Personal musings, wanderings and sightings from around the lake.
A little history, and about the lake, at the bottom of the page.

quote

Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me



Monday, 7 July 2014

Common Sandpiper



A good early start this morning; up before the sun had got dressed properly.



After feeding the waiting Magpies and Crows with some left over bread, digestive biscuit, a few grapes and some seed, I had a quick check on the island, before making my way round the north lake.

An overnight Little Egret was in the trees on the island, and a few geese down below, with some Mallards.

Back towards the north lake, and the birds were singing in fine voice.
Most were a bit camera shy though, and decided to fly off as soon as the camera was pointed in their direction.

Under the road bridge, a Kingfisher flew across the lake, and down towards some trees.
A group of geese were on the grass in front of the pub, and a Heron was at the waters edge.


I carried on towards the bandstand.


Reed Warblers were calling from the reeds, and a small group of Tufted Duck were out on the water.

Past the wall of the dam, and on towards the gully, where a Grey Heron was paddling in the water.




Eventually he hopped up onto the wall, and began searching for insects amongst the ivy clad wall.



Round past the pub, and on towards the south lake.



A small group of juvenile Long Tailed Tits were sweeping through the trees, and as usual, didn't keep still for long. I did manage a couple of pictures though.




By the footbridge, some more, and a couple of juvenile Willow Warblers.
These young birds will soon be heading off to Africa for the winter.
Amazing to think that in their short lives, they'll travel much further than I ever have; and all without the aid of a sat nav, or map.


No sign of the Robin by the bird hide, but I left some food anyway. I did spot a juvenile, so maybe his offspring?


Towards the rowing club, and I spotted a Little Egret preening up in the trees of the other island. Another overnighter I guess.


A Common Tern held my interest for a while, as it was hovering and diving over the water. On one of the jetties, one was preening.




I noticed he had a leg ring, but too far away to see what the numbers were.




Along with him, was a Common Sandpiper.
A bit of video, and then as I was about to take some pictures, he flew across towards the houses; and the shade.




At the next bay, the Great Crested Grebes were having their third attempt at building a nest.





I do hope they are successful this time. They certainly deserve to be, if only for their perseverance.


Back towards the car park, and I caught another brief glimpse of the Common Sandpiper as he flew around the bottom end of the lake, eventually settling on the island.





An excellent morning.










Full list of today's sightings


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
British Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argenteus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Stock Pigeon [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)


Total species  32



Saturday, 28 June 2014

Early start for the weekend




An early 5 a.m. start at the lake this morning; sunshine, and not too many people.



A quick look at the island first, and lots of sleeping Mallards and geese. The Mute Swans were swimming around with their seven cygnets, a couple of Great Crested Grebes, and a Kingfisher flew in, and disappeared amongst the bushes.
Good start.


The north lake next, and the sound of birdsong filled the air. Chiffchaff, Reed Warblers, Wrens and lots of Blackbirds foraging under the bushes.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes began some head waggling in the early light; and junior was getting in on the act too.






A few Common Terns were dive bombing the water, searching for small fish, and a couple of Grey Herons were standing at the waters edge, searching for bigger fish.


At the top end, quite a few Canada Geese were busily grazing, until my presence upset them, and they headed off towards the safety of the water.


Towards the pub, and a lot more geese and young ones.
And from the distance came a Mallard, running towards me, with two ducklings running behind. She seems to have lost some since I last saw her.
A few handfuls of seed, and they were quite happily feeding; but she furiously saw off any other Mallards that came too close.


On towards the south lake, and a few clouds were gathering.
The Swifts were flying above, snatching the insects in the air.


At the far end, I stopped to watch a very worn looking Whitethroat.




He was keeping a watchful eye on his three offspring that were much closer, and hiding amongst the bushes.





At the rowing club, a female Mute Swan was busily feeding her cygnets,





and the male wasn't too far away. He was more interested in herding an unfortunate Canada Goose away, that had wandered too far to their breakfast table.


Round past the houses, and a few House Martins had joined the Swifts overhead.

A quick check on the island again, and they all seemed to be asleep still.
A family of Coots swam past,





and then it was back to the car.


An enjoyable walk.








Full list of today's sightings


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Eurasian Jackdaw [sp] (Corvus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
British Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula pileata)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)


Total species  34



Friday, 20 June 2014

A few young ones



My first visit for a while, and just a quick one, as I had to be back for a delivery of bird seed.



The Crows and Magpies soon appeared at the car park, once I'd put some digestive biscuits down; they hadn't forgotten.
Chiffchaff calling from the trees, Garden Warbler and Song Thrush ........... all heard, but unseen. I did see a Robin on the footbridge though, and a Great Tit.


I walked round to the road bridge for a quick look at the north lake through the binoculars, before heading round the south lake.


Greylag, and Canada Geese, a few Mute Swans, a Black-headed Gull on one of the buoys, a circling Common Tern, and Mallards.
The Mallards had recognised me too, as the man with food, and they soon came out of the water running towards me. What surprised me, was that one female had her six ducklings in tow too.




Now usually they'll keep them away from humans for safety, keeping a very watchful eye on things. This mother apparently felt safe in my presence, and allowed her offspring to come within inches of me.




A bit worrying though, in case a dog walker passed by, and they couldn't reach the safety of the water in time. There were a couple of Magpies too, watching things from above, perched on top of a street light.


After a few minutes I slowly backed away, hoping the female Mallard would lead her ducklings to the safety of the water.
Thankfully she did, so I carried on over the road bridge, and made my way round the south lake.



A new sign from the Parks Trust stands in the grass, alongside the road, telling us this is 'Caldecotte Lake'. So now I know.



Along the path towards the far end, a group of Greylag Geese were by the waters edge feeding. Goslings of varying ages; a mixed family. Very social these birds.

Further along a family of Canada Geese were grazing in the long grass. Another mixed family I suspect, with one attentive lookout, who constantly hissed at me, warning me to keep my distance.




Fair enough.



At the bottom end of the lake, a pair of Great Crested Grebes were busily fishing for their three young ones. Successfully too.




A mixed diet of fish, and large Crayfish.
I suspect the latter was the invasive American variety, so that should keep the fishing bailif happy.


Interesting to watch how the grebes deal with such large food items.
They thrash them down onto the water, and twist and turn with their long dagger beaks, seemingly trying to snap off legs and claws, which are then fed to the young.





Another family further round were not having so much luck in the fishing department.
The adult constantly diving, whilst the young were constantly calling, and a pair of Mute Swans were feeding with their four cygnets.


I carried on to look for the Orchids that grow at the far end.




I found one, and one other in a different place.
Maybe they had flowered earlier, and had finished now.


On round to where the Robin is usually about.


No sign of him, but I left some seed anyway.
I did see a male Blackcap though, searching for insects in the trees.


The rowing club has an array of solar panels on its roof now; looks enough to power my house too.

A couple of Mallards and their young were sitting along the edge, making use of the weed that had been pulled from the lake.






Another Common Tern cruised overhead as I made my way towards the houses.
I wondered how the grebes had fared with their nesting there.
The first nest and egg had been destroyed by the wind and waves prior to me visiting Wales, and I understand a second attempt had been unsuccessful.


It seems they have got the idea it is not a good spot. No sign of them.
As I made my way back to the car park, I did see a pair nesting in the reeds.




It would be nice to think it was the earlier pair, and they have now nested safely.



A good visit, even though a short one.










Full list of today's sightings


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total species 23


Monday, 12 May 2014

Last one for a while



A quick visit and a short post today; heading off somewhere different for a while.


A dull morning, with some nasty looking clouds, but the rain kept off until I got home.
A few goslings by the pub, and a lot of Swifts over the lake, with Swallows, Common Terns, Sand and House Martins. The Cetti's Warbler is extending his territory; or maybe he just fancied a change of scenery ......... like myself.

It was good to see a pair of Kingfishers fly over the lake this morning, and the Oystercatchers are still pretty vocal, as they fly by.


Sadly the Great Crested Grebes nest up by the houses, was destroyed by the elements the other day. The strong winds whipped up the water, making waves, and destroying it all.
It saved the Parks Trust from getting back to me, anyway. Thank goodness it wasn't something important like a broken piece of trim-track equipment.




And as I walked back to the car, I spotted my first Poppies of the year.









Full list of today's sightings


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
British Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argenteus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
British Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major anglicus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
Cetti's Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Jay (Garrulus glandarius rufitergum)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)


Total species  36


Friday, 9 May 2014

Great Crested Grebes and the trim track








A quick visit to the lake yesterday, found a pair of Great Crested Grebes that have nested in a rather precarious place. Next to a public footpath.






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~






My guess is they are first timers at this nesting business. I watched them a couple of weeks ago, performing their weed dance, and had hoped they would nest somewhere sensible.
Alas, no. They have already lost one egg over the past weekend.


Whilst I was there, I had a quick wander to the far end of the south lake, and I must admit I was rather surprised to see some construction work going on, of some fitness equipment. Especially as it is so close to the so called 'Conservation Area'.







But back to the Great Crested Grebes.



When I got home, I sent a quick e-mail to the Parks Trust.



As someone who walks round the lake on a regular basis, and enjoys the flora and fauna of the area, I am writing on behalf of some of the dog walkers and residents regarding a pair of Great Crested Grebes, that have decided to nest in front of the houses in Monellan Crescent.
The nest had an egg over the weekend, which disappeared; and this morning there is another egg.
It seems in a very vulnerable position, so close to the footpath, and we were wondering if it would be possible to erect a temporary fence around it, to minimise any possible future disturbance.
I have seen this done very effectively in parks in north Wales. 
We appreciate the financial cost involved, but we feel sure the goodwill gesture would be worth it; and also boost the kudos of The Parks Trust.
Hopefully some money is left to do this, after the recent erecting of the 'fitness' areas on the south lake, around the 'conservation area'.


Thank you for taking the time to read this.



A few minutes later, I did receive a reply.



Thank you for your e-mail. I have passed it on to our biodiversity officer, Martin Kincaid who will contact you in due course. The trim trail equipment has been supplied, installed and paid for by Walton Parish Council, not The Parks Trust.
Kind regards
Briony

Briony Fox
Head of Community Engagement


Well, I went out later to visit my mum, and hoped for a reply by the time I got home.

Nothing.


This morning I took a quick walk over the lake, to see how the Grebes are doing.






One of them is sitting tight on the nest. I'm guessing the incubation period has begun.









I do hope these beautiful birds are successful; but I doubt it very much.
Incubation of the eggs takes 25-29 days.
Let's hope they can last that long.



To date, I've still heard nothing more from The Parks Trust



On the way back to the car this morning though, I did notice that some grass cutting had been done.



Keep safe


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Common Sandpiper, Swifts and Garden Warbler



A sunny start to the day, and some excellent birds too.


The Crows and Magpies had a feast by the car park this morning; some bread, grapes and digestive biscuits. The sounds of Reed Warblers were coming from the reeds to the left, but they were pretty difficult to see.

On towards the north lake, and my first Garden Warbler of the year here, was calling from the bushes along from the footbridge.




Over by the pub, a Mallard had quite a few ducklings,




and close by a couple of Greylag were keeping a watchful eye on their goslings.





A few Common Terns were flying over the water, and a couple took a quick break.






On towards where the Cetti's Warbler hangs out, but he wasn't so co-operative today.
A shame, because some pictures in the sun would have been nice. Another time, maybe.
I did see a juvenile Robin, looking very grown up, as he flitted through the trees.


Quite a few Reed Warblers calling from the reeds, a few House Sparrows feeding, which was good to see, and some Reed Buntings around too.


Up towards the wall of the dam, and a few more ducklings swimming close to mum.

Towards the weir, I was hoping to see a Whitethroat; a favourite spot over the last couple of years.
No sign today, but as I got by the gully, I did hear, and see, a Sedge Warbler belting out his song.





A little while ago, there was a Mallard that had her ducklings stuck in the gully. They were swimming aimlessly up and down, as she frantically called out to them. This of course attracted the attention of one of the Grey Herons, that thought he'd have an easy lunch. She did an amazing job of seeing him off a couple of times while I was there.
When I returned a couple of days later, the Mallard family were gone from the gully. Had they managed to escape using the new ramp? I'd like to think so.
Well, today, a Mallard, with coincidentally five ducklings, was swimming happily in the lake, not far from the gully.






Further round the corner, something caught my eye, feeding along the shore line.




 A Common Sandpiper.


To my knowledge, they have bred here before, and as I saw two this morning, then there's a good chance they may breed here again.



Past the pub, and on towards the south lake.

By now, a few boats were out on the lake, and a few more people walking and jogging too, enjoying the good weather.

As I passed under the road bridge, I could hear a familiar 'screaming' sound.
Up above, a group of Swifts were wheeling around overhead, and began to descend, skimming over the water. A great sight and sound. The first I've seen here this year; a bit later than past years, but only by a few days.


Down to the footbridge, and another chance to hopefully see a Whitethroat. A good spot, in the brambles and bushes by the footbridge. I was in luck. Difficult to see, but at least one Whitethroat there; possibly two. An equally hard to see was another singing Garden Warbler, a Wren in a tree, and a much easier Dunnock, that posed for a while.





Down to the far end, and something I noticed ............. the sparcity, compared to last year, of the Cuckoo flower, or Lady's Smock.
A few growing here, but nothing like past numbers. Last year the area was covered with them. Maybe the flooding has taken its toll on them?
Something else that was short on visible numbers, despite the sun, was butterflies.
I only saw the one.



Green-veined White



After feeding the Robin, I made my way past the rowing club. A Song Thrush was having a last minute sing song, before settling down to forage for some food.
More Common Terns were swooping over the water, and at least a dozen Swifts too.

Past the houses, and as I neared the car park, a quick look at some mushrooms growing under some trees.




No idea what they are.


The Sedge Warblers were still calling from the reeds, as I got into the car.


Another excellent day.









Full list of today's sightings


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
Cetti's Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Garden Warbler [sp] (Sylvia borin)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)


Total species  33