I visited the reserve in the afternoon on Sunday 3rd April and I was rewarded with some spring treats. The marshes were doing what they're intended for - attracting waders. Several lapwings were displaying and there was a pair of curlew - one bird crying its evocative 'curleee' call and another flew into the field in front of the Willow Works building to feed. A new wader for the site was a little ringed plover, feeding along the muddy margins of one of the pools, no doubt stopping off on migration. This diminutive wader is attracted to the gravel pits of the Trent to breed.
Next to the ditches on site there has been spread the material cleaned out of them, known as slubbings. The slubbings had a lot of midges buzzing above them and so were attracting feeding birds - skylarks, meadow pipits and two species that are spring migrants - wheatear and yellow wagtail. There were three wheatears - two smart males and a female. The yellow wagtails were the golden nuggets - three brilliant yellow males. The wheatears will carry on migrating northwards to moorland where they breed but some yellow wagtails should stay to breed on the marshes.
It was an afternoon of mixed weather with some heavy showers as the clouds scuddered over the marshes. On the drive back to Newark there was a fantastic double rainbow arching over the Trent and I saw my first swallows of the year - four flew across the road near Grassthorpe.
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