Amazing sights seen in April

Paul Hunt

We waited with bated breath for the first signs of spring, and when they arrived, their colour and sound sung loud and clear. The season is finally here.

April seemed to be an extra-long month, with the Easter break only arriving at the back end. The mild weather of the year so far allowed birds and bees, butterflies and dragonflies, bluebells and cowslips, to take over Brockholes with their beautiful colour and song.

Sedge Warbler

Ged Gill

The Boilton Wood classics were out in force this month, from the Bullfinch to the Blue Tit, Robins and Nutchatches and everything in between. Warblers made an appearance, with a pair of Willow Warblers appearing on Hill Meadow, and Chiffchaffs and Warblers singing a merry tune wherever they go. Great Crested Grebes enjoyed their mating dance on the lakes, while Red Shanks danced on the banks. A Wood Warbler was heard and then seen on the site, the first seen at Brockholes in 19 years and the first Sedge Warblers of the year were heard.

A highlight of the month was the appearance of a Drake Garganey, spotted mainly on Meadow Lake. He hung around on site for the majority of the month, with some suggesting this was the longest spring stay for the species at Brockholes. Osprays were seen flying overhead, but none as yet have landed on the site. Ringed Plovers and Little Ring Plovers were once again seen, with a beautiful brood of chicks from the former providing a lovely little family on the lake.

Another was the sighting of a Grasshopper Warbler. It was heard for a while before actually being seen, and in turn filmed by one of our wildlife expert visitors, Bill Aspin. Bill also spotted a Bar Tailed Godwit on site, a Whinchat and shared the beautiful song of the Cettis Warbler – a favourite on the reserve at this time of year, and the first Hobby of the year.

Wheatears and Bramblings paid us a visit, perching in the tree tops, with our usual pheasant friends enjoying time in the bluebell woodlands. Lapwings were swooping and Greylags swimming, and Sandpipers joining the brood. Great Spotted Woodpeckers were back in the bird feeding areas, and Sky Larks were heard over head. Oyster Catchers enjoyed their synchronised routine on the lake banks and Whitethroats were spotted for the first time this year.

Orange Tip Butterfly

Alice Singleton

Orange Tips, Small White, Specked Woods and Peacock butterflies fluttered around the meadows, showing off their beautiful patterns, shimmering in the sunshine. Bumble Bees and Mining Bees made themselves seen around the bee banks, heading into the Visitor Village, all of them of varying size, species and colour. We also had the earliest sighting of a Small Copper on the site in its history, a fantastic sight and a joy to see.

Dragonflies and Damselflies started to appear, especially the Large Red, and spiders and beetles began to roam the ground. Bluebells have created a carpet of purple, while Cowslips and Lesser Calandines create a contrast of yellow. Wood anemones and of course the distinctive Forget-Me-Nots, brightening up the ground.

There is so much to be seen here, each day brings new beginnings for wildlife. Let us know what you have found while enjoying your Nature Moments at Brockholes.