On a warm sunny day 6 of us set off to Staveley Nature Reserve run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, for the first time since June 2021.

Bird song welcomed us so we were immediately challenged to identify the different sounds. We managed to recognise Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit , Long Tailed Tit, & Blackbird all of which were in the woodland. However Whitethroat proved to be more tricky & although we heard it numerous times it remained elusive, much to our frustration.

Willow Warbler


It was obviously a good year for Reed Bunting as they seemed to be everywhere. A Stonechat was also sighted flying amongst the vegetation. Sedge Warbler & Reed Warbler took up a lot of our time but both were eventually spotted.

Reed Bunting with food

It was also a challenging day for raptors. A silhouette was spotted high in the sky which started a huge debate. Was it a Kestrel, Sparrowhawk or Peregrine? The answer was given by another birdwatcher who had a scope. It was a Hobby ! Soon after that a pair of Buzzards were seen. We all agreed on that !

Water birds & waders were not abundant. Mallard ( with ducklings ) Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Shelduck, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot,
Canada Goose & Greylag with goslings were observed but not in great numbers.

Mute Swan

Grey Heron


A Little Ringed Plover, Oyster Catcher, Lapwing & a solitary Avocet were on the islands.

The first swifts of the year were seen above the farm & a few swallows flew above our heads. Two Common Tern were also seen along with numerous Black Headed Gulls which were sitting on the rafts.

Common Tern

Some of the group thought they saw a Cuckoo which flew in front of them , but couldn’t be certain. The usual Corvids were sighted along with the Woodpigeons.

The warm weather brought the butterflies out. We saw a Holly Blue & several Brimstones & Orange Tips. A dragonfly was also spotted resting on a reed.

A great day was had by all helped by the glorious sunshine.
In total 46 species were recorded by the group.

Marg Smith

Photos: Marg Smith and Ian Hughes (3 days later)