Trip reports

Mid-week Walk at NT Frensham Little Pond

Mid-week Walk at NT Frensham Little Pond
Peter Hambrook

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Weather: Overcast with a few spots of rain at times. 22C

With more leaders than followers, this walk was unusually lightly attended with just Steve and myself, leader of the weekend walks, Legh, plus John and visitor David, we were a select band. We did the usual clockwise walk, starting off with several reed warblers in the reed bed opposite the boat house, following which we were entertained by a common tern fishing right in front of us, giving David some flying-shot practice with his telephoto lens. We stopped again at the clearing where we saw the male redstart last year and, after a few minutes, got lucky again with a female showing briefly. Out on the lake a great crested grebe was guarding two stripy-headed youngsters, while the occasional swallow did a fly-by. As we moved along the lake shore we came to the two rafts, one of which had the unlikely duo of a mallard and a diminutive common tern on it, while the other had a tufted duck. As we moved away from the lake a red kite flew over being harassed, unusually, by one of the terns, which was proving more effective than the usual corvids.

Coming to a more wooded area, we were surrounded by blackcap song but could we see them - could we heck!  Also singing were several willow warblers and chiffchaffs, one of which gave us a brief glimpse, and wrens were also belting out their songs. Crossing the boardwalk, we came to the open heath with its jumble of dead trees, victims of past fires. These are always worth a scan as they are often used a song-posts or look-outs by the resident birds. Today stonechats, linnets and some of the many skylarks were making use of them, along with a single reed bunting. An unusual sighting in such an open area was a single buck roe deer, apparently not over-concerned by our presence, and it was while watching this that Steve spotted a Dartford warbler, which eventually showed quite well. A cuckoo was heard at some distance over towards the Great Pond and a kestrel was only the second raptor for the day - a very poor showing and not a patch on last year's red-footed falcon.

Heading back towards the lake, we again found reed warblers in the reed beds, along with a beautiful demoiselle damselfly, and a male blackcap was rather more visible than its friends across the lake. Out on the water, black-headed gulls were now on patrol, five Canada geese made a typically noisy arrival, and a grey heron flew across towards a mute swan, whose two cygnets were trying to keep up with mum. In some ways the best was kept for last, as within about 100 yards of the café we noticed a goldcrest feeding in the conifers but returning frequently to a particular low hanging bit of foliage. Careful scrutiny revealed a well-hidden nest tucked away therein - a first for our walks.

All in all a pleasant morning's stroll, with the rain largely holding off and even a hint of sunshine at times.