What a difference a year makes at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve

Long Tailed Tit captured at Paxton Pits by Jackie Hill.

Long Tailed Tit captured at Paxton Pits by Jackie Hill. - Credit: JACKIE HILL

What a difference this year from last year. We have been able to meet up for the second Breeding Bird survey of the year.  

The morning did not disappoint. The air was full of bird song. You could hear the cuckoo from the Visitor Centre garden, and you could watch Long Tailed Tits and Greenfinch in and out from their nests in the hedge there. 

This photo is one Jackie Hill took that morning of a Long-Tailed Tit taking food into the nest. Two nightingales were also heard near the moorings. It perhaps shows how cool the weather has been as a fieldfare was also seen. These have usually moved on by now.

Then, three of us went into the area to the right of the Heronry Trail and Whitethroat and other birds were in pairs displaying, particularly where the scrub had been lowered in the last couple of years and the nettles are certainly growing!

Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve.

Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve. - Credit: FRIENDS OF PAXTON PITS

With the Tern Rafts out, it is a bit debatable whether the Black Headed Gulls will be using them, or the terns or will they share? It is a free spectacle watching the terns pecking at the gulls as they enter their nesting space and a good topic of conversation. Have a walk up there and have a look and you can also see how the construction of the Kingfisher hide is going.

With the weather still staying chilly, the butterflies are late up in the morning. However, a good selection can be seen in warmer spots: Orange-tips, Peacocks, Tortoiseshells, Brimstone, Comma and Speckled Wood and even an early Painted Lady.

The damselflies are at long last emerging: common, variable and blue-tailed.  Last year, with the warm weather, there were clouds of them. Will it be the same this year? I think the weather must warm up more first.

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There appear to be a lot of bee flies around this year and one of the most interesting aspects of another wildlife survey was to see them mating.

The camera traps on the reserve are picking up some great videos.  The trap on the river is picking up otter regularly, both day and night, as well as stoat and other small mammals.

There have been several sightings of grass snakes, trying to warm up in the cool sunshine.

If you see any wildlife you would like to report, please let us know at friendsofpaxtonpits@hotmail.com .