land and willows around the lakes. Willow warblers and chiffchaffs adorn the willows while most other species prefer the cover of hawthorn and bramble scrub. The most numerous and vocal songsters are the blackaps with loud warble with some harsh notes and 'chacks'. It's close relative, the garden warbler has a similar song, but is more mellow with rich thrush-like warbles. Whitethroats prefer more open scrubland and have a very scratchy song, often with a song flight, sedge warblers similarly. Sedge warblers also mimic other birds and can be heard from reedbeds alongside the reed warbler. The last three species we have are all distinctive in their own way; the lesser whitethroat prefers tall varied scrub and has a soft rattle call, the Cetti's is the very loud burst you hear on lake margins where scrub meets reed and finally the grasshopper warbler, rarer than the rest song like a continuous grasshopper reel.
We have a birdsong walk on Saturday May 9th at 7am, details on the events section of the website or ring 01954-233260 to book. There is a good chance of seeing or hearing a turtle dove too.
At Ouse Fen to the east of the river (access via the reedbed trail) the extensive reedbeds have booming bitterns and displaying marsh harriers. May is the best month to experience the abundant birdlife of the reserve, the Hanson/RSPB Wetland Project really is succeeding in Giving Nature a Home.
On May 13th there is an evening walk to hear the amazing booming bitterns. Please contact us for further details.
Barry O' Dowd (Warden)