Stockbridge Nature Reserve Newsletter Spring 2017
Once March arrived, the Reserve started to wake up. The last record of Water Rail was on 16th when the bird was heard calling from the reedbed. It is a shame the species does not stay and attempt to breed but returns in the autumn. On the same day, the first Chiff-Chaff was heard singing. By the end of May, a family was observed moving about the small trees and being fed by the parents.
Back to March and by the end of the month, a female Goosander was seen peering out of the Stock Dove nest box situated next to the river. She was seen quite regularly over the next two months, coming to the lake to freshen up before returning to the box. It’s difficult to determine whether breeding takes place until the box is checked in the winter. Last year, 10 abandoned Goosander eggs were removed.
April brought records of flight displays by Woodpigeon whilst a visiting Kingfisher caught a stickleback and took it away to offer to the female, probably waiting on the river. By mid-month, Blackcap & Willow Warbler are singing whilst House Sparrows come onto the Reserve to collect nesting material. The first sighting of Sand Martin was on 1 April. Two more arrivals were Reed Warbler on 23rd and Common Sandpiper on 30th. The Sandpiper only stayed for a day whereas the Reed Warbler was still singing from the reedbed at the end of May. A pleasant surprise was of a singing Lesser Whitethroat on the same day. The bird was situated in a thick hawthorn bush next to the gardens and although it sang for 40 minutes, it was too well hidden to be seen. The bird moved on but Common Whitethroat was also on the Reserve and later two singing males took up territories and could be clearly observed. A pair of Moorhen had two chicks despite the arrival of two pairs of Coot who appear to enjoy chasing everything including Canada Geese. Swift sightings were on the late side on 7 May but during this month, the Reserve had now two Sedge Warblers singing at either end of the Reserve.
It has been interesting to watch regularly the Roe Deer who come out in the evenings with up to four seen. Butterflies sighted – a yellow butterfly on 23 May probably a Brimstone, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood and Comma.
If you wish to visit the Reserve you will have to be a B.O.G. Member. Please contact me on 01274 770960 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.