The rar­i­ties are great, but there’s so much more

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - MATT MER­RITT

THE RE­CENT AR­RIVAL of a very con­fid­ing and longstay­ing first-win­ter Bluethroat has put this site well and truly on the map, if the Red-footed Fal­con of 2015 hadn’t al­ready done so, but this easy-to-walk re­serve al­ways has plenty of in­ter­est for the bird­watcher. Its 274 acres of shal­low meres, reedbeds, sea­son­ally flooded pas­tures and hay mead­ows were cre­ated from arable land, and along with the neigh­bour­ing River Glen and Counter Drain, at­tract a wide range of species. These in­clude good wild­fowl flocks in win­ter, es­pe­cially Wi­geon and Teal, plus pos­si­ble Whooper Swans, as well as waders such as Lap­wing, Golden Plover, Red­shank, Black­tailed God­wit, Snipe, and rarer species like Ruff, Green­shank and Green Sand­piper, and Field­fare and Red­wing flocks. Lit­tle Egrets are usu­ally present here. In spring and sum­mer, look for Lap­wings, Sky Larks, Reed and Sedge War­blers, Reed Bunting in spring, plus oc­ca­sional King­fisher and reg­u­lar Marsh Har­rier. Other rap­tors to look for in­clude Buz­zard, Kestrel and Red Kite, and Barn Owls use nest­boxes here, while Tawny, Lit­tle and Short-eared Owls can also be seen, the lat­ter in win­ter. In sum­mer, Swifts and hirundines are nu­mer­ous.

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