Seven enthusiasts met at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserve at Staveley, well wrapped up and prepared for the forecasted rain later in the day. The initial impression was the height and lushness of the vegetation, the Hogweed being particularly impressive. In the car park we had already seen the Red Kite and heard the Chiffchaff. During the day the Kite was seen several times and the Chiffchaff ‘s call  almost a constant companion but not so easily seen. During the walk towards the East Lagoon Willow Warblers flitted amongst the trees , identified by its call, also not so easy to see.  The Wren was heard frequently.


A coffee stop was made at the East Lagoon and there was great excitement as some of the group saw a Hobby clearly enough to identify it. The bird is regularly seen here. It was also pleasing to see the Common Tern and the Large White Egret, a bird which is beginning to be seen more commonly. The sun continued to shine and the weather developed into perfect conditions for bird watching, not too bright or windy and no sign of rain.

Common Tern

Further on we spent some time near the two tier hide where the reeds line the water. There was good sightings of the Reed Bunting and Reed Warbler, nesting Great Crested Grebe, Swans with Cygnets and a Buzzard overhead. A little further on we had lunch and shortly afterwards, another highlight, a Bittern mobbed my Gulls.

Reed Bunting

We then turned back to make the long walk to the big round hide overlooking the West Lagoon. Here we had the advantage of one of the group’s telescope and we saw the Large White Egret again and the Heron,  Shelduck and Lapwing with chicks, a pair of Little Ringed Plover and some ducks – Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard and Tufted.

Little Ringed Plover

In all 40 species were seen or heard, including five Warblers, – Willow, Cetti’s, Black Cap, Sedge and Reed.

All of the group being keen botanists as well, particular pleasure was taken in a small group of Bee Orchids seen in their usual spot.

It had been a most enjoyable day.

Christine Bell

Photos from Creative Commons except the second opening photo- CB