Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Spotlight on Titchmarsh LNR


Titchmarsh Local Nature Reserve is a Wildlife Trust managed reserve within the Thrapston Gravel pits complex along the Nene Valley between Thrapston and Thorpe Waterville. This area has long been visited by birdwatchers and other naturalists but is perhaps less-visited that some other sites in our extensive river valley system.

The Spring is perhaps one of the more interesting seasons at this site with all the summer visitors active and noisy. Positive management provides opportunities for breeding wildfowl and colonies of Black-headed Gull and Common Tern. Grey Herons nest in reasonable numbers, with the potential for Little Egret too, and other breeders include Kingfisher, birds of prey and Sand Martins making use of a specially provided construction.

Most years there are a few Nightingales and Cuckoos and often ten species of warbler breeding too. In fact it is the singing warblers in the scrub, light woodland and reed-beds that provide much of the action, and provides a great opportunity to learn the songs of these busy migrants.

Overhead there are always House Martins, Swallows and Swifts and often Hobby too.

As the season progresses, insects such as dragonflies become more prominent, and of course the acrobatic Hobby takes full advantage!

A well-marked circular walk provides appropriate access to the reserve and with several waterside hides to permit even closer views. Other pits adjacent to the reserve include Town Lake and the Elinor Trout Lake providing further diversity of habitat, and it takes a day or half a day to bird the whole complex thoroughly.

Access is possible from a number of points including a small car park on the outskirts of Aldwincle village and also a track off the A605 opposite the turning for Titchmarsh village.

A regular group of amateur naturalists are often on-site and delight in pointing out the wildlife highlights.

News has now come through of one of the Common Cranes photographed over the reserve last Friday. The colour-ring sequence apparently confirms that this bird, known as Beatrice, is a captive-bred bird from the Crane project. She was hatched on 28th April 2011 and released in to the wild on 22nd August 2011. Since then she has spent much of her time on the Somerset Levels, sometimes wandering over to Slimbridge (Gloucestershire) for short periods. More recently she has been seen with an unringed and unknown bird to the project. It has also been reported that Beatrice and an unringed bird were on the Ouse Washes on Monday this week! My thanks to local birder John Finlayson for his research and liaison.


Neil M


Cetti's Warbler


Garden Warbler

Reed Warbler

Willow Warbler

Sedge Warbler

All images courtesy of
John Finlayson

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