Recent sightings

The end of April and beginning of May brought characteristically unsettled spring weather, but a flurry of notable birds. Swifts and a hobby were first seen at the start of last week, with sightings throughout the first week of May.

Marsh Covert hide was the best spot for passage waders, with spotted redshank, greenshank and common sandpiper on show, plus a couple of water voles in the ditch close to the hide seen on more than one occasion. The main scrape remains a good place for little ringed plover, Mediterranean gulls, occasional dunlin and ruff alongside the nesting avocets.

 Cattle egret by Roy Lowry (2017)

Three cattle egrets spent plenty of time in the field adjacent to the reserve near Bunker Screen, with two - hopefully a pair - spending increasing time in the trees of Marsh Covert. The little egrets and grey herons are well on their way with nesting, with continuous bubbling sounds emitted from the dense woodland.

Little grebes with chicks can be seen in the reedbed whilst a pair of great crested grebes remains on Bridge Pool. Highlights up along the Hillfort trail include wheatear, whinchat and the resident green woodpecker, whilst lesser whitethroat have been seen along the Inner Marsh Farm trail.

 Little grebe by Paul Jubb

The spoonbill that arrived last month had become increasingly elusive, spending time on the saltmarsh, but today two were seen together in the Marsh Covert heronry... watch this space is all we can say!

 Spoonbills in pine tree by Anthony Lovatt (from 2016)


Star sighting

A solitary black tern was the star of last week, showing well at Bridge Pool until Thursday. After a week absence, another one returned today.

 Black tern by Pete Sutton

This week two birds are vying for star sighting; a turnstone on Centenary Pool on Monday, and a kittiwake on the main scrape on Tuesday - both rare sightings for this freshwater site.

Wardens' wanderings

The warden team continue their rigorous monitoring of the breeding waders, both across Burton Mere Wetlands and out on the saltmarsh. Regular checking of the electric fence is another vital part of a successful breeding season. Speaking of fences, last week the team put up the protective fence at Point of Ayr, and spent a day supporting the Denbighshire Council team erecting the little tern 'pens' at the vast Gronant colony.

Get involved

After a fantastic Dawn Chorus and a fully booked Burton Marsh Birdsong and Breakfast this weekend, the next opportunity for a guided walk is the Spring Wildlife Wander on Wednesday 29 May for a casual look at anything and everything of interest on the day.

In June, we have an Optics Demo for chance to get expert advice and try a broad range of binoculars and telescopes before ordering from our new shop.

Family visitors can start looking forward to our Big Wild Sleepout early August, with details finalised and booking now available, and we're going big with two nights instead of one this year! As always, a reminder that our ongoing Wild Challenge quiz trail and new, improved Wild Play area are available every day!