Trip reports

Broadwater Warren RSPB Reserve (Leaders Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich)

Broadwater Warren RSPB Reserve (Leaders Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich)
Willow Warbler (Rich Hanman)

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Twelve members met on a pleasantly warm and sunny morning and set off on the 2.5 miles long circuit of the nature trail. This fairly new reserve comprises heath land, coniferous and broadleaved woodlands and a wet wooded valley.

This time of year is relatively quiet bird wise, with the youngsters having fledged and the adults no longer singing to attract mates or deter rivals.

Before long we noticed some movement on a side track and were pleased to identify three or four juvenile woodlarks ahead on the path. Retracing our steps we saw a female stonechat interacting with a very yellow willow warbler, possibly a young bird, in a bare tree.

Buzzards were already thermalling as we returned to the main track and stopped at a small pool where we saw a couple of hawkers and a male emperor dragonfly.

Brian picked up a pair of ravens flying above the tree line and three kestrels circled and hovered above us. Shortly afterwards we reached the decoy pond where we spent some time watching and photographing more dragonflies, including a female emperor egg laying, damselflies and attractive purple loosestrife flowers smothered with bees and both male and female brimstone butterflies.

Some noticed a small fish, possibly a rudd, near the surface of the pond and we admired the water lilies before moving on.

Although we found the wild honeysuckle, there was no sign of any white admirals or silver-washed fritillaries. I thought maybe we were two weeks too late, but Steve met a local couple later who confirmed there had been no emergence of either species in the locality this year. As compensation he found and photographed a coxcomb prominent moth which he identified from a field guide on our return home.

On the final stretch back to the car park we saw a tit flock and six chiffchaffs in another bare tree, together with a nuthatch (thanks Rich!). We were also pleased to see a speckled wood butterfly, yellowhammer, great-spotted woodpecker and a wren.

Back in the car park we partook of our lunch and watched comma, gatekeepers, large skippers, meadow browns, red admiral and peacock butterflies on the rose bay willow herb and bramble blossom. There was also a dark bush cricket here.

As can sometimes be the case at this time of year, insect sightings outnumbered the avian ones. We saw twenty-three species of birds but many more varieties of dragonflies and damselflies including emperor, migrant hawker, beautiful demoiselle, blue-tailed damselfly? And ruddy darter. So at this beautiful reserve the emphasis was not so much on the birds but on the Lepidoptera and Odonata for a change.

Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich