Spring at the Wetlands

9 May 2021

A while ago I went for a walk around Willington Wetlands to see spring unfolding around the wetlands and to see what wildlife I could spot. I also did an Instagram takeover on the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust account, with a mini walk around the site. I thought I would share a mini photo diary and share what sightings I had that day. 

The weather keeps changing and can't decide whether to stay warm or cold, but when I visited Willington Wetlands it was a bright and sunny day with a lovely warmth and cool breeze in the air. The first bird I saw and heard when I walked into the site was a buzzard, who was circling around the grassland and soaring over the trees. Another bird of prey flew over which turned out to be a sparrowhawk, a male one which is smaller than the female and with an orange and brown streaked chest. Plenty of birds of prey can be seen around the site, such as kestrels, peregrines and occasionally marsh harriers. It's the perfect hunting ground for them. 

Another familiar sound that surrounded me as I walked down Meadow Lane towards the main wetland reserve, was a chiffchaff. To me it is the sound of spring, it's the sound I always look forward to hearing when spring arrives and I heard many of them singing away up in the trees as I wandered down the path. In fact there was a chiffchaff right in front of me, I stopped still in time to not scare it away and watched as it was singing and hopping from one branch to another. They can be a difficult bird to ID as they look very much like a willow warbler and so an easier way to determine the species would be to listen to their song as they are very different from one another. 

The wetland itself was teeming with bird life, noisy bird life I should say, because the sound coming from across the water was incredible. Lots of squawking black headed gulls and honking Canada geese was coming from the shingle and grass islands. It's understandable that there be so much noise as it's nesting season and all that commotion is mostly all about territory! I took my time to stop at each of the viewing platforms, keeping an eye out for the kingfisher that I usually see when I visit the site or just to stand for a moment to watch the breeze blow through the reedbeds. When I got down to the bottom of the trail, I stopped by the bird feeding station to see what birds were vising, although not many this time, there's usually a flock of long-tailed tits who hang about the bird feeders, but this time it was just the reed buntings and blue tits. 

I made my way back with a chorus of chiffchaffs following me along the path and chaffinches hopping from branch to branch in front of me. I took a walk back along the grassland where I spotted common stork's-bill dotted around the shorter patches of grass and many other little wildflowers that are starting to spring up. As I made my way back to my car, the buzzards were soaring through the sky again up above me and bumblebees were buzzing around the blackthorn blossom that lined the path. I look forward to visiting again in the summer time when the sand martins, dragonflies and damselflies begin to visit.  

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