It looks like summer has finally arrived at RSPB Sandwell Valley. The last two days have been gloriously sunny with bright blue skies and a warm breeze, and the wildlife, volunteers and visitors alike have all been enjoying the change in weather. As we say goodbye to spring, we’ve been delighted to find all sorts of fluffy and furry newcomers across the reserve.

This week we welcomed two little oystercatcher chicks who were spotted down near the lake.

(Photo credit: Bob Bunn)

The resident birds are all still chirping and tweeting away: blue tits, great tits, greenfinches, bullfinches and the parakeets too. Recently we’ve also had a great spotted woodpecker toing and froing regularly from the feeders, and the sedge warblers and reed warblers are about as well.

Hundreds of bright yellow buttercups and dainty daisies have filled the paths down to the hide and all across the meadows, and a number of butterflies have been seen relaxing in the greenery under the summer sun. Speckled wood, red admiral and small copper butterflies have all emerged and are happily fluttering around.

(small copper butterfly)

Down by the pond large red damselflies have been spotted, and dragonflies such as the broad-bodied chaser are now beginning to hatch. Although damselflies and dragonflies look very similar, you can tell them apart by their wing shape. A damselfly’s wings are the same size, whereas a dragonfly’s hind wings are much shorter and broader than their fore wings.

Emerald Damselfly

  (Photo credit: Andy Purcell)

Interesting fact: Damselfly translates as ‘yoke-winged’ from its latin name: Zygoptera. And Dragonfly translates as ‘unequal-winged’ from its latin name: Anisoptera.

The other visitor we’ve had recently is Vincent. Vincent is a lovely one-eared female squirrel who likes to sit on the window ledge and sometimes even ventures inside the visitor centre! She also likes to sneak into the bird feeder box to see what seeds and nuts she can find.

(Photo credit: Cathy Taylor)

Not made any plans yet for this Bank Holiday Weekend? Why not come and visit us here at RSPB Sandwell Valley? Bring a picnic and enjoy the sunshine, take a walk down to the lakeside hide and do a spot of bird watching, or have a go at doing some Bird Bingo or Pond Dipping. You can hire a Pond Dipping kit from the visitor centre for just £3 and you’ll receive a net, a white tray, a magnifying glass, a spoon and an identification card.

There’s a Nature Scavenger Hunt on the Monday too and we’re inviting all young explorers to come and see what they can find across the reserve:

(You can find all of our upcoming events on our website and on our Facebook page)

Whatever you choose to do here, there’s always lots of fun to be had by all.