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Spring sunshine over the Discovery Pool.

Warm greetings now that Spring is here

The Visitor Centre is now looking smart with its new noticeboards.

Cheery bulbs, Primroses, 'Pussy' Willow and Buckthorn are all in bloom round the Reserve.

Spring bulbs in flower in tubs round the Visitor Centre.

Primroses near the Discovery Pool.

... and 'Pussy' Willow.

Blackthorn (Sloe) in flower along the Blue Route.

The Reserve now is unfortunately closed for the foreseeable future, except for people walking from home on their walk of the day, in line with Government guidelines. As I fall into this category, I will do my best to keep you informed as to the day to day happenings on the Reserve, for as long as I can.

The Reserve has undergone a massive transformation in the last few months, with new wetland areas being created and the installation of electrified predator fences round them, to protect breeding waders.

Vast expanse of Holton Fen now that the sluices are in operation.

...from the Blue route - predator fencing and bunds round the International Pools.

View across International Pools from the Lonning Viewpoint.

Completion of the predator fencing round the Paisley Pools - the last to be completed, so still drying out.

Now that this work is complete, the muddier parts of the paths and lonning have been dealt with, so getting round the Reserve is much easier. 

Lonning surface refurbishment.

Duckboards are currently needed on the Blue Route at the lowest part of the Reserve. A sluice has been installed here to channel water into the International Pools area when required.

A number of raised viewpoints are currently being constructed along the east side of the Lonning. These will allow good viewing to the areas on and around the International Pools.

Viewpoint under construction.

The Staff have carefully placed suitable warning signs appropriately, to notify of precautions that are necessary in different places.

Warning that the predator fencing is now electified.

Restrictions for dogs

Warning about electrification along the Blue Route.

Bunds have been seeded with wildflowers.

 

A feature of interest is the recently installed Osprey nesting platform on the edge of the Moss. Osprey are regularly seen fishing in the Estuary and using various posts along and near to the boundary fence to dispatch their catches. So this platform may prove to be an attraction to them. We will see!

Osprey  platform.

Lapwings are taking up residence in the fields enclosed by the fencing, and it was pleasing to see Badger paw prints recently on the edge of the Lonning (outside the fencing). So hopefully, plenty of young waders will be running about in the near future.

A returning Lapwing to the breeding fields.

Lapwings vying for territory.

Badger paw print.

A couple of days ago a flock of 34 Curlew were foraging round Holton Fen. Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Mallard, Grey Heron, Moorhen and Little Egret are seen regularly in or around the wetlands now created. Up to three Buzzard and a Kestrel also frequent the area.

Curlew foraging on Holton Fen . . .

. . . and taking off from the International Pools.

Moorhen picking around the causeway on Holton Fen.

Wildfowl on Holton Fen.

Teal, Shoveler and Wigeon viewed from the hide.

Buzzard flying over the Reserve.

The bird feeding station near the Visitor Centre has recently been enlarged and good numbers of birds are currently using it. To name a few: Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch; Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tit; Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wood and Feral Pigeon, Starling, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow and the occasional Pheasant, Bullfinch and Siskin.

Extended bird feeding station.

Busy feeders.

Recent appearance of Goldfinch.

Male Siskin putting in a rare appearance.

Chiffchaff, a Spring visitor, are now starting to return and have been seen and heard singing in the trees along the edge of the marsh.

Chiffchaff.

At high tide, the Oystercatcher roosts along the saltmarsh can hold numbers of Knot and Grey Plover in their midst and the now extensive Saltmarsh Pools are a magnet for Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Redshank and Shelduck.  Snipe may be seen working their way through the rushes round the edges also.

Grey Plover, Oystercatcher and Kittiwake at high tide.

Knot and Grey Plover in an aerial display.

Redshank and Oystercatchers on the tideline.

Wigeon coming into land on Saltmarsh Pools.

Flotillas of Pintail and the odd Shoveler float in on the incoming tide between Scargavel Point and the Viaduct. Little Egret and Grey Heron are constant visitors generally to the saltmarsh but particularly after a high tide series when there are extra gleanings to be had.

Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon and Oystercatcher.

Little Egret on Saltmarsh Pools.

The Thursday workparty (now suspended until further notice) had opened up a good portion of gorse along the roadside towards the boundary gate (which is to be replaced by a cattle grid), making for better viewing across the newly excavated areas.

Wigeon and Redshank on newly excavated Saltmarsh Pools.

And, last but not least, many thousands of geese are now frequenting the Solway Firth. Flocks of Barnacle and Pink-footed geese can be seen flying regularly between Rockclife and the outer estuary marshes.

Pink-footed Geese beyond new Saltmarsh Pools.

Skeins of Barnacles moving west along the estuary.

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