On Saturday I was kindly invited by Stewart Abbott, a fellow Hen Harrier campaigner and a volunteer with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to attend their open day at Avenue Washlands Reserve near Chesterfield. This place was once one of the most polluted in Europe but with the help of EU funding and lots of hard work by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and its volunteers the area is now a fantastic reserve and haven for wildlife.
We had hoped to get there earlier than our 11.30am arrival time so unfortunately had missed the checking of the Mammal traps which produced Voles and Mice and also missed the amazing opportunity to see a Kingfisher up close as one was caught and ringed at the reserve.
Stewart was out and about doing a guided walk when we arrived so we had a chat with his partner Lynne and checked out the stalls.Derbyshire Wildlife Trust(where we met Louise, another Hen Harrier hero), RSPB, Beekeepers Association had information stands and there was a chance to build a bug hotel or bird nest box.In the marquee you coudl buy plants or do the Tombola which among other things I won the Concise Moth Guide on :)
We then headed out on to the reserve to have our first ever walk around Avenue Washlands.
A few views around Avenue Washlands.
People enjoying the Pond dipping despite the rain.
River Rother creates amazing suitable habitat for Water Voles.
As you can see the July weather wasn't great but there were sunny intervals between the heavy rain showers.
Canada Geese were relaxing among the Buttercups.
Male Reed Bunting
There were also quite a few Yellowhammers, Linnets, Swallows, Goldfinches, Greenfinch, Bullfinches, House Martins and a Kestrel. 21 species seen in the end during our walk.
When the sun did come out between the dark clouds, insects took full advantage with the numerous wildflowers becoming a hive of activity.
I was determined to find a Moth and finally found this Clouded Border hidden in a hedgerow along the Sidings.
In the warmth of the sun Butterflies once again took to the wing.
With having to be up at 4.30am Sunday morning we were unable to stay for the Moth trapping later in the evening but had already had a good day at the reserve.
Many thanks again to Stewart & Lynne and the rest of the staff and volunteers that made it a great day and had lots of adults and children engaging with wildlife.
We will be back :)