A MURAL OF REED BUNTINGS @ STAVELEY NATURE RESERVE

On Wednesday I headed up to Staveley Nature Reserve which is located just a few miles west of Boroughbridge at the village of Staveley. There are four hides at the reserve with three overlooking the East Lagoon and one the West Lagoon with the River Tutt serving as the reserve's northern border. It was a nice dry, warm sunny day when I arrived with a Chiffchaff singing away in a tree near the car park and a Buzzard soaring high overhead. I followed the path as it turned to the left with Greylag Geese to my right and as I approached a small woodland, I saw a Brimstone Butterfly fluttering through the air disappearing through the trees.


The path now turns to the right going through the woodland where there were Great Tits, Blue Tits and Blackbirds whilst singing high above me near the tops of the trees was another Chiffchaff. As I emerged from the small woodland I turned to the right and headed to the first of the three hides overlooking the East Lagoon. On the grass just in front of the hide were Greylag and Canada Geese, whilst on the water I could see Wigeons, Teals, Shovelers, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Coots and Mute Swans with two Red Kites circling overhead in the distance. Sat on two wooden posts amongst the reeds were two Crows and, in the water, just the other side of the reeds, partially hidden from view, was a Little Egret.

The Little Egret began to edge its way around the reeds, briefly coming into view before being scared off by two squabbling Greylag Geese. Eventually the Little Egret returned making it all the way round the little inlet and right in front of the hide and then to the edge of the water to preen itself. I left the hide and walked the short distance to the main hide overlooking the East Lagoon which in previous visits has been a good place to see Water Rails and a great spot to see Reed Buntings. Out on the large expanse of water in front of the hide were Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Moorhens and a large number of Black Headed Gulls.


On a feeder just to the left of me I could see two male Reed Buntings with Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Dunnocks and a Robin in the trees immediately to the left of the hide. A Wren appeared just to the left on a branch before flying across to the reeds in front of the hide and rummaging through the reeds, disappearing and reappearing several times before emerging and then perching on a small wooden stump protruding from the reeds. It sat there for around ten seconds before flying over the reeds off to the right as a female Reed Bunting landed on a reed that had bent over and was lying just a couple of inches off the ground. After a couple of minutes, it flew up and joined the two male Reed Buntings which had returned to the feeders to the left.

I left the hide and followed the path towards the third hide overlooking the East Lagoon and as I walked along a Yellowhammer flew over the path and two Chiffchaffs were calling from the tops of trees. When I arrived at the hide there were several Reed Buntings present as well as a Rat just under one of the feeders but it darted for cover when it saw me. As I sat down in the hide there were Reed Buntings everywhere I looked, they were in the bushes to the left, in the trees behind the feeders and in the reeds to the right, waiting for their turn on the feeders. Also waiting their turn were Dunnocks, Robins, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Chaffinches and Long Tailed Tits with a Pheasant and Moorhen also feeding on the ground.


The Rat now made a return and continued to do so at regular intervals, always returning to the same spot, only staying for a few seconds before disappearing back down the hole it was hiding in. The Reed Buntings continued to visit in vast numbers with one or two occasionally perching halfway down a reed just in front of the hide. On the water beyond the reeds were Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Greylag Geese, Mute Swans and on the far side a pair of Coots fighting. A Tree Sparrow now appeared amongst the Reed Buntings, before flying across to the feeders and being barged off by a greedy Greenfinch. It was now just after 4pm so I began to make my way back along the path and I would not have time to visit the hide overlooking the West Lagoon.


As I approached the small woodland again there is a small pond with several reeds dotted across it at the edge of the woodland. As I walked past it a Wren flew across the water and disappeared amongst brambles at the edge and it was soon joined by another Wren, also vanishing in the same spot. One of the Wrens remerged a few seconds later, moving quickly around and through the reeds before returning to its hiding spot. I now continued on through the woodland and near the other end I spotted a small patch of fungi called Scarlet Elf Cup just a few feet from the edge of the path. The path now turned to the left as I exited the woodland and in the field to the left were Greylag Geese and just as the path turned to the right towards the car park there were more Greylags and flying overhead a trio of Mallards.


I have attached a few photos from my visit to Staveley Nature Reserve below.


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