Trip reports

Attenborough Nature Reserve - 03/05/14

Attenborough Nature Reserve - 03/05/14
Reed warbler - Jill Islam

Saturday, 3 May 2014

This trip had been brought forward a week and it was a good job it was because the weather was absolutely fantastic on the day of the trip but awful the week after!

I had previously said that it was possible to see 8 warbler species in a day at this reserve and so the pressure was on to deliver! We were off to a good start when, barely having stepped out of the cars, a whitethroat was singing from the top of a nearby tree. A richer, flutier song was coming from a nearby thicket and, after a bit of hunting, we located a garden warbler. 2 down and we hadn't even left the car park!

We headed into the visitor centre to check the sightings board and use the facilities. A walkway leads up to the visitor centre with a small area of reed bed on either side. 2 reed warblers, one on either side, were singing their hearts out and giving good views. A coot was sitting on a nest and giving us glimpses of the fluffy chicks underneath. Out of the rear of the visitor centre is a wildlife garden and a relatively new hide which has a sand martin wall on either side. Tree sparrows were zooming in and out of the next boxes under the eaves of the visitor centre and an Egyptian goose was basking in the sunshine.

We headed off out to cover the northern end of the reserve picking up a blackcap in the trees between 2 of the lakes. A little ringed plover was running around on some sand banks and flew round calling. Along the path to the tower hide we heard a lesser whitethroat calling. We ended up stalking it along the path as it moved through the undergrowth until eventually everyone had had a view, however brief! From under the tower hide itself came the unmistakeable explosive song of a Cetti's warbler. Usually these birds are really difficult to see, choosing to skulk at the bottom of vegetation rather than show themselves. This particular bird didn't seem to have read the manual though which was good for us - it showed itself well on quite a few occasions, even sitting fully out in the open at one point!

Onwards and we were 6 warblers down, 2 to go!

A little egret was spotted perched in a tree and every patch of water seemed to have a pair of great crested grebe in residence. We headed back to the car park for lunch before tackling the southern end of the reserve.

The main lake had numerous sand martins and swallows swooping low over the water. We also had one swift fly through. A good number of common terns were present along with cormorants which have a colony on one of the islands. As we followed the path along the railway line we spotted willow warbler and chiffchaff which meant my mission was accomplished - 8 warblers seen! A sparrowhawk was circling high in the blue sky and a kestrel was also seen hovering.

Round the bottom of the reserve we found great spotted woodpecker and stock dove. Walking back along the banks of the River Trent we picked up a sedge warbler and a little grebe.

After a quick pit stop in the café for tea and cake we ended the day with a walk to Attenborough village and back adding coal tit and mistle thrush to the day list.

We had a fantastic day at this reserve and it is definitely somewhere I would recommend for a visit in spring. There is quite a lot of ground to cover and we didn't even make it to the very northern end of the reserve so there is always something new to see. A total of 64 species were seen including 9 warblers.