• Weald Reserves Newsletter April 2024

    We recently sent out a reserves newsletter in which there's lots of information about what we have been doing on the reserve in recent months and on our future plans. A copy is attached. If you'd like to receive future newsletters, the next one will be issued in the autumn when we'll be looking back on how the wildlife fared in this year's breeding season, please email broadwater.warren@rspb.org.uk and…

  • Damsels and Dragons

    Our dragon and damselfly surveyors, Sam and Rob, carried out their first survey of the year on 12 May. They had a good start to the season and saw 7 species:

    • Beautiful Demoiselle
    • Azure Damselfly
    • Blue-tailed Damselfly
    • Large Red Damselfly
    • Hairy Dragonfly
    • Broad-bodied Chaser
    • Four Spotted Chaser

    Here are a couple of Sam's photos of a Broad-bodied Chaser photos

  • Birdwatching Tips

    Our Assistant Warden Matt arranged a visit to the reserve for some of our volunteers at dawn on 7 May to help them with their bird identification skills. Here's volunteer Elaine's notes on what they saw and heard:

    After the deluge that was the May bank holiday, we were not expecting much of the weather, but the Warren had other ideas and was keen to show off at its Maytime best. At 5:30 the volunteers gathered…

  • Wildlife Walk for Volunteers

    Last month we arranged a walk round the reserve for the our reserves' volunteers to thank them for all their hard work over the busy autumn/winter habitat management season. One of the volunteers, Elaine, wrote an account of what they saw:

    Broadwater Warren Volunteer Birdwalk 23/04/2024

    After so much recent hard labour by volunteers and RSPB workers, as well as the dedicated grazing of the konic ponies and the behorned…

  • Butterflies, etc.

    After weeks of cold, wet weather we managed our first butterfly survey of the year today. The data we collect is a contribution to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme managed by Butterfly Conservation. We saw 3 species - Brimstone, Peacock and Speckled Wood. Brimstone were by far the most numerous, they do well on the reserve because we have lots of Alder Buckthorn which is their caterpillar's foodplant. Female Brimstones…

  • Nightjars return

    Our first nightjar of the year was heard churring at 0415 on Saturday morning, just before the start of our Dawn Chorus Walk. That's slightly earlier than normal, we usually expect to hear our first one from about 10 May. Those who attended the dawn chorus walk also enjoyed hearing Cuckoo, Willow and Garden Warblers, Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat, Robin, Song Thrush, Wren and Dunnock in full song and the list of birds…

  • Migrants Arriving

    Bird song is picking up now and newly-arrived migrants such as blackcaps and willow warblers appreciated the spell of warm weather over the weekend. The first cuckoo of the year was heard on the reserve on 7 April and the beautiful song of the woodlark can be heard over the heaths across the reserve. Also on the heaths the Dartford warblers are active although you need patience and a keen eye to spot them. We are now…

  • Dartfords, Buzzards and a Canary

    I don't suppose anyone has come up with a title like that before! It's been an interesting week for wildlife sightings on the reserve. Dartford warblers have been seen quite frequently on the heaths on either side of the main track leading from the car park. Yesterday a group of 4 was spotted. Dartfords are usually seen flying just above the heather and often in the company of Stonechats that will be flitting from perch…

  • Spring has arrived

    I heard my first Chiffchaff of the spring singing on the reserve this morning and later in the day saw my first Brimstone butterfly of the year. The Brimstone was a sulphur-yellow male flying along a ride where some trees were felled late last year to allow more light in and a scrubby edge to develop. The reserve is a good place to see Brimstones because there is quite a lot of alder buckthorn, the foodplant of its caterpillars…

  • Huge flock of Lesser Redpoll

    Flocks of Lesser Redpoll are often seen at Broadwater in the autumn/winter where they like to feed on birch and alder seeds. Today I came across the biggest flock I've ever seen, some on the ground foraging for fallen seeds and others up in the birch trees. There were probably about 200 and so many that they made a "whoosh" as they all took off when they spotted me. If you'd like to know more about Lesser Redpoll have…

  • Another new species and a first for East Sussex

    On 29 January local ecologist Graeme Lyons did a survey of spiders on the reserve and was very excited by what he found. Results included Rhysodromus histrio, a large spider on mature heaths, known in Sussex only from West Sussex heaths and Ashdown Forest (photo below). And even better, Centromerus cavernarum, a new species for Graeme and for East Sussex (which was last recorded in the far west of West Sussex in 1998…

  • Goshawk! A first for the reserve

    On 31 January one of our volunteer wardens, Kevin Hyde, and a visiting birder saw a Goshawk in a woodland clearing on the edge of the Western Heath. It's a first for the reserve and takes the number of bird species seen on or flying over the reserve to 108. A great end to the month. 

  • Woodlark singing

    Woodlark nest on the ground in the heaths at Broadwater and are one of the first birds of the year to set up territories. Our first Woodlark of the year was heard singing on the Western Heath at the weekend and again today. You can read more about the Woodlark here https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/woodlark and listen to its beautiful song.

  • Grass Snake

    Barry Richardson and Stephen Hall sent in this picture of a beautiful Grass Snake today from their Reptile Surveying at Broadwater Warren. 
    Check out what the RSPB has to say on snakes in the UK; 

    https://rspb.org.uk/our-work/rspb-news/rspb-news-stories/the-uks-six-reptiles-and-where-to-see-them/

  • Grass Snake

    Barry Richardson and Stephen Hall reported this beautiful grass snake at Broadwater Warren on their Reptile Surveying yesterday. 

  • His Imperial Majesty at Broadwater Warren

    The Purple Emperor is probably the UK's most impressive butterfly. The well-known butterfly expert Matthew Oates wrote a book on his passion for the Emperor entitled "His Imperial Majesty: A Natural History of the Purple Emperor" and sightings of Purple Emperors at Broadwater are very rare. We were really excited, therefore, to hear from regular visitor Gillian Snowdon that she had seen a male Purple Emperor near the…

  • Roe Deer and Fawn at Broadwater Warren

    Sightings of Mother and Calf by Volunteer Leslie Cox

    "When I got to the crossroads I looked up the path and saw the female looking away from me and into the scrub. I stood quite still after aiming the camera when the fawn appeared from the scrub. It then had a quick suckle before moving off behind the mother into the scrub the other side of the path.

    I count myself as being very lucky of being in the right place…

  • Dragonfly Survey At Broadwater Warren by Sam Crocker

    Despite the poor dragonfly weather we saw quite a lot on Saturday but only one new species for the year.

    Species 2023 – year total 12 (All Time Site total 28). New species for the year is; Southern Hawker

    • Beautiful Demoiselle
    • Azure Damselfly
    • Blue-tailed Damselfly
    • Large Red Damselfly
    • Southern Hawker
    • Emperor Dragonfly
    • Hairy Dragonfly
    • Golden-ringed Dragonfly
    • Downy Emerald
    • Broad-bodied Chaser
    • Four Spotted Chaser
    • Common…
  • Nightjar Survey is in!

    Many thanks to our volunteers for helping with this year's Nightjar surveys at Broadwater and Tudeley; approximately 35 different people participated across the 4 surveys, which was an excellent turnout!  I've scrutinised and compared the maps from each survey, as well as speaking to several of you for further clarification, and have determined results as follows for number of churring males:

     

    Broadwater - 14

  • Orchids

    Nice to see 3 species of orchid today in an area on the western side of the reserve that we have been managing for wild flowers. Common Spotted, Pyramidal and Bee Orchids were all in bloom.

  • The Crowhurst Country Fair

    We had a fabulous day out last Saturday at The Crowhurst Country Fair.  Our Fore Wood volunteers did us proud, answering some tricky wildlife and forest management questions.  Our youngest volunteer George was a great help guiding the children with their forest school crafts and we raised a little money for the RSPB pin badge scheme. 

  • Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey

    Another good set of results on an extremely hot day! We saw 8 species in total with 2 new species for this year.

     

    Species 2023 – year total 9 (All Time Site total 28). New species for the year in red/new species for the site in green:

    • Beautiful Demoiselle
    • Azure Damselfly
    • Blue-tailed Damselfly
    • Large Red Damselfly
    • Emperor Dragonfly
    • Hairy Dragonfly
    • Golden-ringed Dragonfly
    • Downy Emerald
    • Broad-bodied Chaser
    • Four Spotted…
  • Dragons and an Emperor

    Broadwater Warren is one of the very best RSPB reserves in the country for damselflies and dragonflies with 28 species so far recorded, thanks mainly to the efforts of our two dragonfly surveyors Sam and Rob. They carried out their first survey of 2023 on 27 May and recorded 9 species - 

    • Beautiful Demoiselle
    • Azure Damselfly
    • Blue-tailed Damselfly
    • Large Red Damselfly
    • Hairy Dragonfly
    • Downy Emerald
    • Broad-bodied Chaser
    • Four…
  • Nightjars Have Returned

    Nightjars have arrived back on the reserve from overwintering in Sub-Saharan Africa. This morning one was heard churring near the car park at 4.30am before we set off on our Dawn Chorus Walk. Another was recorded flying over the Western Heath.

  • Cuckoo

    Red List Species at Broadwater Warren

    We have been hearing the call of a male and female Cuckoo this week at Broadwater Warren.  The Cuckoo is a top-priority red list species, so it’s a wonderful noise to hear while on the reserve.

    Fleeting Visitors

    Cuckoos are summer visitors and are only in the UK for about six weeks before returning to Africa.  The female Cuckoo will find a suitable bird’s nest and replace one…