Thursday the 1st of March started off with a rosy pink sunrise which by 7am had turned to thick fog, which was slightly annoying as I had planned to go for a walk around Caldecotte Lake. The weather forecast did however predict a pleasant sunny day.
After a leisurely breakfast and attending to a few little jobs that needed doing around the house, I decided that the fog was thinning a little and perhaps I should go anyway, by it was now 10.30am and half the day had already gone.
Arriving at the lake just after 11am I could see that the fog/mist was indeed rising to reveal a bright blue sky and with no wind to speak of the lake was almost flat calm (a change for Caldecotte as it's nearly always windy!!)
First stop was the foot bridge by the car park (were Keith has got the birds well trained!!) and a few handfuls of seed on the handrail soon brought down Reed Buntings, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, Chaffinch, a Robin along with Blackbirds, House Sparrows and a couple of shy Greenfinch.
|Female Reed Bunting|
|Male Reed Bunting|
On to check out Keith's feeders, which were surprisingly quiet with only a couple of Greenfinch, a Robin and two Long Tailed Tits in attendance.
On around the South lake and the first thing that I noticed was that most of the waterfowl were taking it easy and were just 'loafing' around the edges of the lake. Around by the houses two elderly women were feeding a melee of Mallard, Canada Geese, Mute Swans and Black Headed Gulls.
|A Black Headed Gull with it's first sandwich of the day!|
The next thing I came across was rather upsetting, a dead Great Crested Grebe upside down in the water. A length of fishing line could clearly be seen tangled around it's bill!
Cause of death:- CARELESS BLOODY FISHERMEN!!
Next up a dead fish, a Pike, about 12 to18 inches long, in the shallows just past the boathouse.
Onwards and around past the first bird hide were I fed Keith's tame Robin and saw something I'd not seen before, a Dunnock seemed to bury itself down in the leaf litter a proceeded to 'bathe' in just the same way as it would were it having a dust bath, I guess! I would have had some video only the 'wally effect' took over and I forgot to press the record button!! ( It looked good in the viewfinder though, best video ever!)
By now the temperature had risen to a balmy 15*C (59*F) and time was getting on and as I still wanted to go around the South lake I made a quick walk to the road bridge stopping to take this picture across the lake showing the houses (oh to have lots of money!) With Keith's favourite place, the boathouse, in the foreground.
And these of a Mute swan taking to the air...
And this of a cruising Herring Gull (2nd winter....I think?)
The North lake seemed to be very sparse in regard to waterfowl and the reason soon became apparent as I could hear the noise of chain saws and shredding machines in the distance, sure enough just around the corner the 'butchers' (landscapers) will busily hacking down all the bushes. (I won't say any more as it will just turn into a rant!!).
A brisk walk around to the dam and I spotted two Mute Swans having what looked like a fight, although I guess it was just a show of strength as they didn't appear to be inflicting to much damage to each other. The 'fight' went on for the best part of thirty minutes until another male Swan, who had swam the whole width of the lake, just quietly nudged into them whereupon they stopped 'fighting' and swam off in different directions just like two naughty schoolboys that had been told off for fighting in the playground!
I did manage to get most of the action on video apart from the ending when again the 'wally effect' once more prevented me from pressing the record button!!
The only other sightings of note on my walk back to the car were a group of Wigeon in the bay by the houses and the 'resident' Crow with the white wing feathers.
The 'Fight' video.....