Trip reports

Mid-week Walk at Moor Green Lakes Thursday 10th December 2020

Mid-week Walk at Moor Green Lakes Thursday 10th December 2020
Goosander (Ron Jackson)

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Weather. Overcast and drizzle
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.

This was our first midweek walk since Farlington Marshes in February and we all agreed it was very nice to get out and see everyone again. Twelve of us met in the car park and having observed the tits, finches and a nuthatch on the feeders and the redwings in the paddock, we set off in two groups of six with the first group being given five minutes start.

Colebrook Lake North had the usual selection of ducks and coots and a Little Egret in the distance. Conditions for birdwatching were far from ideal as there was a fine drizzle and our breath was fogging our eyepieces.
In spite of this Alan spotted a snipe on Tern Island and after a few minutes further investigation we spotted eleven snipe in total. As we watched, a large white bird flew round the back of the island and came to rest half-way down the lake. In flight it looked large enough to be a great white egret and when it landed we could see it had quite an S shaped neck with a kink. Closer examination revealed a dark bill and a plume at the back of its head, so a little egret after all.

On Colebrook Lake South we saw out first goosanders, four females in the distance amongst the usual waterfowl. Moor Green lakes are a very reliable spot for goosander and I don't think we have ever been there in the winter and not seen them. As we were about to turn along the Backwater some of us heard and then saw a hovering goldcrest as it searched for food.

As we reached Grove Lake we were treated to the site of a kingfisher flying low over the water. I think it is hard to see a kingfisher and not to feel better about the world. Overhead there was a flock of around 40 small finches, probably siskin. We hoped to track them down but were not successful. Siskin were seen by some before we set off and by the other group during the walk, but not by me.

Further along the lake Alan spotted a tufted duck with a large white area around its bill. As we pondered tufted or scaup the first group passed us on their return journey and they joined in the deliberations. The final decision was tufted as some had managed to discern a tuft.

On our way back to the car park we spotted a grey wagtail and several large groups of long tailed tits. They must have had a good year. As we neared the car park Geoff messaged to say he had just seen a great white egret over the workings. My count for the morning was 40 species and I missed siskin, lapwing, sparrow hawk and the great white egret which were seen by others. Not a bad count for a dank day in December.
Thanks to everyone who came on the walk and to Ron for his image of the goosander.

The next walk is at Dick Focks Common on the 13th January. Good footwear is essential as it will be wet underfoot.

Steve Williams