Well the weather has finally decided to turn this week and it has felt very pleasant indeed out on the reserve in the last few days in temperatures of a whopping 12C! And this is certainly good news for our wildlife as the ice has finally disappeared food becomes more available again and there has been loads of activity around recently.
A sighting of a bittern is always exciting, so two sightings in one day must be double the excitement....so imagine how chuffed volunteer Graham Usher was on Tuesday when he managed three sightings in one day! He first spotted a bird flying from the silt lagoons over to Phase 1, then only half an hour later a second sighting over Phase 2 and then another one over the silt lagoons a mere 15 minutes after! We think this is two different birds - great news that both our bitterns have survived the cold weather.
Onto our second star species of the week - volunteers Dave Watt, Linda Lowndes and myself were out on Phase 1 today and were treated to great views of a female marsh harrier quartering the reedbed. The bird spent some time hunting over the reserve then headed south west over the river, only to return about half an hour later over Phase 2. She has been seen regularly for the past week now and we hope she is here to stay for the spring and summer - it's great to see regular marsh harrier on site again!
The sound of a singing cetti's warbler in Phase 1 was welcomed this morning, as was a lovely flock of 12-15 yellowhammer around the public footpath at the south end of the reserve, the bright yellow males looking stunning against the leafless hawthorn trees and the regular group of 10 whooper swans delighted us as always on Tuesday.
And just to prove that there is some insect life still out there - on Wednesday night the light outside our office door managed to attracted a couple of moths! First was a mottled umber, a pretty little species with it's speckled brown patterning, the females of which are completely wingless! The second is one of my favourites, a december moth. They are a really furry species, looking like little bears with their black/brown wings and body, marked with beige coloured patterning. The males have long, feathered antennae adding to their appeal! It's amazing what is flying on a warm winters night!