Trip reports

Field Trip to Lamby Lake and Hendre Lake

Field Trip to Lamby Lake and Hendre Lake
Angharad Jones

Sunday, 8 February 2015

It was a very cold morning and I had to scrap the ice off the car windscreen. It was sunny on the way to Lamby Lake, however it was very foggy when I got there and you could just about see the lake through the fog.

As everyone arrived, ten of us in all, the fog started to clear and the sun was trying to shine through. The first bird that we noted was a pied wagtail near the car park. We stayed at the eastern side of the lake and made our way through the reeds where we had clear views of male and female reed buntings on the reed tops, feeding on seeds. As we crossed the wooden bridge over the lake we saw mute swans gliding towards us through the clearing mist which was very atmospheric.

On the lake we spotted canada geese, moorhens, coots, tufted ducks and also male and female mallards doing their impression of Torvill and Dean as they slid on the ice on the lake. There was also a large flock of mainly black-headed gulls standing forlornly on the ice. Among them were two second winter common gulls with their greenish-yellow legs, herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls.

As we entered the wooded area we had splendid views of a male bullfinch with its pinkish-red breast. Also present in the bushes were three greenfinches, which is an unusual sight these days with the decline of the greenfinch population. Other birds that we saw in the scrub and bushes were blue tit, great tit, dunnock, robin and blackbird.

House sparrows had taken up residence in the nest boxes that were on the factory building wall that we passed, as well as chiffchaff flitting in the bushes.

We continued on to the western side of the lake to the river Rhymney, by then the fog had completely lifted. On our way we noted a grey heron in flight and about ten goldfinches feeding off the teasels, their red faces and yellow wing patches resplendent in the low winter sunlight. On the mud banks of the river red shank were feeding in the mud with teal on the water. Oystercatcher were seen further up river. Returning to the car park we noted a pair of great crested grebe moving majestically on the lake. We then drove the short distance to Hendre Lake.

At Hendre Lake we saw a lot of the same bird species already mentioned. The group had good views of a female kingfisher perched on an overhanging branch at the water's edge and a pair of grey heron flying over the lake.

There was an unfamiliar shape on the island in the centre of the lake and after using our telescopes and talking to some local people it turned out to be a large dead carp!

Finally we drove to Forest Farm where we had splendid views of a little bunting feeding on the ground among male and female reed buntings, which was a first sighting for most of us. Usually the little bunting nests in Russia and Scandinavia and then migrates to Asia for the winter.

This was a real bonus to end a very enjoyable field trip with a total of thirty five bird species sighted.

-Viv Jenkins