Butterfly & Dragonfly walk - 17 Aug 2014
We have had a wonderful sunny summer this year but, needless to say, on the date set for our annual butterfly and dragonfly walk it poured with rain! However a small but hardy band of enthusiasts met for a wander round the lake, led by Jane Archer and Cliff Buckden. It really wasn't butterfly weather and we saw none but we spotted several damselflies. Jane gave us an excellent talk on the life cycle of dragonflies and brought along some exuviae (the cast-off outer skin) of dragonflies. She also located some still attached to reeds along the lakeside.
Wildflower Walk - 22 Jun 2014
It was a gloriously sunny day, when eight of us met on the causeway at 2.00pm on Sunday 22nd June. The scene was set for a pleasant, relaxing walk to see what wild flowers/plants we could identify around the lake.
The yellow flags were over, but we quickly spotted Hemp Agrimony coming into bloom with mallow, comfrey, nipplewort, hedge mustard and smooth sow-thistle. The distinctive seed heads of Goats’ beard and a pretty clump of meadow sweet were less obvious amongst the Yorkshire fog and s foot grasses.
Warbler Walk - 11 May 2014
Seven of us this year gathered on the Causeway for a walk round the lake at half past eight. The weather cloudy, cold and windy with rain threatening. The sun tried to break through at one point but that was about it. In the end we saw more than we expected and we saw most of what we heard. As we prepared to start off we watched an extensive mixed flock of House Martins, Swallows and a few swifts racing about the sky and over both lakes and the reads. Spectacular! And the display continued on and off throughout our walk. I do not think I have seen as many hirundines on one occasion before.
We started on the causeway with the explosive call of the Cetti’s warbler. He or she was still there when we got back but remained elusive.
HeronWatch - 13th April 2014
A pleasant day this year but a bit breezy so the birds tended to keep their heads down a bit. As last year the herons had decided to nest out of sight of the causeway although there are still plenty of herons nesting around the lake with several flying past just a few yards away. The big news this year is that the little egrets are nesting among the herons and are just as visible as the herons. Anna and I decided to set up telescopes at the binocular resting post along the canal side path from where some 9 or 10 nests could be seen across the lake, four of which were little egret nests. I had just acquired an attachment for my telescope that enables me to use my phone to view what is in the scope field of view and take photos. Having the view on screen makes it a lot easier for people not used to squinting through a telescope , children in particular, to see clearly and easily. (If you want one for your scope and phone In Focus out at Willows Farm is the place to get them and the right advice or visit their web site.)
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.
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.