Winnall Moors in April

Sedge Warbler © David Kilbey

Tom, one of the wardens for Winnall Moors does his rounds on a Friday morning. He shares his experiences with us here.

It seems that Spring was put on hold for a couple of weeks as frosts and a northerly wind kept a grip and as a consequence not many new flowers have come out yet. The weather is becoming warmer now so hopefully we will see some blooms soon. However, some butterflies are out and about and the reed and sedge warblers have finally arrived.

A flutter of wings

Two of the current batch of butterflies are the peacocks and the orangetips. Peacocks (both male and female) are a dark to mid brown with a striking blue ‘eye’ on each of its four wings. These eyes are similar to those found on peacock feathers and hence the name. Orangetips are even easier to spot. The males are white butterflies with the ends of their front wings a bright orange. The females are more difficult to identify as they lack the orange tips..

Warbler arrival

The reed and sedge warblers have come up from Africa to breed in reed beds, such as we have here in Winnall Moors. If you go down to the pond or pause along the boardwalks where there are plenty of reeds you will certainly hear them and you might even see them. They are about the size of a sparrow with a streaky brown top and a creamy chest. The sedge warbler is slightly different in that it has a silvery-white stripe over its eye. They nest in the dense vegetation at the bottom of the reeds and they are currently busy sorting out their territories and mates. Their songs are quite similar, a sort of anxious scratchy series of sounds.There are subtle differences between the songs of these two birds and there are good examples of both on various birding websites such as those of the RSPB and the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology).

Hunters

We have a pair of sparrowhawks currently taking up residence to add to all of the other nesting activity going on. If you sit still on a bench for a while you are likely to see some birds busy building nests or even feeding young. There are also mallard ducklings on the nature reserve. All of this bird activity makes it even more important to remember to keep to the paths so as to minimise disturbance to the wildlife.