Well the weather has finally turned for the better! This, and the resulting receding water level has seen the return of the avocets to the Main Scrape along with lots of feeding black-tailed godwits, lapwings and redshanks. We are still seeing broods of shovelers and adorable tufted ducklings on Reception Pool.
Avocets by Paul Jubb
After last week's appearance of a fourth spoonbill, they mysteriously went missing at the beginning of the week, before being spotted frequently on the saltmarsh parts of the reserve between Burton and Parkgate, and occasional glimpses of one high in the treetop heronry.
The bearded tits are still being seen at Reedbed Screen and from Marsh Covert Hide. On Bridge Pool we have had regular views of greenshank, little ringed plover and a growing number of spotted redshanks already on their southward migration, while the pair of great crested grebes have stuck around and little grebes with young have appeared.
In the wooded areas, visitors are enjoying views of great spotted woodpecker families and the ever-elusive treecreepers.
Treecreeper by Paul Jubb
Some lovely moths, butterflies and damselflies can be found in the calm, dry conditions, including the striking cinnabar moth being seen more now. The orchids are still showing well with marsh and spotted being the most common onsite then bee orchids mainly seen along the path towards Bunker Screen and the broad-leaved helleborine is growing tall but not yet flowering.
A seasonally unusual bird for the reserve popped in for a visit; a female goldeneye was seen feeding on the Main Scrape on Friday morning.
Female goldeneye by Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)
The tedious but vital monitoring and counting of wader chicks continues as we near the end of breeding season, and the wardens are working hard to determine whether the spoonbills do have a nest and assess the progress of the cattle egrets as well as the thriving little egret and grey heron pairs.
Assistant wardens, Liz and Dan, trekked across to Point of Ayr this week to do a breeding bird survey along with routine maintenance of the electric anti-predator fence around the shingle beach. The fence is working well for the little terns, with two active nests and a third pair getting ready to nest.
The extensive effort to keep on top of the growing vegetation along Burton Mere Wetlands paths continued with great support from the volunteer team, along with keeping views from the screens and hides open as best possible without causing any disturbance to any remaining unfledged birds.
If you missed this weekend's Binocular and Telescope Open Days, don't forget you can still try and seek advice on a wide range of RSPB binoculars any day of the week in the visitor centre, and order them for free home delivery. Our next optics weekend coincides with this year's Wirral Wader Festival which is being hosted at Burton Mere Wetlands on the weekend of 31 August and 1 September; get the dates in your diary, with more information about what's planned to be released very soon.
It's also the last week of our wildflower-themed Wild Challenge family trail for June, so don't forget to pick one up at the visitor centre before heading out onto the reserve.
Join our friendly, knowledgeable volunteer, Richard for his Summer Wildlife Wander on Wednesday 17 July around Burton Mere Wetlands, including the unmissable viewpoint at the end of the Hillfort Trail on Burton Point. No booking required for this so just arrive punctually for a 10am start and pay on the day.
Family visitors can start booking on our Big Wild Sleepout, which we're doing bigger and better than ever over two nights, on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August. For more information click here.
Hope to see you all soon as the weather continues to pick up and we continue to boast a wealth of special summer wildlife!
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