Warblers, waders and wildfowl at this former quarry
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.