War­blers, waders and wild­fowl at this for­mer quarry

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL BROOK

WITH LA­GOONS, REEDBEDS, mead­ows and wood­land, Staveley Na­ture Re­serve is a wildlife-rich wet­land with a good mix of habi­tats and birds – 205 species have been recorded since 1974. There’s some­thing to see all year round, but spring through to au­tumn is the liveli­est time, with Com­mon Tern, Sand Martin and sev­eral species of war­bler breed­ing here – Reed, Sedge and Wil­low are most com­mon, but Grasshopper War­bler breeds in some years. When I vis­ited in May, the place felt alive with bird­song, with Swifts screech­ing over­head and Reed Bunt­ings and Sedge War­blers com­pet­ing for air time. There’s al­ways a chance some­thing rare will call in dur­ing spring or sum­mer mi­gra­tion, par­tic­u­larly pas­sage waders. Shov­eller, Gad­wall, Wi­geon and Great Crested Grebe are among the wild­fowl, while Marsh and Wil­low Tit can both be found among the smaller res­i­dent species. Win­ter can bring Short-eared Owl and Jack Snipe. The 79-hectare re­serve, which dou­bled in size in 2010, has two pub­lic hides over­look­ing the la­goons, and a num­ber of paths to ex­plore. For a longer walk, fol­low the west­ern perime­ter along the River Tutt.


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