• Recent sightings - it's all golden out there!

    Gold is a running theme through todays blog post. With a lack of strong winds and rain the trees have retained their leaves longer than usual and the reserve is still looking golden! This strange weather has meant some flowers are kicking back at the season by carrying on flowering. No one has told the birds foot trefoil or borage to stop for the year! These later flowers will be a life line for insects that are still…

    • 2 Nov 2016
  • Recent sightings - autumnal easterlies bring in the birds!

    Now we are in the midst of October it is certainly feeling Autumnal now after a long late Summer. The woodlands are looking red, green, purple and gold as the leaves change with the fungi starting to appear now the rain has dampened the ground.


    Autumn colours by Kate Thorpe

    One thing us birders love is an easterly wind! A recent run of easterlies has landed some mega rare birds into the country. Although nothing that…

    • 18 Oct 2016
  • Rumblings in the reedbed

    If you are visiting the reserve in the next couple of months you may hear some rumbling, slushing and crashing noises coming from the Dosthill part of the reserve. Don't worry, the koniks and cows haven't escaped! -  it's only the contractors in their machines, here to do a project for us. Below, Nick (Site Manager) explains what's going on!

    As is quite normal at Middleton Lakes every now and again Diggers…

    • 16 Sep 2016
  • Reedbed exploration!

    A first blog from Miriam Lawley, who is the current assistant warden intern, tells us about the survey work she has been conducting.....

    As an intern, every day at Middleton Lakes presents something new, from brushcutting on the wetlands, working in the welcome trailer, or more recently, carrying out scientific enquiry. It seemed it was time to put my university degree to use…

    The research that was conducted…

    • 7 Sep 2016
  • What a fantastic August!

    The last weeks of August have been some of my favourite wildlife watching moments on the reserve so far this year! It has meant that we have taken longer to do jobs out on site, as things like spotted redshanks, ospreys and spotted flycatchers are very distracting!

    Seven species of raptor were on site last week. Adding to the resident kestrels, sparrowhawks and buzzards were a juvenile peregrine, which thought it was…

    • 1 Sep 2016
  • Recent sightings - hooching with life

    I love this time of year! There is the possibility of seeing something different everyday as birds move through on their autumn migration. Like on Thursday morning when 2 tree pipits flew low over my head! An unexpected and welcome sight and good to re familiarise with their hoarse fizzy call as they flew over.

    The waders have been ace in recent weeks. The long staying wood sandpipers (up to 3) have mainly been on west…

    • 23 Aug 2016
  • Recent sightings - it's all about the woods and the willows this week!

    It has been another great week out on the reserve and a random blog title maybe - but my wildlife highlights this week have all had either wood or willow in their name!

    A mix of sunshine and showers has brought in the new birds. The reserve is often worth checking out either just before or just after rain showers – as it can force migrating birds to land and avoid flying in bad conditions. The jubilee wetlands has been…

    • 5 Aug 2016
  • Recent sightings and 4-legged lawn mowers.

    Middleton just feels alive with wildlife at the moment! Whether it be dragonflies, butterflies or the buzzing of the crickets you don’t have to venture that far to find something cool.

    The little egret chicks have successfully fledged! All 3 of them spent a day testing their wings and following the adults around on their maiden voyage before venturing onto the wider wetlands. Last week, when I was out on jubilee…

    • 30 Jul 2016
  • It's a small world

    Being out and about on the reserve doesn’t mean always having to look for birds. Look down and around and there’s usually something moving about whether it’s crickets, ladybirds, bees, butterflies or bettles.

    Black and yellow longhorn beetle by Kate Thorpe

    Lesser stag beetle by Kate Thorpe

    Soldier beetles by Pam Dalley

    The wind and the rain isn’t making it easy to see butterflies which are…

    • 15 Jul 2016
  • A First For Middleton!

    After a few years of saying, ‘this will be the year’, we can confirm that little egrets are breeding at Middleton! A common sight on the reserve all year round, and with a roost of 40 plus in the Winter, 2016 looked promising. With breeding plumaged birds hanging around in the spring and pairs seen in the heronry we had our fingers crossed. With the recent heavy rains, there was a risk the shear weight of water could…

    • 29 Jun 2016
  • Wet but wonderful

    I was out and about early on the reserve on Saturday morning getting a walk in before the rain came down. There might have been no exciting, rare birds but there was still plenty to see.

    There were baby birds all over the place: great tits, long tailed tits, coot, moorhen, black headed gulls and Canada geese, to name but a few.

    There were also lots of the blue damselflies and banded demoiselles along with lots of chimney…

    • 16 Jun 2016
  • Spring has sprung

    It has definitely been worth visiting the woodlands over the past few weeks.  We'd cleared a lot of brambles and saplings along the footpaths earlier in the year and it has really opened up the views and allowed the wildflowers to really show off.  The bluebells have been better than ever.

     

    Bluebell carpet by Kate Thorpe

    The ramsons are now doing their best to outdo the bluebells.

    Ramson carpet by Pam Dalley

    • 11 May 2016
  • Fancy developing a career in conservation?

    Well if so, we have the opportunity for you!

    Whether you are fresh out of university, looking for a career change or would love to work with the rspb, internships are a great way to kick start your journey into conservation.

    We are looking for a volunteer assistant warden Intern who is hard working, committed and enthusiastic; who will join our small team at Middleton Lakes. They will get involved with the day to day…

    • 19 Apr 2016
  • Recent Sightings - a chill in the air!

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s Winter with snow being on the ground on Saturday and these northerly airflow; it feels very un Spring like! The migrants will be wondering why they ever left the warm climes of Africa and the Med! However last week felt like proper Spring with new birds turning up everyday and butterflies on the wing.

    Sedge and reed warblers are increasing in number around the fringes…

    • 18 Apr 2016
  • Magic mustelids

    For those of you who, like me, didn’t know what a mustelid is: a mustelid is a long, thin- bodied, carnivorous mammal.

    We have now recorded 6 species on the reserve: badger, mink, weasel, stoat, polecat (ferret/polecat) and the elusive otter.

    A week ago the trail camera caught this shot which is either a true polecat or a ferret/polecat cross.

    If you're wondering how we identified this as a polecat, when…

    • 9 Mar 2016
  • Crisp, cold mornings

    I don’t know about you but I love these really cold, crisp, sunny days, it certainly shows the reserve off well.

    Woodland Trail by Pam Dalley

    If you’ve visited recently, you’ll have noticed that we’ve been doing lots of clearing all round the reserve. Thanks to our amazing band of volunteers, we’ve been able to fit in more conservation work parties, which has helped us to keep ahead of ourselves with all the…

    • 24 Feb 2016
  • Road access to the reserve

    While repairs are underway to our access route through the former gravel quarry it has been necessary to close the track to RSPB visitors.  We are working with the site owners to make the repairs as soon as possible so that we can reopen as normal shortly.

     

    In the mean time visitors can park at Broomey Croft and walk to the reserve along the canal towpath or at Cliff Lakes and access the reserve via the riverside path…

    • 10 Feb 2016
  • Dull, damp days

    First of all a Happy New Year to you all. I hope Christmas brought you all you wished for and that a good time was had by all.

    Good news: completion of the new drive won't be long. They’re doing an amazing job despite the really wet weather we’re having.

    Photo by Pam Dalley

    It might be nice to have warm winter weather but I really don’t like all the rain it brings with it, I would much prefer some…

    • 7 Jan 2016
  • A New Years resolution

    Every year we say wouldn’t it be lovely to have a proper access road to the reserve, and past years we have made do with a potholed surface that’s rather a challenge to drive down at times! 2016 will be the year that we do something about this and ta-da! We have contractors in this week to do just that! The contractors will lay a tarmac surface from the car park entrance as far as last big oak tree on the recently cleared…

    • 5 Jan 2016
  • Autumn/winter glory

    It was fantastic to go out on the reserve earlier today; the sun was shining and it felt lovely and clean and fresh.  The wind was very cold but, if you wrap up, it’s definitely worth a walk round.

    The small birds were really busy feeding everywhere; on the feeders, in the woodland and particularly at the robin bridge.

    The robin feeding area has turned into Piccadilly Circus for birds.  You can get up really close…

    • 9 Dec 2015
  • Autumn Glory

    The autumn colours are really looking amazing. The reds, yellows and golds look particularly spectacular with the sun on them. One of the first to turn were the guelder roses.

    (Guelder Rose by Pam Dalley)

    It’s not just the leaves providing the colour though, the berries are looking pretty good. My office window looks out on a particularly large holly tree absolutely covered in berries.

    (Holly tree by Pam…

    • 20 Oct 2015
  • Fungi foraging

    Mowing and clearing is now well underway all around the reserve. Work is ongoing both in Jubilee and around the North Pools and, hopefully, is not causing too much disturbance to the birds or to our human visitors.

    Paul, who I work along side, has been busy harvesting the flower seeds over the last few weeks and he has spent quite a lot of time removing them from the pods/cases ready for planting. We’re going to be …

    • 21 Sep 2015
  • Welly weather!!??

    It’s nice to see our nice new footpaths coming into their own with this wet weather; you actually don’t need wellies to get round to the Lookout.

    Wild Wednesdays has been taking place over the school holidays. This is run by Tame Valley Wetlands on the reserve and has proved to be quite a success, considering the weather hasn’t been kind. I believe they have only had one Wednesday without any rain at all…

    • 24 Aug 2015
  • Out and about

    I don’t want to bore you by repeating what I’ve said previously but the flowers around the reserve are amazing and worth seeing. They're just getting past their best but the insect life is still certainly enjoying the variety of flowers around.

    The butterflies seem to appear in vast numbers every time the sun comes out. I seem to suddenly have an abundance of gatekeepers in the garden at home and they…

    • 11 Aug 2015
  • Recent Highlights - it's all 'ruddy' going on!

    Our first avocet family have flown off to pastures new, and the 2nd family with chicks which will soon be flying around. This little piece of ornithological history is really important as 8 years ago when the RSPB took over management of the site avocets were just a pipe dream and now they have been successful on their first ever attempt to fledge at Middleton! We are eager to see if they return next year, to perhaps…

    • 18 Jul 2015