We saw our first butterfly of the year this morning, an immaculate brimstone, flying in the sun alongside the Oxholme Drain, on the east side of Drayton Lagoon. Not long afterwards, there was a very ragged comma butterfly flying over Holywell Ferry Road. Great tits, chaffinches and goldfinches seemed to be singing everywhere; four different Cett's warbler, several dunnocks, wrens and robins were singing too. A male stonechat was near the cycle racks in the Holywell Lake car park.
Volunteers and wardens cleared rank vegetation from islands at the north end of Moore Lake yesterday, to encourage ground-nesting birds (such as lapwings, oystercatchers, ducks, geese and swans) to nest on them. One pair of swans looked to be making themselves at home this morning, while a number of ducks seemed to appreciate being able to get out of the water and bask in the sun.
We met one of the volunteers, who had seen a pair of smews in the south-west corner of Elney Lake - they're staying late this year.
Contractors began work for us on Friday, preparing an area for educational activities (such as lagoon dipping), on the central spit on the south side of Ferry Lagoon. Re-arranging some top soil there will cause some disruption for weekday visitors using the permissive bridleway between the southern shore and the guided busway, so we apologise for any inconvenience.
We are looking forward to using some great new features in the summer, including a dipping platform. Perhaps you'll come and try them out too?
This morning's guided walk was focussed on duck courtship. At times, we felt the ducks were more focussed on feeding, but the goldeneyes did show off for us (and their ladies) eventually. Perhaps they just needed the morning to warm up a bit first. Towards the end of the walk, we had great views of a flock of about 20 siskins, feeding in alder trees beside our path. The males were a brilliant yellow in the spring sunshine.
We also noted the first bumblebee of the season, which someone was able to identify as a tree bumblebee.
A grand total of 75 bird species was recorded today, ranging in size from from goldcrest to mute swan. Only one smew was found - a redhead on Drayton Lagoon, where 7 goosanders were present for a while. Has the pair of smews that have spent recent days on Elney Lake migrated away?Several different buzzards were seen drifting over, all individually, and heading in various directions.Cettis warblers were quite vocal, great crested grebes were displaying occasionally, and small flocks of lapwaings and golden plovers were flying over.