Set in an oxbow on the river Aire near Leeds is Rodley Nature Reserve. Close by is a section of the Leeds Liverpool canal and these two waterways attract wildfowl and waders in great profusion. Created on a floodplain this makes a natural ‘flyway’ for migrating birds.
Inside the many bird hides are chalkboards recording the species recently spotted and many RSPB information panels. We spent time in half a dozen hides some wooden but a couple of new metal versions installed after vandals set fire to their predecessors.
The main lake or ‘Lagoon’ is home to little grebes and tufted ducks but you may also spot Oystercatchers, Pochard and Gooseander. The shallow duck marsh for dabbling ducks such as Gadwall, Snipe and Shovelers. The ground is well maintained with areas left as wet grassland, flower meadow, Reedbeds and a willow coppice. One areas is renown for it’s ‘Farming for Birds’.
On a hot spring day (yes I said hot and spring in the same sentence) I was most grateful for the visitors centre which provided chocices at 30p and a cup of tea for a donation. The display tank full of pondlife included beetles and snails of many varieties and childern were give pond dipping lessons and the loan of equipment.
Several small ponds have been grouped together to attract a large variety of Damselfly, Skimmers and Dragonflies. For more information and a club to join check out Yorkshire Dragonfly the local branch of the British Dragonfly Society
In June at Rodley Nature Reserves events including pond dipping, moth trapping, small mammal trapping, a bug hunt, bird and botany walks and other activities take place.
You do not need to be a member of any society to visit and enjoy the facilities. Entrance is free. Oh and did I mention the cheap ice creams!