On a pleasantly warm day eleven of us set off to Staveley Nature reserve. It was lovely to all be back together again after the past months of lockdown.
Our first sightings caused some dispute as there were some ducks in the undergrowth as we left the car park. We thought one was a Teal and the other a Shelduck, but we were uncertain.
The reserve was looking lush and the air was full of birdsong. There were lots of birds flitting around in the canopy as we walked through the woodland area. Tits, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock and Goldfinch were apparent and our identification skills were put to the test by Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff. A Song Thrush was heard and some of our members thought they heard and sighted a Whitethroat.
Reed bunting, Reed and Sedge Warblers were spotted around the East Lagoon and much time was spent listening to their various songs. It was lovely to see a lone Common Tern amongst the Black Headed Gulls on one of the rafts on the water, along with Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Gadwall and a pair of Mute Swans with their cygnets.
Swallows, House Martins and Swifts wheeled high above us and a Red Kite and Buzzards were seen soaring in the thermals. We retraced our steps and made our way to the hide on the West lagoon for lunch. Here we were treated to views of more Black Headed gulls, an Oystercatcher, Greylag Geese with goslings, Lapwing with chicks and a pair of Shelduck with 8 ducklings. After much searching we managed to spot a Ringed Plover and a Pied Wagtail on the other side of the lagoon. A Little Egret made a brief appearance next to a fishing Grey Heron.
A small brown bird was spotted on the reeds which we struggled to identify. Suggestions were a Linnet or a Cetti’s Warbler. Photos were taken of it and the jury is still out to identify it!! However, we did see a Spotted Flycatcher; a summer migrant that used to be common around here, but is now in considerable decline.
A great day was had by all, helped by the lovely warm, dry weather. In total the group recorded 42 species.
Leader Marg Smith.
Photos Ian Hughes