Things have been great for birds this month with a pair of Little Ring Plover showing well on the bogbean islands and Lapwing, Redshank and Oyster-catcher regularly visible from the Gullery hide. The first wader survey has been completed and indicates we have good numbers of Redshank, Lapwing and Snipe, with some likely to be breeding within the west end of the reserve. We have both a male and female Marsh Harrier regularly observed over the reedbed, so fingers crossed they stick around! The Osprey arrived this month and I have seen some great close up views of them fishing over the last few weeks. The range of bird songs, are increasing within the woodland; with Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Yellow Hammer and Sedge Warbler adding to our regular culprits, but still waiting to hear a Whitethroat. I have had the occasional fleeting glimpse of Tawny Owl throughout the month as well. April had a short but very pleasant visit from a pair of Garganey, landing within metres of the Gullery hide. Other wildlife are showing signs too, spring has sprung with Roe bucks roaming with cleaned antlers and their reddish brown summer coats starting to push through their pale grey winter coats. The bucks will be readying themselves for the rut occurring throughout mid-July to mid- August and I have seen some large family groups browsing on the reserve during my evening visits. There is also a chance with May just around the corner that the female (doe) Roe will be producing their kids, normally two but on occasion they can have triplets. The Otter have been popping up from time to time and are, as always, an entertaining watch. Some of the first spring flowers are showing so keep an eye out for wood Anemone and Lesser Celandine while walking between the hides. Image: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
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