Our family of geese with 6 young are still miraculously in tact - considering we've seen at least 50 lesser backed gulls around the Millennium Country Park this is no mean feat! Gulls, as i'm sure you've seen in the press in recent years, have a reputation for eating small birds, rabbits and even dogs(!)

We saw this mallard nesting in/trying out an old Buzzard nest which may seem bizarre (especially as it was about 10m up) but they do sometimes nest in strange places, without thinking about their young, who can obviously fall out. Thankfully the fall doesn’t always kill them, but gulls can be hanging around waiting for them to be unprotected, so it’s pretty risky. The second video here is a different mallard with juveniles (the first brood we’ve seen this year) - hopefully they’ll set up home in a better spot than the other one!

There are now reed warblers on site, who are a common summer migrant - you can hear them singing in this video, taken at the Forest Centre end of the Wetlands a few years ago.

There are a few breeding pairs of green woodpeckers at the Park now - we saw three feeding together this week but there’s definitely more on site. This video shows clips from a combination of years, including one from earlier this week.

We also have great spotted woodpeckers in the Park - you'll be able to hear them drumming and singing. We assume the one in the video below is nesting (near the sewage works, in the Park).

Most excitingly, the wet weather and easterly winds have bought some rarer migrants to the Park, on their way to their northern European breeding grounds. We’ve seen black terns and a little gull on Stewartby Lake and a stunning male wheatear on the meadows. We didn’t get a video this time, but the one below shows footage from them visiting in the past (and yes, the wheatear is a female.)


There’s a lot of cuckoo flower (or ladies smock) about - we spotted this one near the bridge into the Wetlands - it grows in damp, grassy places and as it blooms in April it’s a sure sign that spring has arrived (but I think there as no doubt about that!)

We also have some photos of the wayfaring tree, which grows at the edge of woodlands, hedgerows and scrub (this one is at the edge of the Wetlands) and currently has creamy flowers. Later in the summer these will turn to red/black berries which are very attractive to birds and small mammals, helpfully dispersing the seeds.

Wayfaring tree and ladies smock

Wayfaring tree and ladies smock

Animals and Insects

We’ve seen both a red tailed and white tailed bumblebee feeding on ground ivy in the Park this week - the red tailed is a queen nonetheless! They’re both members of ‘The Big 7’ which is as important as it sounds - you can read more about these bees and why they're so vitally important here.

The speckled wood butterfly is officially out - we’ve had our first sighting at the Park, and the small tortoiseshell has also been spotted.

Speckled wood, small tortoiseshell and orange tip butterfly - credit Michelle Bendix

Speckled wood, small tortoiseshell and orange tip butterflies - credit to Michelle Bendix

We’ve talked about the orange tip butterfly laying eggs on garlic mustard for weeks now but we’ve finally got a great photo of the eggs so you can look out for them yourselves! Look underneath the top leaves and you’ll see orange ovals (circled below). They also lay their eggs on ladies smock, so it’s a great time to be an orange tip!

Orange tip butterfly on garlic mustard plant Credit Judith Knight

Orange tip butterfly on garlic mustard - credit Judith KnightOrange tip butterfly eggs on garlic mustard plant Credit Judith Knight

Orange tip butterfly eggs on garlic mustard - credit Judith Knight

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All videos credit to Bob Hook