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Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve

An S.S.S.I. Managed by Woolston Eyes Conservation Group

Woolston Eyes Monthly Sightings


With the weather showing some improvement, this week has seen the breeding season moving on apace. Saturday saw Marsh Harriers ringed in the nest for the third consecutive year, with three well-grown young ringed. On Tuesday we hosted the wardening team from the Dunham Massey Estate, sharing our experiences of habitat management and seeing Lapwings, Great Crested Grebes and Mute Swans with young. Then our first brood of Black-necked Grebe appeared yesterday, with the adults feeding three small young right in front of the Morgan Hide. Pochard broods, too, are starting to appear, with four on No.3 bed and five on No.4 bed this morning - still a good way to go to get anywhere near last year’s remarkable total of 37. With at least three Hobbies putting in daily appearances on No.4 bed, taking advantage of the feeding Swifts and countless dragonflies, it wouldn’t be surprising to find them breeding on the Reserve, though we’ve never yet managed to locate a breeding pair. Photo of a male Bullfinch Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman


No3. bed - Black-necked Grebe pair with 3 very small young

10 Black-necked Grebe, Hobby, 3 broods of Pochard.

Submitted by: John Blundell re info David Bowman


No.3 bed - Hobby hunting

Early Ringlet butterfly on Canal track

Submitted by: John Blundell re info Keith, Dave Hackett


It’s the time of year to be looking for broods, with three of Pochard and four of Gadwall located, on No.3 bed yesterday, though it looks like most of our Black-necked Grebes have failed to nest this year. for reasons we can only guess at. When the weather has been warm enough the numbers of dragonflies on the No.4 bed wetland have been astonishing, with counts in the hundreds for the larger species, while the various damselflies have been present in numbers beyond counting. In addition, there have been large hatches of flying insects over the wetland, which have attracted substantial gatherings of feeding Swifts and hirundines. Inevitably, these have attracted the attention of up to three Hobbies, which have given some very close views from the viewing platform. Otherwise, a passing Red Kite on Tuesday and a drake Garganey on several days were of note. Photo of a female Pochard Cheers David Bowman

Submitted by: David Bowman


No.3 bed - 2 Mediterranean Gull, Garganey, 3 Oystercatcher, 4 Black-necked Grebe, Grasshopper Warbler

No.4 bed - Hobby, Marsh harrier, Kestrel

Good numbers of Swift, Swallow and Martins across both above beds

Submitted by: John Blundell re info David Bowman, Dermot Smith


No.3 bed - Red Kite soaring north

Submitted by: John Blundell re info David Bowman


Still being in recovery from fracturing a couple of ribs meant a truncated visit this morning. An adult Mediterranean Gull, four Black-necked Grebes, a Marsh Harrier, a singing Grasshopper Warbler, Mute Swans with five cygnets and 50 Swifts were the highlights on No.3 bed. Then, as the day warmed, we did a brief dragonfly survey of the bed. One Emperor, a few 4-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers and scores of Azure Damselflies were noted, along with our first Large Skipper butterfly of the year. Photo of a male Large Skipper Cheers David Bowman (with Helen Wynn and Brian Baird).

Submitted by: David Bowman