April Update

In early March it looked as though spring was going to be arriving several weeks early this year, but by the end of April most things had slowed right down and in fact many flowers and trees were several weeks later  than usual. This was the same with bird migration, with only modest numbers of summer migrants arriving into the UK through April.

There was one star bird for the Ponds though, with the very exciting discovery of a Hoopoe on 28th. It stayed in the area for a couple of days, but has since moved on which is to be expected for this rare visitor.HoopoeMusbury3





Hoopoes are a common sight in much of the world, but the UK is just a little too far north for them to thrive.The birds we do occasionally get in the UK often originate from Spain or France, and arrive here having overshot their planned destination during their northward spring migration from Africa.

Lastly, a special mention to Kerrie Ann Gardner who found herself in exactly the right place at the right time to take this stunning photo of the resident male Mute Swan ‘DJO’



March Update

As predicted, the first true summer migrants have arrived – a really exciting time for any nature lover.

Sand Martins were later than usual this year, with small numbers passing through from 19th. It wasn’t until 26th that more were seen, when at least twenty spent the day feeding over the Ponds in wet and windy conditions, along with the first two Swallows of the year.

Chiffchaffs have also arrived, with up to six singing males dotted around the reserve. On 30th amongst these was the first Willow Warbler of the year, quietly sub singing in between frantically catching flies after its long flight here (about 5000 miles!).

Only one bird was ringed during March at the Ponds, but this was a Cetti’s Warbler (see photo).


Occasionally during the winter a Cetti’s Warbler could be heard calling around the top two ponds, but as March warmed up it broke into song confirming it was a male bird. Although they have not been recorded breeding at the Ponds before, this could well happen if a female was to locate him as the habitat is more than suitable. Over the past two years this species has recolonised the Axe Estuary after a healthy

population was lost during cold weather in 2010.

February Update

Despite the arrival (finally) of some proper winter weather, there’s several signs at the Ponds of an imminent season change.
At a quick glance it’s easy to see most the resident waterfowl have paired up, with the males becoming more territorial and aggressive towards each other. Coots, Moorhens and Little Grebes have spread out
across all ponds and all of last years young birds have been driven away.

The female Mute Swan is spending time repairing her nest ready for the new breeding season, and can often be seen sat on it now.

The wintering Stonechat remained until mid month, with far fewer Siskin around the site now. It won’t be long now before the summer migrants arrive, with Sand Martins and Swallows sure to feature in the next monthly round up – this is always a very exciting time of year for all nature lovers.LBPFeb1

It’s not just birds that are showing signs of springs.  Flowers and blossom has been early this year, and on the last day of the month a Seven-spot ladybird was something of a surprise


– not v7spotladybirdery often seen in February.

January Birding Update!

Finally we’ve had some seasonal weather mid-month, albeit for just two or three days! This encouraged some more unusual species of birds to the Ponds including a male Shoveler  with the Mallard flock on 20th, and a single Siberian Chiffchaff (a much greyer version of our yellow-green Common Chiffchaff) briefly on 17th.







As well as these visitors, the regular wintering birds were still present with the Siskin, Lesser Redpoll (pictured right) and Goldfinch flock feeding in the alders, and the male Stonechat which is most often found along the northern boundary hedge. In fact during the first bird ringing session of the year, on 20th, this bird was trapped and ringed (pictured below).

StonechatmaleLBP (1)RedpollLB

The Stonechat was one of the nine birds caught on the 20th, and this total included four Goldcrests. Interestingly two of the Goldcrests were already ringed, one of which had been ringed by me at the Ponds back on 1st Nov 2015, which shows it is actually over-wintering at the Ponds. The other was wearing a ring that wasn’t fitted by me, so as soon as I get the data back on where this bird was ringed I will post it here.

The highlight though of this excellent session was a real surprise,as they are now a fairly scarce bird around these parts. A stunning adult female Green Woodpecker (pictured below).
  GreenWoodyLBP1 (1)