We're less than two weeks away from midsummer and the reserve is full of life. Plants blooming, bees, flies and wasps are pollinating, dragonflies and butterflies are emerging, and birds are busy feeding youngsters.
On the lagoons, coots, moorhens, mallards and gadwalls have chicks, and there is still at least one clutch of oystercatcher eggs that are yet to hatch. A common sandpiper is hanging around the deep lagoon, so we hope there may be a nest tucked away somewhere. In the scrub, young birds are leaving their nests and finding their way in the world: we've seen young robins, blackbirds, willow warblers and lesser whitethroats this week.
Meanwhile, for some birds, the breeding season is already over. We've seen small numbers of shoveler, wigeon, goosander, teal and pochard in recent days, and numbers of Canada geese are building as they move in from Snowdonia and Anglesey to moult: 130 so far, which will mean a lot of feathers scattered over the grass and water in the coming weeks. We've also seen a few curlews, a single redshank and most surprisingly a snipe, all of which indicate that their nesting attempts has failed and they have started their move south. Meanwhile, summer-plumage dunlins and ringed plovers dropped briefly onto the estuary and may still be on their way north!
Early June is a quiet time for unusual visitors, as birds should mostly be on their breeding territories. A hobby was seen here on Friday (8th); last year we think a pair bred somewhere in the locality, so fingers crossed they're back again. A little ringed plover dropped in this morning (Sunday 10th), a few Sandwich terns were in the estuary on Wednesday (6th), a wheatear was unseasonal on Monday (4th), and a water rail has been seen a couple of times, which is good news as we didn't record any on our spring survey.
It has been the best spring I can recall here for common blue butterflies, there have been hundreds of them, a delight to see. We've also been seeing commas, speckled wood, red admiral, orange tip, peacock and painted lady butterflies, plus a few silver-Y moths, which seem to have arrived en masse from the continent during the warm spell. A few emperor, broad-bodied and four-spotted chaser dragonflies have been around the ponds - and we love Ashley Perkins' photo for a four-spotted that he took here last week. Look out too for azure, common blue and blue-tailed damselflies, and a banded demoiselle was reported on Sunday (3rd), a rare visitor here as it's usually associated with flowing freshwater.
June is also orchid season. The Ganol Trail is the best place to look, with several thousand southern marsh orchids and a few dozen common spotted orchids and early marsh orchids. There are small numbers of bee orchids and pyramidal orchids scattered around the reserve, though so far not as many as usual.
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