Orchids at their best

Spikes of pink and purple are now popping up all over the reserve, and through the grounds - but how many species can you find?

Common Spotted Orchid, Southern Marsh Orchid and their hybrids are by far the most common around the site, but look closely as our Bee Orchids are also starting to flower. You can find some in the small meadow next to the entrance ramp to the Visitor Centre, or along the path to the South Lake Discovery Hide. If you want even more of a challenge, see if you can spot the Common Twayblades too - today our volunteer team found one outside the Robbie Garnett Hide as you look out of the windows.

Middle Point
A small number of waders were on the estuary this morning including 35 Ringed Plover, 16 Dunlin, two Whimbrel, 23 Sanderling, a Grey Plover, a pair of Oystercatcher and five Curlew. Visitors also reported and photographed a Marsh Tit in the reedbed - a very unusual sighting for the reserve and its location. Perhaps a juvenile exploring from a local breeding population, as they are less than annually recorded on the reserve. The three immature Spoonbills were also noted.

Grounds
Two drake Pochard were with the captive Redheads in the Eider Pond. Another highlight from the Grounds this morning was an unseasonal singing Willow Warbler - the first recorded on site for several weeks.

Estuary Tower
Twenty adult Avocet were on the Dumbles scrape this morning including seven nests, plus a brood of three newly hatched chicks. Sadly the Crane pair nesting on the left hand island now seem to have abandoned their breeding attempt, with both birds on the Tack Piece this morning.

Robbie Garnett Hide
Ten adult Avocet and a single chick were counted this morning, with one pair nesting on the new island opposite the Stephen Kirk Hide. The volunteer team carried out some work in front of the hide this morning to clear views, and the Avocet remained on the nest throughout as the team remained hidden. Whilst working they also discovered the orchids flowering here. Other birds this morning included five Gadwall, a drake Teal, a pair of Shoveler and three Cranes, these being the breeding pair from the Dumbles (Monty & Evie), and our lone female (Sedge).

Rushy Hide
A total of 12 Avocet were on the lower pond this morning, with 42 Gadwall loafing on the upper pond as they prepare to moult. A Little Ringed Plover was also on the islands here. Two broods of Shelduck were on the lower pond, and our Crane family were on the back meadow. Sadly we believe they now only have one chick.

South Lake
A count of 58 adult Avocet with three growing chicks this morning, along with a pair of Little Ringed Plover, 39 Gadwall, at least 48 Black-tailed Godwit, and an adult Oystercatcher with a near full-grown chick. An adult Great Crested Grebe was on the deep lake, and a second-calendar Mediterranean Gull was loafing on the rails. Four Teal were roosting close to the hide.