Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.
This is the best time of year to see summer migrants like willow and sedge warblers, whitethroats and cuckoos. Listen in the early mornings and evenings for the distinctive 'reeling' song of the grasshopper warbler as it gives its distinctive song from dense undergrowth. Early spring flowers like marsh marigolds and yellow iris are common place and early butterflies like red admirals, commas and orange-tips are on the wing. Overhead, ravens, buzzards and peregrines are regularly seen.
The bog flowers are at their height and bog bean, heath-spotted orchid, march cinquefoil and cross-leaved heather make a spectacular display. The pale leaves of the bog myrtle bushes are distinctive, as is its sweetly pungent smell. The bog's bird life is also busy with many family parties of warblers, finches and reed buntings. Butterflies are common, with common blue, small copper and speckled wood being particularly easy to see. Dragonflies are regularly seen, especially common hawkers and golden-ringed dragonflies.
The trees around the edge of the reserve have redwings and fieldfares from October onwards. Reed buntings are present in the reed-filled ditches and on the edges of the path, flocks of linnets and goldfinches feed on thistle seeds. Late-flying butterflies like red admirals and peacocks are regularly seen on warm sunny days.
The alders and birches around the edge of the bog are home to flocks of siskins and lesser redpolls, their chattering calls draw attention to them as they feed in the tree tops. The bog itself appears quite but woodcocks shelter in the wooded edges of the bog and water rails can be heard calling from areas of reed. Winter is a good time to see ravens and peregrines as they circle over the reserve - look out for the spectacular tumbling aerial displays and croaking calls of the ravens.
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