Fishlake Meadows is absolutely spectacular at the moment, there is so much to see and hear that I barely know what to focus on when I’m there!
We have been lucky to have some very special visitors to the reserve in recent weeks. A glossy ibis has been around for a few weeks now, often in the paddocks to the east of the canal and sometimes showing well at the screens. I believe this is the first time a glossy ibis has been reported at the reserve. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start to visit Fishlake Meadows more regularly, the habitat is ideal for them with lots of shallow pools and muddy areas for feeding. This bird is quite likely to be from the breeding colony in Southern Spain as they quite regularly winter in Britain.
There has also been a male garganey seen regularly on the pool in front of the screens, the males in particular are very attractive with a distinctive white eye stripe across their brown head. They are slightly larger than teal and are summer visitors to the UK, wintering in Africa. They are typically very secretive so its wonderful so many people have had good views.
On Wednesday I had a walk around the reserve with some of the volunteer wardens, we were treated to the song of lots of warblers, all trying to sing the loudest and protect their spot. Lots of sedge warbler, reed warbler, cetti’s warbler, garden warbler and blackcap all singing away. They are typically quite difficult to get a view of so just standing quietly and listening to all the singing is lovely.
The flowers at Fishlake Meadows are really coming through now, in particular, cuckoo flowers, they seem to be everywhere. They are the food plant of the orange tip butterfly caterpillar and there are lots of the butterflies around at the moment. Cuckoo flowers favour damp meadows and ditches, so Fishlake Meadows is ideal for them.
I also spotted a flower I’m not familiar with, which I had some help identifying as Barbarea vulgaris or common winter-cress. There is a lot of it coming in to flower either side of the permissive path. There were also lots of buttercup species in flower, many of them being visited by lots of insects.
Another sign that spring is hurtling towards summer is that there are mallard ducklings along the canal again. I counted 8 ducklings with the female all feeding and chirping away. Many cuckoos have been seen and heard, at the moment the highest record is 5, which were all seen at the same time. Other birds to keep an eye out for are hobby’s and swifts which have both been recorded again recently.