Warbler Walk - 8 May 2016
Nine of us this year gathered on the causeway at half past eight for a walk round the lake. The weather was warm and sunny; perfect for our task. Cool April had slowing leaf growth making seeing the birds a bit easier than in some years. We saw most of the expected birds plus good views of a spotted flycatcher. Most unusual. There were a few swallows and even fewer swifts very high up but still no martins. Oddly no woodpeckers this year or house sparrows.
Heron and Egret Watch - 10 April 2016
A bright day this year but with a stiffish cool breeze. The birds consequently tended to be hunkered down with their backs to us. The chicks we did see seemed to be pretty well developed. For the last three years the Grey Herons had decided to nest out of sight of the causeway and so Anna and I set up telescopes at the former binocular resting post area along the canal side path about half way between Shoveler and Kingfisher hides. From there some half dozen heron and about ten or so Little Egret nests could be seen across the lake. (There were about a dozen of each last year.)
Wildfowl Walk - 21 Feb 2016
Cool damp and grey this year but at least it did not rain on us. There were far fewer birds than in most years. The party numbered 10. Our tour of the lake took about two and half hours reflecting the intense interest in the birds and some of the party being pretty new to birding.
Wildfowl Walk - 10 Jan 2016
The weather was kind; clear skies and unseasonably warm (like the rest of the winter up to now). Consequently, we feared that the overwintering birds would be few in number as they are likely to stay given the clement weather. And so the seven of us set off; a mixed crew from expert to novice. We saw all the species we heard and ended with a tally of 38 species (3 down on last year; no little owl, kingfisher or smew in particular). So better than we feared.
Butterfly & Dragonfly Walk - 16 August 2015
This year’s walk attracted a dozen attendees on a dry day with some sunshine and cloud, a definite improvement on last year’s rather wet event.
A brief talk was given about the life cycles of butterflies and dragonflies and again I showed some examples of dragonfly exuvia (the nymph exoskeletons left behind after emergence as adults). The various species have differing body shapes as nymphs and these can be used for identification purposes. Hawkers have a longer abdomen, darters, skimmers and emeralds have shorter abdomens while chasers have quite squat broad abdomens. Damselfly exuvia are a lot smaller and demoiselles are slightly longer than these.
Wildflower Walk - 21 June 2015
It was a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon when a group of enthusiasts met on the Causeway to embark on the Wild Flower Walk. Before the walk began I gave a brief explanation of the types of plant we could expect to find on neutral grassland. Many plants that grow on unimproved neutral soil may also be found on chalk (calcareous) grassland. Species diversity is inversely proportionate to the fertility/infertility of the soil.