Holywell has been superb over the last couple of months. It seems just when you think you know a place, it reveals something new, exciting and unexpected, which is certainly the way it has been this summer.
Over the past couple of months I have been lucky enough to see a number of new species I have not seen in the area before, the highlight of which has to be two otters which were carousing on the pond one evening in July. These were a first for me and though they were a way out on the water, were a magical sight nonetheless.
Also in July I added Little Owl to my patch list. I am not sure whether these are regular birds at Holywell – the area looks good for them but I have never seen them before. More recently the scrape in front of the public hide has seen some interesting passage wading birds, with Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Ruff and Green Sandpiper. Last week there was also a pair of Kingfisher here in the early morning, as well as a Water Rail feeding close to the reeds.
One of the best things I have ever seen at Holywell was a Swallow nest inside the public hide quite late on this summer. In the space of a few short weeks the adult birds hatched and fledged a pair of young, which up until last week were still roosting in the hide. The morning I was there the birds were fidgeting and stretching behind me before flying right past my ears and out of the hide. You can’t get much closer to nature than that!
After last Saturday evening’s thunderstorm and heavy rain I went up to Holywell to see how the wildlife had fared. It was a beautiful day and despite the awful weather of the night before, it didn’t seem to have taken its toll. There were clouds of Lapwing in the air over the fields and above the pond, as well on the scrape below – in all I would say there were well over three hundred birds with a good number of Starling mixed in too.
The scrape also held a good selection of waders, as well as plentiful ducks and geese, which together with the Lapwing lifted in spectacular style when a Buzzard flew over. In the willows and hedgerows round the pond there were quite a few young birds in evidence with family parties of Wren and Chiffchaff interacting with each other.
It was also good to see the local Wall Brown butterflies had not suffered too much from the weather either. Holywell seems to be a good spot for them and numbers seem to be much the same as last year which is encouraging.