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Cuckoos herald in the season; wildflowers bring pretty new colours to the valley; warblers are in full song; good numbers of snipe join other wading birds on the scrapes and chicks are everywhere, including newly-hatched lapwing and oystercatchers.


Pipistrelle bats emerge from their maternity roosts; the hammering of woodpeckers competes with summer bird song and the quackings of ducklings learning to swim; common sandpiper and green sandpiper visit; dragonflies dart above every pool and there are exciting pond-dipping discoveries o be made.


Barer trees make kingfishers easier to spot; water voles are fattening up for winter; the first of the winter migrants land, including tufted duck, pochard and mallard and, sometimes, 100 or more Canada geese. Numbers of wintering wildfowl start to increase like teal, gadwall, shoveler and shelduck.


As reed buntings and wrens burrow deeper into the reed-beds to fend off the chill of a British winter, many other birds fly in from even chillier places overseas. These usually include Bewick’s swans, bittern and water rail and, sometimes, in extreme weather, unusual or rare ‘vagrants’.