Babies are a plenty down here at Burton Mere Woodlands despite the poor weather.
All this rain may have been disastrous for some parts of the country but our ground nesting birds seemed to have fared well so far .... no doubt thanks to our quick thinking reserve staff who set the sluice gates to wide open!
The stars of the show are undoubtedly the avocets who have been parading their chicks right out in front of the reception building but other successful nesters in the new wetland areas include lapwings, redshanks, little grebes, coots, moorhens, mute swan, mallard and greylag geese.
What will be next? Well we have high hopes of a couple of "firsts" as snipe have been seen and heard displaying in the evenings. This is the very first record of snipe doing this in on this part of the reserve :) For those not familiar with the noises they make with their tail feathers known as drumming check out www.rspb.org.uk/snipe
Also on this list, having not successfullynested before would be common tern which are currently nesting on the new scrape in an area now vacated by the avocets.
Not to be outdone the woodland birds look to have fared fairly well too with a family of six nuthatches visiting the feeders regularly alongside great spotted woodpeckers, great tits, blue tits and robins.
Another bird nesting in the woodlands are the little egrets and its fair to say that these birds get most people scratching their heads as the noises emanating are strange to say the least whilst the birds themselves are remarkable well hidden ... causing one visitor to ask if there was a turkey farm next door whilst another guessed that we have a lot of frogs spawning! The young egrets should be leaving their nests in the next few weeks - look for egrets standing around not doing much i.e. they don't know how to catch food!
Recent sighting: Spotted flycatcher, common tern (x4), yellow wagtail, peregrine, osprey (3rd June), ringed plover, great white egret (Parkgate)
A first for the new Burton Mere Wetlands :)
Finally, after a few months of regular nearby sightings a local (?) red kite shows itself and boy did we know about it - several hundred black-tailed godwits, avocets, black-headed gulls and lapwings mobbed it until it disappeared over the horizon - no wonder its avoided us so far!
Sightings in the surrounding areas have been more frequent this year than any other so thanks to those responsible for their re-introduction.
Have you got what it takes to become RSPB’s Dee Estuary’s first ever intern?
The new RSPB visitor centre at Burton Mere Wetlands has welcomed thousands of visitors through its doors since it opened in September and now the visitor demand is so high that they need your help.
A special six month internship has been created during which volunteers will be given all the training, coaching and advice needed to kick start a career in conservation, whilst working at one of the RSPB’s biggest nature reserves.
Although experience of working in a busy tourist attraction is desirable, the ideal candidate will need to demonstrate their enthusiasm for wildlife and be capable of meeting the RSPB’s high standards for visitors.
Former student Katy van Woerdekom stepped up for nature by helping out as an RSPB volunteer for six months starting last September and describes how her experiences helped her get her dream conservation job.
Katy, who started volunteering after leaving university, explains: “I couldn’t get a job right away so I started volunteering. I have enjoyed every minute of it and it has given me the skills, experience and confidence I needed to move forward with my career.”
Paul Brady, RSPB Visitor Development Officer said “Volunteers have played a huge part in the success of RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands and we literally couldn’t operate without them. These internships are a great opportunity for the right person to get their foot on the ladder to a great career in conservation, and follow in the footsteps of Katy and many others.”
Burton Mere Wetlands are inviting applicants to apply for the internships via the website www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering or by phoning 0151 353 8478.
The closing date for this internship vacancy is Friday 6 July. The RSPB are also inviting applicants for other general volunteering vacancies.
RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands is off the A540 (Chester High Road) and just 10 minutes from the M56.
For more information about RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands nature reserve visit: www.rspb.org.uk/burtonmerewetlands. The reception building and nature reserve is open daily from 9.30am until 5pm. For more details see the website or phone 0151 353 8478.
Tomorrow's guided walk to look for bees and their relatives has had to be cancelled unfortunately.
We can only apologise and say that we are working to schedule another date later in the year.