Tuesday, 27 August 2013

RSPB Middleton

I decided to visit RSPB Middleton this morning after reports of four Whinchat yesterday. I spent a few hours at the reserve, but was unable to locate any Whinchat today. I also had a scan about for Black Tern, none of those about this morning either. I was however treated to the spectacular sight of a Peregrine hunting over the Jubilee Wetlands.

I had a good wander around the reserve. Things have changed since my last visit. There are now signs in the car park detailing charges for non members.

Also signs stating dogs are welcome in certain areas of the reserve as long as they are on a lead, under control, and any fouling cleaned up. Like other RSPB reserves, dogs are NOT allowed in certain more sensitive areas of the reserve. Signposts detail this reasonably well.

Once I reached the wetland area of the reserve, just past Fishers Mill I noticed the Willow Screens looking out over the Jubilee Wetlands now have sides added to them.

I understand the path leading from this first screen going East to West towards the second Willow Screen will be closed at certain times of year. It is open for access between the hides at the moment.

While I was there today, several small mixed Canada, Greylag skeins of geese dropped in. Probably amounting to about 200 geese in total.

The view over Jubilee Wetlands.

There is also a considerable amount of fencing off being carried out all over the wetland area.

I walked up to the North Pit. More new fencing here.

Entrance to North Pit

Looking East towards Dosthill from here, you can see the new hide. Now complete.

I walked along the path towards the hide to check it out.

Entrance to the hide


On getting to the door of the hide, I discovered a combination lock.

The problem I had was, I have no idea what the combination is? I asked a couple of other birders, they didn't know either. So, if you are planning a visit and wish to use the hide, perhaps contact RSPB Middleton prior to your visit to get the code.

There are Willow screens either side of the hide. I peeped over them to look at the view from what looks like a top quality hide. I look forward to seeing inside.

View from Hide

I do like RSPB Middleton. I feel it has real potential. It does however still have some problems that need addressing.

1. There still seems no way of controlling the amount of water/exposed mud. Particularly important as this area floods quite quickly in times of heavy rainfall and holds the water.

2. The long awaited bridge to span the river Tame and join both sides of the reserve together is still conspicuous by its absence.

I'm sure these issues are being addressed with some priority, and I hope satisfactory outcomes are soon reached.

My time at RSPB Middleton this morning was as always enjoyable, and I will finish with a few snaps I took along the way.

Grey Heron



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