Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Woolhampton Lakes

A return back to a lake I visited just a fortnight ago near to Woolhampton. This time it was in the evening with a group of natural history experts. The area is close to the river Kennet and consists of a number of gravel pits now landscaped as lakes. For a report on what the group found please look here.

Woolhampton view

The lakes had a good range of birds: tufted duck; shelduck; moorhen; canada geese; greylag geese; swans; canada geese etc..

Great crested grebe

The first part of the walk took us past a fast flowing stream, I think somebody said this was Angelica.

Angelica

The most common plant in flower was Comfrey, looking very healthy. The flowers ranging from white to purple.

Comfrey

We were then treated to a fine display of a barn owl flying over a field, backward and forwards until eventually perching right by a road. It then pounced on some prey only to be challenged for its grub by a kestrel and soon after mobbed by two crows. The evening light was a little poor for catching it well on my camera but these shots give some idea of the graceful flight of the bird.

barn owl,flight

barn owl,flight

barn owl,flight

barn owl,perched

Although the focus was on birds there were most of the usual May plants in flower including this Ground Ivy.

Ground Ivy

Another rarity was a pair of Yellow Wagtails foraging for food in a field. This is I believe the male, almost yellow enough to be mistaken for a yellowhammer.

Yellow wagtail

To add to the raptors that were seen three rare migrant Hobbys were seen over the lake in the distant. Far too distant and fleeting for my camera, so this buzzard will have to do.

Buzzard

As the evening gloom descended the wildfowl were best seen in silhouette, including this family of geese and a cormorant in a tree.

Geese

Cormorant

The walk ended at dusk. Fortunately it had stayed dry, despite some earlier rather threatening clouds.

Evening cloud