There's never a dull moment at this time of year as each day brings new arrivals back to the reserve from their wintering grounds, or passage migrants stopping off to feed or roost before continuing their journey north. This constant arrival and passage of migratory birds has produced numerous highlights over the past few weeks, with the most sought-after bird being a wood sandpiper which was present on the lagoons from 19/4 to 25/4.
Ospreys were sighted overhead on 20/4, 24/4 and 25/4, a male yellow wagtail was seen well from the boardwalk screen on 22/4 and a redstart was present on 20/4.
An arctic tern spent several days around the lagoons from 28/4 to 1/5, a green sandpiper seen briefly on 18/4 was also a good spring record for the reserve, while a single pink-footed goose present with several greylag geese on 20/4 was perhaps a greater surprise still.
Whimbrels have been moving through daily, with a peak of 13 on the estuary on 1/5 when a group of 11 summer plumage black-tailed godwit and three bar-tailed godwit were also present. Sandwich terns have also been seen daily on the estuary with a peak of 23 on 29/4.
A female marsh harrier which has been frequenting the reserve in recent weeks is likely to have made a shorter journey to be here than many other species, but with sightings on six separate days since mid-April, it is certainly of interest that this species continues to be seen here more regularly.
Meanwhile all species of our resident breeding warblers are now back, bringing the reserve to life with their continuous song. Further arrivals of these have included the first reed warbler back on 16/4, whitethroat on 19/4, lesser whitethroat (photo of a previous bird by Bob Garrett) on 20/4 and finally garden warbler on 25/4.
Grasshopper warblers don't breed here but have been recorded as passage migrants on several dates with the first heard singing on 18/4. Wheatear have been regular along the estuary track in small numbers, and white wagtails have been frequent on the saltmarsh and around the lagoons where up to four common sandpiper have also been present. Swifts, as usual were one of the last migrants to be recorded with the first ones seen on 30/4.
Other birds of interest have included a greenshank on 17/4, small numbers of dunlin and ringed plover, and several wildfowl species more often seen over the winter including up to three shoveler and occasional pochard and merganser.
Invertebrates have also been numerous with good numbers of orange tip and speckled wood butterflies, and bees including common carder, red-tailed, white-tailed and buff-tailed bumble bees.
Events over the Easter holidays included Migratory Madness on 17/4, where children could learn about the journeys made by migrating birds, an Easter Egg Hunt on 21/4, and a FunPlay Friday which took place on 26/4 with various children's activities available. Things got off to an early start on 5/5 with the 'Wake up with the Dawn Chorus' guided walk, while a Binocular and Telescope Weekend was held on 4/5 and 5/5. Other guided walks included the weekly Saturday volunteer led Wildlife Walks, and the Wednesday Summer Evening Strolls, also led by volunteers which started on 1/5 and will now run weekly until the end of June. Regular events included the Muddy Puddles groups for toddlers on Wednesdays, Nordic Walking and Tai Chi Workshops on Thursdays, and the monthly Farmers Market which was held on 24/5.
The Big Conwy Bioblitz takes place on the weekend of 25/5 - 26/5 and will involve moth trapping and bird ringing demonstrations, hands-on nature activities, stalls from various local nature conservation charities, and an evening bat walk.
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