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.
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.
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.
Wildfowl Walk - 17 Feb 2013
What a contrast to the walk this time last year when the lake was frozen solid. Last year there were just four people on the walk; this year there were six or seven times that many. The weather was ok, a bit dull but not too cold. However as in January there were not great numbers of birds on the lake. I am grateful to Anna Marett and Ian West for their assistance again and Christine Crowther for keeping the list.
So what did we see? On the lake, not a lot. The dabbling ducks were represented by some Mallard and Shoveler and a few Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon and Pochard. The diving duck representatives were Tufted Duck and Goldeneye both male and female. We saw some interesting mating behaviour with one male goldeneye surrounded by four females all displaying to him! The only sawbill (duck with teeth) this time was a male Smew. (There may have been two birds on the lake given where and when we saw it/them) and some saw a female. No goosander this time. The lake also produced Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Lapwing, Grey Heron (some on nests in the trees), numerous Black-headed Gull (some gaining their black heads as they come into breeding plumage) and a couple of Common Gull.
Wildfowl Walk - 13 Jan 2013
We got this walk in this year before the ice and snow. The weather had been relatively mild over the previous week or so and consequently wildfowl were in short supply and probably some of the more northerly species had not migrated this far south. None the less we had a good walk and saw a good range of birds. About 30 people met us on the causeway so it was a fairly large group. My thanks to the several people who helped with the spotting and identifications and to Christine for keeping the tally; some 36 species in all.