21 July 2016


The Green Sandpipers and recent Greenshank at Brandon March mean only one thing to an ever-optimistic patch watcher - autumn migration is already underway, albeit tentatively.

Mindful of the late summer / early autumn mornings when Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover or Common Sandpiper have  dropped in at Leam Valley, I was up bright and early for a quick visit on Saturday.

Sadly, there were no waders in sight. What's more, there seems little prospect of any in the short term - the water level is much higher than it has been in recent summers, so the 20 or so Mallards (mainly hybrids in fact) were much more at home than any of our smaller waders are likely to be. 

Still, migration is only just beginning so there are a few months to go yet.

Plenty more to see around the reserve though, which is looking better and better under the careful management of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (and, I'm sure, a dedicated team of conservation volunteers). 

A good amount of homogeneous 1960s tree planting has now been felled or cut back, leaving a better blend of trees and more diverse open spaces featuring a mix of ground cover and understory / scrub. Ideal for wild flowers, insects, nesting birds and more, and a real step in the right direction for a reserve which has always seemed to me to have so much promise.

Birding highlights included plenty of Chiffchaffs, a possible Lesser Whitethroat (lots of juv. Common Whitethroat around though, so I'm far from sure), great views of a number of Blackcaps, and a brief appearance from the regular Kingfisher.

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