12 Moments of Brockholes from 2018
21 Dec 2018
It’s been another whirlwind year at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust flagship nature reserve, with heatwaves, snow and plenty of rain, new species found, new equipment gained. Visitor numbers increased and pumpkin carvers grew! It’s been a fantastic year and if we wrote everything down it would be longer than Santa’s ‘nice list’. So here’s our 12 Days of Brockholes (our most memorable moments in no particular order):
The opening of Osprey Way
A new path was installed along the side of Meadow Lake which gives a viewing point to the Osprey platform and opens up the path network around the reserve. While we haven’t had any Osprey’s visiting their custom built platform yet, we are confident we will have some visitors next year!
Introducing the Savi’s Warbler
In April, one of our key ornothologists spotted a species never before recorded at Brockholes. Bill Aspin reportedly saw, and heard a Savi’s Warbler singing by Meadow Lake. This incredibly rare bird has never been spotted at Brockholes before, and had been recorded only in Surrey and Hampshire on the same day. The UK has between one and three breeding pairs of Savi’s Warbles, a wonderful sight to have at our reserve.
During the scorching summer weather, the floating Visitor Village nearly hit the deck as the water levels decreased dramatically. The architecture of the Visitor Village is such that when the water level moves, the village goes with it – an incredible design making our reserve one of a kind. Thankfully, we are now fully up and floating again, but it wasn’t all bad news being beached on the bottom…
The return of the Little Ring Plovers
In August, due to the falling water level, Little Ring Plovers returned due to an increase in bare gravel. When the water level at Brockholes has been at its highest, the islands have been too water covered for the little ringed plovers to breed. However, when the levels fell to its lowest since Brockholes opened in 2011, this beautiful little plover returned with a late brood of two chicks. Click to read more.
Children’s rave at the Silent Disco
Back in June, children were entertained with a Silent Disco on the floating Visitor Village. Organised in conjunction with Our Kids Social, the Silent Island Disco was a huge hit, selling out and providing children aged four and over a chance to have a boogie on the Brock(holes).
Murmurations are not a new spectacle at Brockholes, but the sheer numbers we have seen this year have (what we believe to have) been a record for us. Ornothologists estimate between 21,000 and 30,000 birds were seen soaring around the Look Out and high above the Visitor Village, displaying stunning shapes and movements for the awe inspired spectators. We have had some incredible videos and photos sent to us from onlookers, and seen first hand just how impressive these creatures can be. Click to read more.
Proposal in the woods
While doing his daily rounds of the reserve one day in November, volunteer, Terry Jolly, came across a lovely couple on a bench who told him they had just got engaged, and Terry was the first to find out. The happy couple sent us a photo to celebrate their engagement and we couldn’t think of a more perfect location for such a special moment.
New plant life
In September, we had a wonderful discovery of the Blue Fleabane for the very first time on the reserve. Blue Fleabane is a member of the daisy family and is known for being a herb. It has lilac outer rays when fully flowered with purple colouring at the tips. It has hairy sepals and can grow up to 60cm.
During the October Half Term, Pumpkin Carving was a huge success with more than double pumpkins carved this year than in 2017. The event was so popular, the Marketing Team had to head over to Brockholes with an extra supply of pumpkins to ensure everyone had the chance to create their perfect design. A huge thank you to Ribble Farm Fare for providing the pumpkins throughout the two weeks, and to the panel of judges for choosing our fabulous winners. Click to read more.
The summer heatwave brought visitors in their droves to Brockholes, and the number of dragonfly and damselfly pictures we received was incredible! One particular special find was the Lesser Emperor Dragonfly, the first to be seen at Brockholes since 2006 and the first seen in Lancashire since 2010. Such a stunning creature, we were lucky to see.
Welcoming Simon King…again
Conservationist, television presenter and cameraman, Simon King, came to Brockholes in September, celebrating 20 years of the Lancashire Environment Fund (LEF). It was great to welcome Simon back seven years after he officially opened the reserve in 2011, so he could see how much Brockholes has developed.
Super incredible staff and volunteers
Every day we are thankful for our amazing staff and volunteers who make the every day running of Brockholes as smooth as it is. Being a nature reserve, we are full of ups and downs, new life, and unfortunate losses, straightforward days, and difficult days, but our team make everything run and we couldn’t be more thankful. Our visitors and supporters make every day worthwhile and we are grateful of their continued support.
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