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Wild Rye: Discover Our Wetland Wildlife

Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly

What to Look For

April

Although spring is well on the way this can often be a cold month, but it is typically dry with an average rainfall of just 52mm!

Plants beginning to flower include stork’s-bill, ivy-leaved toadflax,

ivy-leaved toadflax

Sea kale and sea campion. The flowers of the willow species are a great attraction to many insects, especially bees and wasps. Several species of butterfly should emerge during the month including speckled wood, orange-tip and peacock.

Ternery Pool will be busy with hundreds of Sandwich tern, black-headed and Mediterranean gulls. The breeding waders will be busy displaying – avocet, oystercatcher, redshank, lapwing and ringed plover.

Most of the summer migrant birds will start to arrive during this month – common sandpiper, little tern, cuckoo, swift, house martin, reed and sedge warblers, lesser and common Whitethroats and garden warbler. Many of these species will waste no time in setting up territories and nesting. Scarcer migrants to look out for include black redstart, firecrest, garganey and little gull.

little tern adults on shore

Many birds may be on the move offshore, especially during easterly or southerly winds. Flocks of Brent geese may still be heading up the Channel, as well as common scoter and smaller numbers of red-breasted mergansers and other ducks. The whimbrel passage usually starts mid-month and the roost near Ternery Pool often reaches a maximum of about 400 by the end.

Whimbrel

Bar-tailed godwits also arrive in good numbers during the last week of the month.

On still days the clouds of midges will form great clouds over bushes, providing food for some of the birds. On warm days the marsh frogs will be singing (or is it laughing ?) from the ditches, ponds and pits. This is also the time that the newts will be courting in the water that doesn’t have many fish to eat them!

marsh frog calling

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