Trip reports

Field Trip - Paxton Pits Nature Reserve

Cuckoo perched in tree

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Our Group has visited Paxton Pits on many occasions, particularly in the hope of seeing the elusive Nightingale. On arrival, we were greeted by Trevor Gunton, who played a major part in the development of the reserve - including through the formation of the Friends of Paxton Pits volunteer group. Trevor was RSPB Development Manager when Local Groups were being set up in the 1970's.

The weather was cloudy with the occasional shower. We split up into small groups to explore the reserve. It wasn't long before we heard a singing Nightingale hidden somewhere in the undergrowth. As everything was now in full leaf, great patience was required to get a sighting. I'm pleased to say that quite a few members did get a view, even if it was just a fleeting glance.

Summer visitors made up most of the birds seen and included Cetti's Warbler, Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Cuckoo, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swallow and Swift. Long-tailed, Coal, Great and Blue Tits were present in good numbers - with one of the latter seen taking food into a hole in a tree right by a main path, totally oblivious of us walking by.

Quite a variety of other species were seen in the various wooded habitats around the reserve, including corvids such as Jay, Rook and Jackdaw. Finches around in good numbers were Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet and Bullfinch. Buntings included Yellowhammer and Reed Buntings, while waterbirds on the lakes were Great-crested Grebe, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot and Cormorant. Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls were joined by a good number of Common Tern. The unmistakable blue flash of a Kingfisher was spotted at a distance and traced to the low-lying branch of a tree at the lake's edge where it perched. Even at that distance, the iridescent blue was stunning.

Birds of prey seen were Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel and Hobby. But the day belonged to the warblers and birds of the woodland rather than the lakes. Other wildlife species seen included Otter and Muntjac Deer.

35 people attended
69 bird species seen