There has been lots to see over the last couple of weeks at Marshside. It is so exciting to see many of our favourite summer visitors back after almost 9 months. For many there is none more exciting than the swift, which arrived back in force about a week ago. Now you can see at least a hundred birds catching insects and making their fantastic screeching calls high over the marshes.

Swift by Richard Brooks (

May is always an exciting time for migrant birds and this year has been no different. A real feature of Marshside in spring is the large mixed flocks of dunlin and ringed plover that can be seen from Nel’s Hide. These in turn attract their rarer cousins and we have been lucky enough to host a pectoral sandpiper for a week or so. Up to four curlew sandpipers have added a splash of colour as a couple of them are moulting into their stunning reddish breeding plumage. Finally there have been 3 male and one female garganey – this is a rare breeding bird here so we are keeping our fingers crossed that they decide to stay! Both the curlew sandpipers and garganey are still about so head down to Nel’s Hide if you would like a chance to see them.

Male garganey by Mark Sisson (

You don’t have to be in one of the hides to see great wildlife! Several visitors have been lucky enough to see both stoats and weasels while walking along the reserve trails. One of the best places to see them is near Polly’s Bench, where you can also come across a variety of butterflies. It’s amazing what you can see when you sit and wait for the wildlife to come to you! 

Weasel by David Tipling  (