Our May outing, although a little later in the month than usual, saw a small group of members walking around Wintersett reservoir today. Wintersett is best known for its bird life and is a very well watched patch and it didn’t disappoint. Although things were quietish, we had great views of Cetti’s warbler, blackcap and, in particular, sedge warbler. Plenty of reed buntings along the edges of the oilseed rape fields and small numbers of common terns over the lake were a bonus. There was a big hatching of damselfly, notably common blue and large red, though there were many teneral insects which made identification difficult. High overhead were good numbers of swifts, screaming loudly as they hawked insects, but undoubtedly, the star of the show was a pair of nuthatches that have nested in an old woodpecker nest hole in a crack willow not far from the main car park. They gave brilliant views as they came in to feed the well grown nestlings every few minutes, Tony Renshaw has sent some wonderful images from the walk.
I had a trip to Brockadale today to see where the cowslips were at but they are still not through yet despite the warmer weather. Another week or so should really see them showing strong. On the way back I drove beneath Went Hills at Wentbridge and noticed a really bright female wheatear there.
After lunch I hit Newmillerdam to see if there were any nesting great crested grebes but didn’t find any. It was rather quite in general to be fair, though I did hear chiffchaff singing and saw at least one large terrapin basking in the spring sunshine. The mute swans were busy nest building only a few metres from the bank and way too close for the 500mm I had with me!