Construction work is ongoing to replace the old footbridge to the reserve. An alternative route is available, but the Heron's Wing and Peter Scott hides will be closed until the work is complete. We apologise for any inconvenience.


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Recent Wildlife Sightings 15th - 21st June

Highlights: Spoonbill, Green Woodpecker, Lesser Whitethroat, Meadow Brown Butterfly

As we enter Summer, we can look forward to nicer weather and an abundance of wildlife to keep us entertained. The resident birds returned to their duties this week, after we bid farewell to the rare visitors we paid host to last weekend.

Highlights: Spoonbill, Green Woodpecker, Lesser Whitethroat, Meadow Brown Butterfly

Unusually for this time of year, an adult Spoonbill was spotted sweeping its spatula bill across the shallow waters of Dafen Scrapes. Although a very small number of this long-legged bird are known to breed in the UK (mostly in Norfolk), they are principally winter visitors to our reserve. This was a record year for Spoonbill on our site, with 17 being the highest count.

Along Northern Loop, a juvenile Green Woodpecker was seen last weekend feeding on the edge of the path. Despite being a member of the woodpecker family, these birds are not often seen pecking at wood. Rather, they choose to feed on ants and other invertebrates in open grassland, meaning their bold green feathers can make them hard to spot. The more common Great Spotted Woodpecker (which is indeed partial to pecking on wood) is seen very frequently on the feeders behind the café, with a recently fledged bird now joining its parents for regular feeding sessions.

A juvenile Lesser Whitethroat was spotted peeking out of the undergrowth this week - a good sign they successfully bred on site this spring. Breeding numbers vary each year, but it's no surprise they nested here as the thick areas of scrub we have around the reserve are ideal habitat for them. More nesting by this stocky warbler species may occur this year as their song can still be heard from the Pond Dipping area fairly regularly.

Some of the first Meadow Brown Butterfly were seen this week - an indication that summer has finally arrived. As the most abundant species of butterfly found in this country, they are quite hardy and can often be seen in less pleasant weather, when most other species are hiding away in the vegetation. Gatekeeper and Ringlet butterflies are similar in appearance to Meadow Brown, but separation isn't too challenging if you get a glimpse of the small orange patch around a black eye on the top of its forewings.

We said goodbye to the two Caspian Tern on Saturday, hoping they find their way back to their usual migration route to Scandinavia. In the trees along the path to Swan's Nest Maze, the female Cuckoo is still being seen fairly regularly - a sign that we may see some baby Cuckoo this year. The reeling of Grasshopper Warbler can still be heard from the Pond Dipping area behind the Visitor Centre, showing us it may be a good year for the more irregular breeding species of warbler.

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