Tuesday 28 April 2020

A 'Virtual' Lackford Lake Visit

Sunday 26th April - the day in the Abington NatureWatch programme that we had planned to visit Lackford Lakes .... plans made prior to the coronavirus 'lock-down', and plans which regrettably but quite correctly were shelved, for now at least.

As we can't actually visit at the moment, the suggestion was that we might have a 'virtual' visit instead - until such time as we are able to get there once again - hopefully in the not too distant future.

So off we go! Meeting at the Visitor's Centre, before a quick nip inside to check the map and sightings board, and to see what's on the feeders - there's usually something there, like a Siskin, or a Robin or a Blue Tit.

Blue Tit

... then it's off to the Winter Hide and a look across the Sailing Lake - always guaranteed to be a few ducks, swans and geese there:

The Sailing Lake from Winter Hide
Tufted Duck
 Canada Goose
 An elegant Mute Swan in the morning sun
Mute Swan
 A Coot creating an impressive 'bow-wave'

Walking alongside the Sailing Lake, there's always the chance of seeing a Water Rail lurking in the reeds, or a Reed Bunting with food for its young, or a pair of Blackcap.

 The normally elusive Water Rail searching for food under the feeders in the frozen reedbed
Male Reed Bunting
Male and female Blackcap

Just a little further on are the hides that overlook The Slough, and - with a little patience - the best chance of seeing a Kingfisher, as well as other birds like Grey Heron, Little Egret and a variety of ducks, geese and waders.

View over The Slough
if you're lucky, they can get really quite close!
... and if you're even luckier, you'll get to see one catch a fish! [photo Derek T]
 Grey Heron and Greylag goose in the morning sun
Grey Heron
 Juvenile Grey Heron
Grey Heron
 Little Egret [photo Barry B]
Something puts up the Gulls...
maybe it was this Canada Goose on the warpath!
the pair of Egyptian Goose are far less excitable
  An Oystercatcher amongst the Tufted Duck and a Teal
 A wonderfully camouflaged Snipe, feeding in the margins, near some resting Shoveler
 The Slough and The Shallows

One of the great features of Lackford Lakes is the variety of habitats in a relatively small area, and just a little further on from The Slough, the path winds through the reeds, then away from the lakes and into the woods.

 A pair of Sedge Warblers courting

In the middle of the woods, there is a 'feeding log' where usually quite shy birds have become accustomed to people being quite close by - and where there's even the chance of seeing a Wood Vole as it dashes out from under the log for food.

A cheeky little Wren
Robin singing
 Marsh Tit
Marsh Tit at the feeding log
and a Nuthatch doing the same.
 Wood Vole

On the far side of the woods we come to a more open area, with smaller lakes surrounded by scrub and reeds - the ideal place to look for damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies on a bright sunny day.

 Four-spotted Chaser
 Common Blue Damselfly
 Common Blue Damselfly
 Common Blue Damselfly
 Banded Demoiselle
  Banded Demoiselle

And then finally, we get to the 'lakes at the end of the path', where there are always a few Cormorant and other birds not seen hitherto.  And from there, we retrace our steps back to the visitors centre, passing a reedbed where, on a hot sunny day, where we may see some lizards basking.

 A trio of Cormorant
 Siskin feeding in the alder
 An Egyptian Goose keeping the golf course lawn tidy

The way back to the visitors centre, passed a large open reedbed

Common Lizards
A group of young Common Lizards
A Common Lizard and a large parasitic wasp
A shy goodbye!

 And that's it - until next time - when we can all get to see this for real!

Based on an idea by Jennifer H.  All wildlife photos taken at Lackford Lakes by Andy M (unless otherwise indicated), and with scenery photos from The Suffolk Wildlife Trust website.

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The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=213774935674882866424.00000111dca2be9f06ab8&z=13>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (amerryweather61@gmail.com)