Although there is chance for wintry weather to raise its ugly head, the signs at North Cave Wetlands are clearly indicating that winter is now playing out its final weeks. Lapwings Vanellus vanellus are now displaying in the field to the North, and at least three pairs of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus are acting out their courtship dances. Several Greylag Geese Anser anser are now paired up and have separated from the main flock, with many of the Shelduck Tadorna tadorna on site now also paired up. Summer visitors are starting to arrive, with Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus numbers now up to a minimum of sixteen on site. At least one pair of Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis are making their presence known by the thier high pitched vocal trill. Blue Tits Parus caeruleus and Tree Sparrows Passer montanus are prospecting the many nest boxes on site, and the first of the summer breeding ‘Warblers’ in the form of a Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita are on site. The biggest sign is the raucous call of the Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus, which have suddenly turned up on-mass to claim territories on the many islands. All signs that despite what the weather may do, the seasons will still march on.
Elsewhere on site, the Little Egret Egretta garzetta showed well on Island Lake, and a brief sortie over the site by a female Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus scattered many of the water birds far and wide. On the Main Lake the water levels are being reduced to enable some habitat creation work, in the form of additional island. This reduced level has exposed mud around the margins, which has really benefited the Redshanks Tringa totanus, which can be seen feeding around the edge, including right in front of the hide.
Additional work will be taking place over the next month to improve visitor facilities and habitat. This will undoubtably cause some disturbance, so I may venture further afield over the next month until the work has been completed.