Author Mike Russell
Senior Wildlife Advisor
I know I'm biased having worked at Woods Mill
Proceedings started with Michael Blenchowe showing us the contents of a moth trap set the previous night and, although it wasn't a brilliant night for moths to be active, 23 species represented a reasonable catch of which black arches, peach blossom and iron prominent were probably the pick of the bunch.
Out on the trail, we were soon getting superb views of definitely the star of the reserve at the moment, a turtle dove. Woods Mill is a hot spot for this lovely, but fast declining bird, and every time I go out on the reserve at the moment there is a huge camera lens trained on a turtle dove, but they don't seem to mind too much. Young birds seem abundant, with a number of young green woodpeckers around, a juvenile kestrel learning its hunting skills in the big meadow and the three young little grebes, from their from second brood, all thriving on the lake.
Without the fish, the lake is now a really flourishing habitat for all sorts of wildlife. Emperor and brown hawker dragonflies were patrolling the lake, while newly emerged common and ruddy darters launched themselves off their favourite perches if anything flew remotely near them.
On an evening visit last week I have never seen so many bats flying over the lake, at least two dozen, all picking up insects emerging from the lake, something that never happened when all the fish were here.
It was great to see both banded and beautiful demoiselles still active on the reserve and a butterfly treat was a clouded yellow flying low over the meadow.
All in all a pretty good safari again and Woods Mill really is a great place to visit at the moment.
Spaces still available on the following safaris