The temperatures are gradually rising, the sun is beginning to show itself more often and insects have begun to join the birds in the skies, it’s out with the old and in with the new at the lakes.

Two pairs of oystercatcher have now returned to the reserve and are already busy looking for where they will nest this year. They add a dash of colour with their big carrot like beaks, whilst also being easily heard as they fly from shore to shore in search of food. Another recent change is the early stages of the gull colony taking shape at Moore Lake. Black-headed gulls may not be of interest to most people, however it is always worth watching them squabble over mating opportunities and nest sites throughout late March and April to observe some classic avian behaviour.

Oystercatcher - 2016 - Photo credit Luke Wake

The first chiffchaffs have now begun to sing on the reserve and will shortly be joined by blackcaps, willow warblers and whitethroats to name just a select few of the warbler species which breed here during the summer months. Small insects can now be seen on warm days above the surface of the lakes and these will be what fuels sand martins, house martins and swallows as they hawk over the water’s surface in the coming weeks and months. Furthermore, I would expect to start seeing the first damsel and dragonflies emerging very soon, as brimstone, peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies have already taken to the wing during periods of warm sunshine.

All in all this is an exciting time of year and signals the start of the best part of the year, the breeding season. So why not get down to the lakes and see what you can spot.