© Andrew Moon

Wildfowl Walk - 16 Feb 2014

It is amazing how different the lake can be at this time of year. Two years ago it was frozen solid. Last year it was dull but not too cold and ordinary water levels. This year it was a beautiful day but with water levels higher than anyone can remember. Even the extensions on Ark Royal were under water. You needed your wellies even to reach the meeting point on the causeway whichever way you came. Despite the warm bright sunshine only three members joined me. So it was a select few looking at a select few birds. I am guessing but a combination of warm weather and deeper than normal weather has reduced bird numbers on the lake. We decided to stick to the canal side path partly because of the water running over the paths as the lake tries to empty itself into the river and partly because birding from the river side would have meant looking straight into the very strong sun.

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Wildfowl Walk - 12 Jan 2014

A bright and crisp start to this our first birdwatching foray of the year.  The winter sun had disappeared behind the clouds and the wind was a little fresh around the lake edges by the time we finished the walk, but it was a jolly band of 14 who set out to see what birds were about.  Thanks once again to Peter Jenkins for leading our walk while Dick is away and to Anna Marett for ably assisting again.

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Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk - 18 Aug 2013

It was a pleasantly warm day when eight of us met on the Causeway to look for butterflies and dragonflies.  We spent most of the time walking slowly round the meadows between the lake and the river where there are a variety of nectar plants.  Later on we had a look round the grassy field between the causeway and the lock. 

Common blue damselflies were abundant as usual and we spotted some females as well as the more visible males.  Several brown hawker dragonflies were seen including two which zoomed around us at great speed.  There were one or two other hawkers but they didn’t settle so we were unable to identify them.

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Warbler Walk - 5 May 2013

A dozen people gathered on the causeway for a walk around the lake at half past eight.  The weather was fine but the breeze still a bit cool although warming up as the morning went on.  The trees this year were only just coming into leaf which meant that viewing was better than in some years past and we saw most of what we heard.

We started on the causeway with the explosive call of the Cetti’s warbler followed by reed warbler and reed bunting. Sedge warblers were heard by the time we got back. We found garden warbler along the canal side path with numerous blackcaps. Blackbirds, wrens, robins, chaffinches and song thrushes were plentiful and they serenaded us as we passed along. We didn’t find chiffchaff this year but we did have a whitethroat (plus we heard another by the fisherman’s car park) but no lesser whitethroat this time. In the reed bed on the river side warblers were conspicuous by their absence.

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HeronWatch - 14 Apr 2013

The weather was ok this year but still pretty cold. There were reasonable numbers of people about. As last year the herons had decided to nest out of sight of the causeway although there are still plenty nesting around the lake with several flying past just a few yards away.

Anna and I decided to set up telescopes in Shoveler hide from where some 9 nests could be seen across the lake. We posted notices from the causeway in the hope that some of those walking the Aquadrome might extend their walk to our hide but no-one said that they had. Nonetheless we were kept busy most of the time with people having a look with a good few “ooh”’s and “ah”s as they saw herons up close for the first time.

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