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



Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Last day of August

A very early morning stroll round the lake this morning in thick mist.




and a passing cyclist, that just called out for a picture.



Reminded me of ET.

So, the birds. Yesterday the sky was thick with Swallows and House Martins. They seemed to be everywhere,




and today? Just 4 House Martins. I guess they left for Africa last night. I hope they have a safe journey. The rest? Well, a full list of what I saw at the end, but a nice bonus for me, was a flash of a Kingfisher, down at the weir, on the north part.
First one I’ve seen at that area. And the Little Grebes were still in the usual place.

A pleasant mornings walk.




List of sightings for today


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
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)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
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)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
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)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total 30 species

Monday, 30 August 2010

Such a lovely morning; couldn’t believe we had sunshine on a Bank Holiday; so I took a visit to the local. The birds, mostly, were being very shy, apart from the Swallows and House Martins, who were very impressive with their aerial antics.
A short video to follow, of the House Martins on the Yacht club, and pub roof. These little things will be making their journey of a lifetime soon, and it was so good to just watch them practice flight skills this morning. Hope they all make it, and come back next year.



The Black Swan was absent this morning; maybe he’s gone back to Willen Lake; and there was no sign of the Little Grebes today. They might have been fishing while I was there.
A few birds were spotted, and a list of today’s efforts at the end.

And I managed to see a rather noisy Chiffchaff…….eventually.

Enjoy the day.



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 Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
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)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
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)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total 30 species

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Return of an old friend

Took a wander round the local this morning, rather than travel too far with the mental holiday crowd. The odd jogger or two; in both senses of the word, and a couple of dog walkers, but pretty much had the place to myself. It was getting a bit busier later, with the boats out on the water, but I’d almost finished my visit by then.

So the first thing that greeted me this morning, was the aerobatics of four Swifts. What a treat to watch.


Lots of pictures, but not many worth keeping; but great fun trying to pan with them, and trying to get a picture.

I walked the south part first, then round the north, and back round the south. Quite a walk, but enjoyable. As I headed round the south part for the first time, there were good numbers of House Martins and Swallows, still skimming over the water; and calling from the reeds, a lot of Reed Buntings. That was good to see.

Not many butterflies, but it was still quite early, so maybe later they would be about.
A small group of juvenile Willow Warblers kept me entertained for a while, as they flitted from branch to branch, in a large bush.


They reminded me of the way Long Tailed Tits behave; and to confirm this, a small group were doing just this further round the lake.

And further round, in the regular spot, the two Little Grebe were swimming around, along with a young one. A breeding success for them.

The Great Crested Grebes have been very successful here too; in fact, all around the lake


Lots of young ones constantly calling to the parents for food.

And it was here, I came across my old friend.


The Black Swan. He’s returned to his favourite spot on the lake, right at the bottom of the south end. It’s probably the quietest part of the whole lake, and certainly has some good birds turn up here.

I walked on to the car park, past the fancy houses, and started to make my way round the north part. Just before I reached the road bridge, a Sparrowhawk slowly flew overhead, and a Swan caught my eye, and made me stop. He was up on the bridge, by the road. I had to go and investigate.
I climbed the steps up to the road, and there he was, slowly walking along the path, totally unfazed by all the traffic hurtling past. Just like someone going for an early morning stroll.


Onward round the north lake; a few Starlings grouping on the sails of the windmill, on the pub across the lake, and a couple of Cormorants showing the fishermen how to fish. From the bushes at the side of the path, I could hear Blue Tits calling, as they flew from branch to branch, along with a small group of Blackcaps.

Down to where the river had burst its banks yesterday, after all the rain, and a much different picture today.


The water seems to have receded quite a bit, along with all the birds that were there yesterday. Such a difference in 24 hours.

The usual Pied Wagtails on the grass at the front of the pub, along with a large number of Canada and Greylag Geese, and a few Crows, picking through the litter left by the tables outside.

Second lap of the south lake, but it didn’t produce anything different from the first time.

A nice walk though. It should keep me fit, if nothing else.


Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

List of birds seen this morning.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
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)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Eurasian Jackdaw [sp] (Corvus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
British Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula pileata)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total  34

Friday, 27 August 2010

Before the weekend comes

First of all, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has stopped by to leave a comment, and also to join the little band of followers. I really appreciate it.

A bit late in the day with this post, due to a number of reasons; one of which is some new tablets I’m taking, that are supposed to ‘rush’ the blood through the arteries, and stop the chest pains, (still get the pains), but they also have a few side effects; one of which is tiredness. Tired? Bloody ‘ell, they knock me out!
I slept this afternoon, so now I’m playing catch up.

It’s a holiday weekend looming, which usually means crowds of people. Sometimes I just wish I lived on a desert island, and…………….

Anyway, a morning visit to the local today, to see what’s about still, or what is new.

Usual list of birds, Swans, Mallards and Coots, as I slowly wandered round the north lake, then the south. Only a couple of Common Tern, swooping with the more numerous Black-headed Gulls today; and even more House Martins and Swallows skimming the water, to build up their fat reserves for their long journey ahead. Two Sand Martins were mixed in the busy throng, which I thought was unusual to see;





and even more unusual, a couple of Swifts. I thought these had long departed for their winter holidays.

Up at the north end, a couple of men were busy cutting trees, and tidying the area.


Must be a reason for it, but quite frankly I prefer to see the trees, and scrub. I’m sure the wildlife does too.

With all the recent rain, the River Ouzel at the north end, had burst its banks, and flooded some of the land either side. It had become a magnet for a few gulls and geese.


Onward towards the pub, and I was treated to a mini aerial display by a flock of Starlings. They swooped and dived and turned; and then settled on the blades of the windmill, before peeling away, to do it all again. Nothing on the grand scale of the famous Brighton pier flocks; but early days yet. And at least this display is on my doorstep.

Walking along the south side of the lake, the usual butterfly fest was sadly lacking this morning. The air too cool, and lack of sunshine, I think. The occasional grasshopper flying forward in front of me, as I trod the grass, and a few Damselflies about;


A Blue-tailed Damselfly

At the bottom of the lake, by the ‘hide’, or planks of wood to form a screen, the water level had risen quite a bit too. No exposed rocks, with sunbathing dragons today; but I did catch sight of one Little Grebe, swimming and diving, where I’d seen the others previously.

And not many joggers today, either. Maybe they had jogged already.

I quickly reached the fancy houses, and stopped to talk to a lady walking her young puppy. A lovely dog, Tara, that was as curious as a kitten, and bold as a lion. After having my face washed a dozen times, and my ears and chin nibbled, I made my way back to the car.

Enjoy the weekend, and if you’re going out, drive safely.


The list for today

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
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)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
British Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos clarkei)
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)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total 27 

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Didn't expect that

An early morning trip to the local produced some nice surprises this morning.


And it was early; it was still dark when I got there; the only light coming from a full moon, that was slowly being swallowed by cloud. Questioning my sanity, I made my way from the car park, to the edge of the lake, opposite the pub. Blocking out the sounds of the early morning traffic, I could hear a few Robins announcing their territory, and even managed a glimpse in the half-light. Ghostly white shapes were skimming and diving over the water………Black-headed Gulls. How on earth do they see to fish in this light?

A bat skimmed past me as I watched the gulls, and disappeared into the gloom.
Five fifteen, and the area where the sun should be, was taking on a brighter hue. I wondered when the sun would rise; probably another half hour yet.
Coots and Mallards were beginning to get vocal, and a few Blackbirds were joining the Robins in song.
I walked along the path, heading towards the north part.

It was getting brighter quite quickly now, and easier to pick out the birds in the trees.
Great Crested Grebes and Coots were swimming around, and a lone female Tufted Duck was just ahead. A Heron stood motionless, waiting to strike at his breakfast, and a couple of Common Terns joined the Black-headed Gulls, skimming over the water.
Ahead, the bellies of the clouds had been brushed crimson by the sun, as it made its steady climb.





A lone Swift flew overhead, and a couple of Crows noisily followed.

The Canada Geese were making plenty of noise now; it seemed everyone was getting up ready for a new day.
I reached the weir, and looked for Grey Wagtails. None today, just the usual Coots and Swans swimming around, a Heron just standing, contemplating the day, and a lone cyclist rode past. Just going to, or just finishing work, perhaps.

Beyond the weir, and turning towards the pub, and suddenly five or six flashes of yellow took to the air in front of me. Grey Wagtails! More than the previous days; that’s good to see. And reaching the pub, on the grass in front, I counted a dozen Pied Wagtails; two adult, and the rest looked like juveniles.

Getting much lighter now, as I passed under the road bridge, and made my way round the south part of the lake.

Three Cormorants flew overhead, circled round, and splashed down into the water.

The grass at the side of the path had been cut last week, and left where it fell.
Now, it had been collected, rolled like a farmers roll of corn, but for some reason left in a bush.



Not very impressed with that, whoever was responsible. The local Parks Trust are in charge of that sort of thing; maybe a lazy bugger works for them.

At the bottom of the lake now, and turning to make my way back to the car. Hardly seen anyone else yet; had the place to myself.

A Heron had spotted me, before I spotted him, and noisily left his fishing spot, scolding me as he went.






A Reed Warbler flew past into a clump of reeds, and a tree was making quite a lot of noise.

I walked towards the tree to see who or what was responsible.
Nine juvenile Long Tailed Tits, and half a dozen young Blue Tits, had made the tree their own, and were noisily chattering away, oblivious to my presence.
I carried on along the path; lake to the left, railway line to the right, and up ahead………..Partridge!
Two, strutting along the path. The first time I’d seen those here before. Red Legged Partridge; and as I raised the binoculars for a better look, they flew towards the railway line, with six others coming from behind some bushes.
I dropped the bins down, and coming round the corner was the reason for their flight.
Two bloody joggers! 'Dam', I thought; or words similar.

I passed by the first block of luxury apartments, and noticed lots of House Martins flying around. Lots. There must have been a hundred. Some were clinging to the side of the building,


others were sitting on the top, and still more were chattering away as they flew round overhead. What a sight.
In front of the apartments the water curves in a half circle, and skimming over the top, twenty or more Swallows. I stood watching for a while, before making my way back to the car.

It had been a most enjoyable couple of hours, in the company of birds, and one bat.


                                                            Full list of sightings follows:

                                                                Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
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)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
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)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
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)

Total 30 

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Second day

A quick visit to the local this morning, to see if there was much about; and also to see if I could find the lens cover for my binoculars. I think I dropped it in the car park yesterday.

Well there wasn’t that much about, and neither was my lens cover.

A beautiful morning though, made better by going early, and not seeing so many people around. The swans and geese were out in their usual good numbers; the geese doing good impressions of grazing sheep.

Canada Geese, keeping the grass down, and doing someone out of a job.

A few Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns flying round in front of the pub, and further round, down by the weir, three Grey Wagtails.
One of a trio

Nice to see them this morning. Further along a Sparrowhawk flapped overhead, being followed and harassed by four Magpies. A late breakfast for him today then.

Just on the corner, a Heron was measuring himself against the water marker


Plenty of dragonflies, damsels and butterflies taking to the air in the warm sun this morning, and as I made my way towards the bottom end of the lake, I noticed a Speckled Wood, sunning himself.




Now there must be something in the water here, because two days running, I’ve seen giant fish. A huge goldfish yesterday, and today, this thing……..


Even the Coots were wary of it. No idea what it is, but it didn’t move much. I think it was that big, it had got stuck on the bottom; or it was just enjoying some sun.

And close by, yesterdays Little Grebe’s were still about.


Not a bad morning; a full list at the end, of what I saw.

Obviously there were more bird species than what's in my list, but these are just the ones I saw.
For example, the singing Robin? Nah….he don’t make my list unless I see him.


                                                                 Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
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)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total 26 

Saturday, 21 August 2010

First day, new blog

Well, the sun made an appearance a bit later, but still windy, so I dragged my backside out to the lake. Well, I couldn’t start a blog with ‘when it stops raining, I’ll go out…..

So, late in the day when I finally got there, and mingled with everyone else. Yea, the dog walkers, joggers, bike riders and uncle Tom Cobbley and all were there. I persevered though, and soaring in the wind were a good few House Martins and Swallows. Also in the wind were a few yachts, which managed to keep the ducks and geese moving; even though some of them struggled to keep upright.


Whilst making my way round the north part of the lake, I noticed a big fish in the water. Now I’m no good at fish ID; apart from a Goldfish, that’s about all I know.

Well this was gold; and huge, so I can only guess either a giant Goldfish, or maybe a Koi Carp?
Ok, that’s two fish I know, but you understand……



Some prick with a couple of dogs managed to keep the waterfowl moving too. He thought it great fun to throw a ball into the water, so the dogs could scare the Swans while they went after the ball.
Times like that I wished I shot more than pictures.


Yea, that’s him!

A lot of dragonflies flying around as well……….Emperor and Brown Hawkers mainly.

And a nice surprise at the bottom end of the lake too; a couple of Little Grebe, in fine plumage.



Not too many birds seen, I’ll put a list at the end, but it was worth going out.


Next time I’ll go earlier though, and miss the crowds; and pricks.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
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)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Total 20

New blog

The purpose of this blog is just to fulfil a personal 'itch' if you like. It's in no way intended to replace my other blog, holdingmoments. I have enough trouble at times keeping that one going, so this one might even fall at the first fence........we'll have to see.

It's going to be a very personal record of my own sightings, and thoughts and observations. You might not agree with some of my thoughts.....we'll have to see.

So until it stops raining, this is it for now.

By the way, at the bottom of the page is a little history about the lake, and some information.