Trip reports

Field Trip - Whisby Nature Park

Willow warbler

Sunday, 20 May 2018

On a beautiful sunny morning with not a cloud in the sky, the group made the short journey to Whisby Nature Park, near Lincoln - driven by Dave, who had previously driven us around on our weekend trip to the Scottish Borders.

Whisby Nature Park was created after quarrying for sand and gravel ceased there, leaving pits and bare sand. Now, the lakes are surrounded by grassland, marsh, scrub and willow carr - in addition to which some remnants of the landscape from before quarrying can be seen including old hedgerows and a small oak woodland.

Whisby Nature Park is well known as stronghold for Nightingales which can be heard singing in spring. However, we were all to be disappointed because no-one on our trip was lucky enough to hear or see a Nightingale. We were told that there were at least three males in the Park which had been both heard and seen just before the day of our trip!

However, several Garden Warblers were seen - including one that was showing well by the railway bridge. Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and a Common Whitethroat were also heard and seen. Other woodland birds seen during the day included Robin, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Chaffinch and assorted tits.

The most ubiquitous birds on the lakes were Black-headed Gulls but two female Mediterranean Gulls were also present as well as two Common Terns. Several duck species were seen including Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveler and Gadwall. Other species seen on or around the lakes included Great-crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Moorhen, Coot and Pied Wagtail.

Rather surprisingly, very few hirundines were seen with a maximum of two Swallows and no House Martins. Only three Swifts were seen throughout the day.

All of us enjoyed the Southern Marsh-orchids, particularly the profusion between the railway track and Grebe Lake. We also had good views of damselflies and darters throughout the visit with butterflies seen including Orange Tip, Small White, Brimstone, Small Copper, Small Blue and Speckled Wood. Others invertebrates included Dark-edged Bee-fly, Red-tailed bumblebee, Four-spotted Chaser and Red-eyed Damselfly. On a larger scale, one member of the group was surprised by a Stoat.

30 people attended
55 bird species seen

Report by Neil Fawson