Our guide, Warden Grahame Hopwood, was able to tell us about the project management to increase the density of vegetation, particularly Blackthorn, to provide good nesting sites for our target species for the evening - the Nightingale. However, our visit was late in the ‘singing time’ and despite the best efforts of Graham’s ears we only heard Blackcaps, Blackbirds and a Garden warbler calling. We kept reassuring him that we did understand and that we were enjoying the sight of a mass of purple Marsh orchids and an island full of gulls and waders.
In fact the Black-headed gulls were in very good voice, if somewhat raucous! They had fluffy chicks as did the Canada geese but we not sure whether the 3 Mediterranean gulls were nesting or resting. The tiny Great crested grebe chicks spent a lot of time hopping on and off their mother’s back. The gull chicks stayed on land away from the pike which are the primary predators of young and small birds that use the lake.
Apparently the peak time for hearing Nightingales is around St George’s day and at about 8 o’ clock in the morning. Maybe we can organise a trip in mid-April 2016 to listen to these ferocious little birds defending their territories and then have breakfast in the café. RW
Bird list – mostly seen on the island and around the lake near to the Visitors’ Centre: Great crested grebe, Mute swan, Greylag goose, Canada goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted duck, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Mediterranean gull, Black-headed gull, Swift, Swallow, Blackbird, Blackcap, Garden warbler, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Rook, Wood pigeon.