As Steve mentioned last Friday he is taking a well deserved break this week, so just a very brief blog from me in his absence to cover some important notices, plus of course a few stunning photos from the past week.

Canoeing!
We’re very excited to say that our popular canoeing events are back on for 2021 and booking has opened! Paddle around the reedbed channels with an experienced instructor and expert wildlife guide and see what the reserve looks like from the perspective of our ducks and otters! It’s also a new area to paddle around in 2021, so even if you’ve canoed with us before why not come and explore a different area with different stories.

More details and to book: https://events.rspb.org.uk/hamwall

Dates and Times

• Saturday 4 September 2021: 10–11 am, 11.30 am-12.30 pm, 1.30-2.30 pm, 3-4pm

• Sunday 5 September 2021: 10–11 am, 11.30 am-12.30 pm, 1.30-2.30 pm, 3-4pm

• Saturday 11 September 2021: 10–11 am, 11.30 am-12.30 pm, 1.30-2.30 pm, 3-4pm

• Sunday 12 September 2021: 10–11 am, 11.30 am-12.30 pm, 1.30-2.30 pm, 3-4pm

• Saturday 18 September 2021: 10–11 am, 11.30 am-12.30 pm, 1.30-2.30 pm, 3-4pm

• Sunday 19 September 2021: 10–11 am, 11.30 am-12.30 pm, 1.30-2.30 pm, 3-4pm


Loxtons trail
If you’re a regular visitor you’ll have noticed that certain sections of Loxtons trail have been very wet and even fully flooded at times recently, and other sections needed a trim. Unfortunately we can’t do anything about the water levels at the moment and the regular heavy downpours keep topping up anything we lose through evaporation. We have therefore taped off the section of flooded trail running from the north down to the viewing screen until further notice (see image below).

We have however managed to cut back and re-open access to the screen from the western end of the trail, so you can still reach the Loxtons viewing screen, although will need to return back the way you came rather than completing the loop. Please note that some sections of the open trail are a bit wet and muddy too at the moment but you can get round in sturdy boots. Hopefully some dry weather over the next few days will help the open trail dry out even further.

Recent sightings
A very brief round-up of action from this week! Bittern have been seen in flight from the first viewing platform (VP1) and also over Waltons. Raven and marsh harrier have also been seen and heard. The lesser black-backed gull family are still using the platform in Waltons East for feeding:

Photo credit - John Crispin - Lesser Black-backed gulls

and keep an eye out for grey herons landing in the reed nearby in Waltons East for the ongoing nest there – spotted by Sandie Andrews earlier in the week.

Photo credit - Sandie Andrews - Grey heron

If you’re looking for great crested grebes and their humbug youngsters you will find a family in Waltons East with three youngsters and Mike Pearce also captured another family successfully fishing from Avalon Hide.

Photo credit - Mike Pearce - great crested grebes


John Crispin reports sightings of reed bunting, willow warbler, blackcap, reed warbler and whitethroat using the vegetation along the railpath and the canal to feed, probably a mixture of our own young and birds passing through.  Thank you John for the photos below:


Photo credit - John Crispin - young robin

Photo credit - John Crispin - willow warbler


On a couple of mornings John spotted single swifts and also there have been small parties of sand martins feeding and passing through. A kingfisher flashed passed VP1 along the canal.


If it’s insects you’re after then hopefully the coming dry days will bring some sunshine and some activity! Mike Pearce and Sandie Andrews managed to find some when they visited the reserve.  

Photo credit - Mike Pearce - red admiral and comma on burdock

Photo credit - Mike Pearce - fly - anyone know what it is?

Photo credit - Sandie Andrews - dark bush cricket

Next up we have a grass snake that Mike Pearce spotted amongst the vegetation – the first Mike has managed to photograph - great spot!

And finally, a lovely shot of mute swans enjoying a swim from Sandie Andrews.

Thanks so much to John, Sandie and Mike for the photos and sightings this week and hopefully some dry weather coming up will allow for more exciting sightings for next week!

Have a lovely weekend.

Anonymous