In the middle of our generally cloudy week, up pops a bright and sunny morning. Luckily my brother and I had already planned to go out for a morning's birdwatching at Lackford Lakes Nature Reserve near Bury St Edmunds. Looking back at previous posts on the blog I discovered that we were last there two years ago to the day - isn't writing a blog great for keeping track of this sort of thing - and that was a glorious Spring day too.
At this time of year it matters not a jot whether rare or unusual birds are about; there's always plenty to see and hear - Blue Tits exploring every nook and cranny for nest sites, Wrens belting out their piercing song from the undergrowth, Robins singing pleasantly in the sunshine, Blackbirds collecting nesting material....
Then there are the special surprises - Chiffchaffs just returned from overwintering in North Africa, Great Crested Grebes shaking their heads at each other in display and the sudden eruption of loud song from a Cetti's Warbler. Two years ago there were Egyptian Geese with youngsters, though today just the adults were just goose-stepping around outside the hide.
As a place to wander on a fine morning Lackford Lakes is hard to beat. Good paths lead through varied habitats to excellent hides each looking out onto a different body of water. It's compact enough to cover without too much effort but full of interest and variety.
The reserve is based around some flooded old gravel workings alongside the River Lark. The valley forms a natural corridor for migrating birds while the different pits attract a wide variety of water birds and the scrub and woodland provide nest sites for many other small birds.
Here's a pretty complete list of the birds we saw or heard:
Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-Tailed Tit, Teal, Goldeneye (just a few still hanging about before leaving for the far north), Shoveler, Great Crested Grebe,Redshank, Wood Pigeon, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Rook, Cetti's Warbler, Magpie, Jackdaw, Shelduck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose, Little Grebe, Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff......(pause for breath)
Wren, Robin, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Black-Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Little Egret, Pheasant, Red-Legged Partridge, Dunnock, Mute Swan, Buzzard, Oystercatcher, Siskin, Wigeon, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Starling, Chaffinch, Kingfisher and.....
....at the last hide we were lucky enough to see three Red-Crested Pochard, two males and one female. They are rather spectacular-looking ducks and it's never certain whether they are vagrants from Europe, have escaped from a wildfowl collection or are part of a small breeding population in Eastern England. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter, I just like to see them. If you want to see one too click here.
Finding a pub at lunchtime was even harder than finding birds and we drove past several that had closed down before finding a place for a pint and something to eat. Our afternoon turned up another scarce bird, but more of that next post.
The third picture is gorgoeus and the duck looks like it's covered in velvet. Great post.ReplyDelete
Very nice! And I agree about the usefulness of blogging as a memory minder! I seem to search my own blog quite often when trying to remember how or when I built/cooked/planted/knit/dyed something or other.ReplyDelete
It's raining here today, but we had a couple of bright cold days earlier this week and I managed to get out and take a few snaps by a little pond...looks a bit like yours but in miniature :)
It looks a lot like here (Eastern US)! That is, except for the Egyptian ducks. I don't think I've ever seen one here.ReplyDelete
These are beautiful, serene shots. I love the quiet peacefulness in them.
What a lovely blue-sky day! Perfect for birdwatching.ReplyDelete
Fantastic bird count John. Hope the lunch was just as good. Looking forward to the next installment. Lovely day here in North Yorkshire too.ReplyDelete
Dazzling day, lots of birds! Now where can I go next???ReplyDelete
Wow you both really saw a lot of different birds! Brilliant sunny day, lovely photos.ReplyDelete
a beautiful walk--love those blue skies! a very nice bird list!ReplyDelete
The blue sky is awesome. Great day for a walk and bird watching. It's nice to see all that while walking and listening to the different birds.ReplyDelete
I woke to wonderful birdsong this morning. Some new voices. I wish I had your patience and knowledge to name them all.ReplyDelete
Lots of birds you're seeing there! Hardly any about here yet. And I can't think of anywhere I've seen a bird hide or blind over here.ReplyDelete
What a great day to be out and about! You saw/heard a lot of birds!ReplyDelete
A great outing and I'm sure the blue skies added to the enjoyment of being out & about at Lackford Lakes. You certainly have a wealth of bird-life in your corner of the world John ..... Thank you for sharing the journeyReplyDelete
Spring days of bright sunshine and intense blue skies are wonderful, tucked as they are between frosty mornings and the chilly return of grey clouds and rain.ReplyDelete
So few birds on your list are familiar, though I suspect some could be sought out in specialized habitats.
What a strange duck with pink feet!
That was quite a haul! What a treasure to have a place where so many birds congregate. I could feel the warm sun on my back as I vicariously strolled through your photos.ReplyDelete
That sounds like a great day of birdwatching. Almost every one would have been a first for me!ReplyDelete
That's an impressive list from a compact reserve. I went out for an early walk this morning and even deaf old me could hear birdsong. No idea what though!ReplyDelete
That is a good day of birding! What an extensive list of birds! All of them would have been lifers for me.ReplyDelete
It seems like a lovely spot. I don't have the discipline to be a birder, but I appreciate the dedication that birders have. Glad your brother and you had fun.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a good day!ReplyDelete