We've now set up our regular summer guided walk programme and there's no better way to enjoy what The Lakes has to offer.
Our Walk Leaders are all very experienced and very knowledgeable about what you're likely to see on site. They're on site regularly, talking to visitors, looking at our survey work and then they use this information to keep everyone up to date.
The WWW (Wednesday Wildlife Wander) kicks off next Wednesday 29th June at 10.30am in the new car park. Pre-booking is not required but a small donation of £2 each will help with funding our facilities.
The Sunday afternoon Walk It Off stroll starts on 3rd July at 2pm with the same instructions as those of the WWW. Just the thing to walk off your Sunday lunch!
The walks are fortnightly so come along and find out what's about on the reserve.
Arctic Tern (14th, 15th), Avocet (5th , 6th, 29th), Black Tern (2nd, 7th), Black-headed Gull (resident), Black-tailed Godwit (regular sightings), Bullfinch (resident), Buzzard (regular sightings), Canada Goose (resident), Cetti’s Warbler (resident), Common Gull (10th), Common Sandpiper (2nd to 7th), Common Tern (regular sightings), Coot (with young), Cormorant (occasional sightings), Cuckoo (heard daily), Curlew (2nd, 7th, 25th), Curlew Sandpiper (12th), Dunlin (seen throughout month), Gadwall (20th, with young), Garganey (2nd, 12th), Goldcrest (7th), Great Crested Grebe (seen nest building), Green Sandpiper (2nd), Greenshank (3rd), Grey Heron (31 nests and 61 young this year), Grey Partridge (3rd, 7th, 16th), Grey Plover (7th), Greylag Goose (7th), Hobby (regular sightings), House Martin (regular sightings), Kestrel (7th), Kingfisher (several sightings, resident), Knot (9th), Lesser Black-backed Gull (resident), Linnet (7th), Little Egret (3rd), Little Gull (2nd), Little Ringed Plover (regular sightings), Long-tailed Tit (12th, young seen), Mandarin (3rd, 10th), Meadow Pipit (7th), Mistle Thrush (7th), Moorhen (12th, young seen), Mute Swan (nesting), Oystercatcher (regular sightings), Pheasant (7th), Pied Wagtail (resident), Raven (7th), Redshank (7th), Reed Bunting (resident), Ringed Plover (regular sightings), Ruff (3rd), Sand Martin (regular sightings), Sanderling (regular sightings), Shelduck (pair with young seen), Shoveler (occasional sightings), Skylark (7th), Sparrowhawk (occasional sightings), Spoonbill (19th, seen flying over), Spotted Redshank (4th), Swallow (seen throughout month), Swift (seen throughout month), Teal (7th, 24th), Treecreeper (7th, 19th, resident), Turnstone (2nd), Wheatear (several sightings), Whimbrel (several sightings), Wigeon (2nd, 8th, 10th), Wood Sandpiper (2nd to the 10th), Yellow Wagtail (several sightings), Yellowhammer (7th), Yellow-legged Gull (30th).
89 birds were seen or heard on our Bird Count Day (7th May).
Our resident water birds and waders were pairing off:
Canada Goose, Coot, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Lapwing, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Shoveler, Tufted Duck.
The woods were alive with the song of our resident birds together with the spring arrivals:
Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Garden Warbler, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Song Thrush, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren.
The waterside hedges were full of singing Chiffchaff, Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler.
Comma, Common Blue, Dingy Skipper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large White, Orange Tip, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small White, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood.
DAMSELFLIES & DRAGONFLIES:
Azure Damselfly, Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Red-eyed Damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser.
Burnet Companion, Chimney Sweeper, Cinnabar.
WILD FLOWERS and SHRUBS (in flower) :
Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Bluebell (beginning to wilt), Broom, Common Vetch, Creeping Buttercup, Cuckoo-flower, Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill, Field Speedwell, Gorse, Greater Stitchwort, Green Alkanet, Ground-ivy, Hawthorn, Herb Robert, Lesser Celandine, Meadow Vetchling, Meadowsweet, Oil-seed Rape, Ox-eye Daisy, Perennial Cornflower, Ragged Robin, Ramsons (almost over), Red Campion, Red Clover, White Clover, White Dead-nettle, Wood Avens, Yellow Iris.
OTHERS: Grass Snake, Muntjac
This spring was officially the driest for over 100 years.
May’s early dry spell was followed by days with a few showers and lots of sunshine. Later there were windy spells and heavy rains and then the sunshine came back.
and finally ...
A Big Thank You: to everyone who supplied details of their sightings during their walks or surveys.
Our opening week of activities is now over and what a week it's been!
All that's left to do is to tidy up, put everything back in to the right boxes and take stock of what's left.
A big thank you to all the visitors we met and especially for their words of support and encouragement.
I shall be mentioning our own volunteers elsewhere but without their help..................
Our opening events with special guests Bill Oddie and Jelly from CBeebies were a smashing success! The sun was shining on Middleton Lakes and all of its visitors today.
It was so lovely to see families enjoying picnics in the Playmeadow, children hanging from our Tangly Tree, and young and old alike weaving their way through the tall grasses. I even saw a family flying a kite this afternoon!
A whole gang of our fabulous volunteers were set up in the marquee 'making and doing' from the word go. There were a lot of happy faces in that marquee!
Volunteer Phil Green took a small group on a guided walk at 10.30, but returned to 'base' on his own! His guests wanted to spend more time out on the reserve having a look around; the view from Fisher's Mill viewpoint is enough to lure anyone out on a day like today.
I had a ridiculous grin glued to my face from moment Bill Oddie and Jelly arrived. I got to speak with Bill briefly about our education programme at Middleton Lakes - he was supportive of the work we've been doing with secondary school students in particular. A thumbs up from the man himself! I couldn't have been more pleased.*
While I didn't have the chance to speak to Jelly, she also seemed to be having a great time meeting people and making new friends with a few of our smaller visitors!
Well over 50 people signed up for our afternoon Nature Hunt. The idea was to spot as many different types of plants or animals as possible in just 45 minutes. One randomly selected group of visitors were lucky enough to have their Nature Hunt led by Mr Oddie himself. The other three teams were led by me, Rebecca, and Nick. Well, we soon learned who the *really* lucky ones were - Nick's team turned out over 100 different species! The children on Nick's winning team were awarded prizes, but all were impressed by the amount of diversity we found in such a short amount of time. Absolutely amazing.
I had to leave before the origami duck races had begun, but with Lesley and Elli in charge, one can assume there was fun had by all. Any photos to share, ladies?!
Thanks again to all of our brilliant volunteers who helped out today. We know we can rely on you to look after our visitors!
I'm now home on the sofa, recovering from yet another fantastic day at work...I'll be back tomorrow. Hope to see you there!
*Having said that, I did get my picture taken with him as well - he said my hair tickled his face. My hair tickled Bill Oddie's face!
What a day!
Wonderful weather, great visitors and to top it all, star appearances by our special guests, Bill Oddie and the CBeebies favourite, Jelly.
What a great day we all had!
Bill, who is no stranger to RSPB reserves, was making his first visit to Middleton Lakes, was very complimentary, commenting on how far the reserve had come since we started. Bill then took part in a Nature Hunt with over 80 visitors spilt into teams. We never realised how many different species of wildlife could be found in under an hour!
Jelly also played her part in enthralling our younger visitors and was seen at one time heading off towards the pond dipping area!
What a fabulous end to our first week but not an end to our celebrations. All weekend we have events taking part; Family Birdsong walk tomorrow morning at 6.30am, guided walks during the day and hands-on activities all day long.
Tomorrow evening at 9.30pm sees the last of our Night Time Strolls - moths, bats & barn owls!