Trip reports

Mid-week Walk at Moor Green Lakes on 17th January 2019

Mid-week Walk at Moor Green Lakes on 17th January 2019
Goosander pair. (Steve Williams)

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Weather. Sunny with a slight, but cold, breeze.
Moor Green Lakes are restored sand and gravel pits which are now an interesting nature reserve managed by the Moor Green Lakes Group. There is a range of habitats including lakes, woodland, and the River Blackwater passes through it. The site is often highlighted on the Berkshire birds website as interesting species may be seen there.

Twelve of us met in the newly extended car park on a bright morning. Before setting off we watched the activity on the several feeders and saw blue and great tits and a nuthatch. Around the car park and in the neighbouring field we noted goldfinch, blackbird, jackdaw, magpie, woodpigeon and crow. Those arriving early had also seen great spotted woodpecker.

On our way towards the River Blackwater we stopped to survey Colebrook Lake North and recorded heron, little egret, mallard, coot, moorhen, Canada goose, black headed gull and the first of many goosanders. On one of the islands there were lapwings and a few cormorants. From the path we saw a song thrush, and a kestrel and then heard and eventually saw a greenfinch.

Halfway along the path to the river is a second set of feeders and these were popular with tits, robin, chaffinch and a reed bunting. Looking the other way over the newer workings we saw several snipe and a solitary common gull.

On reaching the Blackwater we broke with tradition and turned right towards the newer working where we had been informed a greater scaup had again been sighted. (It had been there for several days but had not been sighted the previous day and we were keen not to miss it). As we turned to follow the river downstream some of the group saw a goldcrest. The scaup was in the company of a pair of pochard and we all had a clear, if distant, view. In the same lake were many teal and tufted ducks. Why these birds should prefer the less well established lake, with the noise and dust of the lorries, over the more mature lakes nearby is anyone's guess.

We then retraced our steps and walked along the riverside path. On Colebrook Lake South there were great crested grebe, mute swan, wigeon, gadwall, shoveler and several more goosander. In the trees alongside the river we have seen siskin and redpoll on previous visits but not on this occasion. We did see a jay in the trees and two noisy Egyptian geese that flew overhead.

On Grove Lake we added little grebe to our list and saw yet more goosander and soaring above, a red kite. Ken then alerted us all to the presence of a peregrine falcon which passed behind the trees before turning and flying directly above our heads allowing us all to get very good views of it. This may have been the reason for the paucity of winter finches in the tree tops.

On our way back to the car park we added lesser black backed gull, grey wagtail, coal tit, and wren to our list. We all heard a green woodpecker and John spotted a redwing in the same spot as we had seen several last year. Our final addition to the day's list was dunnock underneath the feeders. As we neared the cars we saw a solitary roe deer in the grass and reeds off to our left. This brought to a close a pleasant and productive walk on a bright January day.

STEVE WILLIAMS