This was the first of our two Easter pre-opening strolls around the reserve, organised relatively late on and up to 5pm on Thursday evening we had 5 people booked to come. Fast forward a few hours and by the time our Walk Leader Mick Smith set off in blazing sunshine, our numbers had swelled to over 20!
What a treat was in store for everyone, prior to starting the walk we witnessed what must surely be some of the laziest waxwings in the area. A dozen of these beuatifully marked birds were quite content to sit in the trees in the craft centre car park and smile for the cameras.
I'd already witnessed a red kite flying overhead, my first at Middleton but apparently not as rare here as I thought. Our intrepid group set off to see & hear the heronry, which is in full flow at present with over 60 chicks fighting for nest space and food. The shade of the Woodland Trail brought welcome relief as we enjoyed the sight of the bluebells throughout the wood and the smell of the wild garlic caught on the breeze. Idyllic.
On to the lakes area and the parched earth made for careful walking as the ground was uneven in places - we need rain (sorry). The black headed gulls were unexpectedly quiet so we continued our trip around the lakes in a clockwise direction. At the northen end there was a gaggle of birdwatchers with their telescopes trained towards the far end of the reserve where they were observing the garganey and a couple of black terns. More ticks for their bird-lists.
Turning southwards to return we caught a glimpse of what was identified as a marsh harrier! A marsh harrier here! Very unusual. I'd been watching them the previous weekend when I had visited Titchwell. Not unexpected there but here!
The heat was beginning to take its toll so we made our way back through the woodland and the sanctuary of the cafe. All in all a good stroll in the warm weather and not a bad start to Easter. We're having another stroll around the reserve on Monday morning starting at 11am from the new car park. Miss it and you could miss a treat.
Hope your walk on Monday is as enjoyable - it may even be a little bit cooler. Hope the cuckoos are visble as well as vocal.