Avocets continue to be the star attraction on the main scrape, but up to four Mediterranean gulls in amongst the vast numbers of black-headed gulls are great to see sticking around and will hopefully nest again. In addition to our resident little grebes, a pair of great crested grebes have taken up residence on Bridge Pool. A few pintails in exquisite breeding plumage are still clinging on to their wintering grounds, and last week's long-tailed duck stayed all week, still present on Border Pool on Sunday.
Marsh Covert hide has still been the best place to see spotted redshanks, whilst occasional ruff and green sandpiper sightings on the main scrape hint at the wader migration picking up pace. One pair of the bearded tits continues to be seen close to Marsh Covert hide, whilst at least three cattle egrets have also shown well from there and Bridge Screen.
Male bearded tit by Paul Jubb
Increasing numbers of sand martins and few swallows by the weekend, along with blackcap and willow warbler joining chiffchaff and Cetti's warbler really marked the start of spring.
Sunny spells this week brought out several butterflies, namely brimstone, peacock, small tortoiseshell, small white, orange tip, whilst common lizards have already been delighting many visitors.
Without a doubt, the single white stork that turned up on Saturday afternoon stole the show, circling inquisitively over the Marsh Covert heronry but never landing. To our surpsire, it showed up again on Sunday afternoon, a couple of separate casual flights over and between Burton Mere Wetlands and the saltmarsh.
White stork by Carole Killikelly
The warden team spent much of the week on improving our existing den building area near the car park, adding some wild play with stump steps and log balance beams - perfect timing with the schools holidays about to start! Bring the kids down on the school spring break to give it a go, and we'd love to hear your feedback.
A new wildflower bed was planted close to the Burton Mere trail, which should be thriving with colour in a couple of months time, whilst work on the end-of-winter tidying of the garden was completed, and with drying conditions we have been able to open the garden trail already for the season - take a look next time you visit if you didn't manage to get there last summer. Or if you did enjoy it last year, you'll know it's a prime location for a picnic, and a brilliant spot to see a range of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.
There's a two week school holiday in April, and as ever we have our excellent Wild Challenge quiz trail available, plus our revamped Explorer Backpacks and the aforementioned wild play area - loads of fun for families this spring!
We're fast approaching bluebell season too, and our 'Bluebells and Birdsong' guided walk on Tuesday 30 April is rapidly booking up, along with our 'Dawn Chorus' and 'Burton Marsh Birdsong and Breakfast' walks in May. For full details of these, and links to Eventbrite for booking, see our website www.rspb.org.uk/burtonmerewetlands
We're also excited to have opened our badger hide again for the season, so if you're interested in enjoying unrivalled close views of badgers in the wild, get in touch with us to find out more.
Finally, don't forget we have a trial of an RSPB shop outlet at Burton Mere Wetlands, including a great range of binoculars available to try and order for home delivery. Anything on our online shop can be ordered to your door, with profits from sales supporting the Dee Estuary reserve, another great way to help the reserve go from strength to strength! Take a look next time you visit...
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