A few not-so-subtle changes have occured in the past week or two as the first summer visitors have arrived whilst most of the winter stayers have left.
Several unmistakable sounds were noticed as I opened up the reserve this morning, firstly at least 3 chiffchaffs were singing - and yes that distinctive two-note onomatopoeic song, is their version of a song, not all warblers could top the pops.
The second noticeable new sound was the loud, piping "kloop, kloop, klup" emanating from the main scrape, this to the trained ear is the unmistakable sound of the RSPB's logo bird, the avocet. Currently at least 10 of these elegant pied wading birds are present, hopefully at least a few of these will attempt to breed. They can have no reason for not doing so as we have worked hard in completing a predator-proof fence around the new scrape, we've done our bit now will they keep their end of the bargain?
Thirdly and probably the least subtle change is the noisy presence of dozens of black-headed gulls that have suddenly acquired their brown hoodies and are very interested in one or two of the islands on the new scrape.
Not all the changes are that easy to see however, and a careful eye is needed to spot perhaps our smallest regular wading bird. A close inspection around the edges of the islands and scrape should be rewarded with views of a little ringed plover which turned up on Friday. These tiny waders have only recently colonised our parts and can be hard to distinguish from the slightly larger ringed plover. Good things to look for are the prominent bright-yellow eye-ring, dark bill (orange on ringed plover) and duller legs (bright orange on ringed plover) as well as one or two other more subtle differences in plumage. Hopefully our single bird will be joined by a mate and in the next few weeks.
With the weather brightening up what reason have you got for not coming and seeing these birds and others as they arrive from their long migrations? In the next month we expect sand and house martins, swallows and willow warblers amongst others to arrive and breed. And if you don't want to drive miles to see osprey then their is always a chance to see one or two pass through on their way even further north.
Recent SIghtings (all Burton Mere Wetlands unless otherwise stated) : Marsh Harrier, Blackcap, Black-tailed godwit (x100), Spotted Redshank (x6), Greenshank, Spoonbill (more regularly seen at Parkgate), Hen Harrier (another two at Parkgate), Wheatear (five at Burton Point), PInk-footed Geese (x800).