With warm weather finally making an appearance and everything from birds to insects to flowers bursting into life, May is a great month to visit our wildlife reserve. Here’s the latest update from reserve manager John Gowland…
“Following the predation of their first chicks, at least three of the four pairs of avocets on Wader Lake have started to nest again. They are near the North East edge of Tern Island this time, mainly due to the common tern colony, which is now dominating the island (the last count indicated that we have 50 pairs incubating eggs). Hopefully now the colony has started to establish they will be more inclined to defend their territory – and by default, the avocets – from predators.
“The grey heron colony has been steady this year, with 39 nests occupied and second broods well underway. Stock dove have also been confirmed as breeding successfully on site (a fledgling was spotted flying out of the heron hedge on 25 May).
“Early in the morning of 21May, five pochard were observed dropping onto Wader Lake, but by the time the centre opened the birds had departed.
“All of the regular spring migrant warblers, including common whitethroat, chiffchaff, blackcap, willow warbler, reed warbler and sedge warbler, are holding territory and a pair of lesser redpoll were noted in Hawthorn Wood on 18May.
“Invertebrates on the wing include St Mark’s fly (so-called because the adults typically emerge around St Mark’s Day on 25 April) and orange tip, speckled wood, peacock, comma and wall brown butterflies; all noted in the insect garden.
“Red campion, ragged robin, northern marsh orchid and yellow rattle are all flowering, while cotton grass has started to go to seed.
“With the weather conditions improving, the saline lagoon has finally been seeded and it’s now down to Mother Nature to help the seed germinate and grow!
“We’ve had all out war on the invasive plant species this week too; spraying Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed.
“Our reserve warden John and his gang of dedicated volunteers have also been working hard down at the lagoon, putting drainage in at the edges of the new paths and creating new accesses steps from the viewing area up to the top of Hawthorn Wood.
“Many thanks to the staff from Unionlearn in Newcastle, who helped with this during a volunteering day on 23 May.”