Early Autumn at the lakes

hawthorn berries with path

It is now feeling a lot like early autumn out there on the reserve. Signs of early autumn include fruits on the bushes by the paths, late butterflies over the breckland fields, small birds feeding in the bushes, duck numbers slowly building up on the lakes and late dragonflies around our pools / lakes.

It may start slightly chilly in the mornings, but a little bit of sun brings out the butterflies and dragonflies.  As you walk around the trails, look out for the following butterflies – small copper, small heath, brown argus, speckled wood and red admiral.  Our Sayers breck (red) trail is probably the best for butterflies.  For dragonflies, look out for common darter and ruddy darter on fence posts as they often settle there to get the heat from the sun.  Migrant hawker is the big one that you will tend to see around the trails.  Look out also for common blue damselfly and willow emerald damselfly at this time of year.  The blue and green trail by the lakes are probably best for dragonflies and damselflies.

All those berries and fruits on the bushes around the trails give a nice autumn feel to a walk here, and they attract plenty of small insects and birds.  These bushes have been great places to watch many of our smaller birds- look out for blue tits, great tits and long-tailed tits feeding away.  In amongst them you might see some chiffchaffs and blackcaps fuelling up ahead of their long migration south.  Next time you visit, I recommend spending a moment scanning some of the bushes around the reserve as you might see some of these species.  The cleared spot by Double Decker hide can be good for doing this.

Moving to the lakes, we are now starting to see duck numbers increasing with teal, wigeon, gadwall and tufted duck now being seen on the lakes.  Great crested grebes have still got a few youngsters around and you might spot a little grebe too.  Little egrets and grey herons are always worth a look for and the occasional wader like green sandpiper might be spotted on the slough.   Viewpoints currently open for viewing areas of water include Paul's hide (see notice below about hides). Also stop to check the outdoor viewing area next to Pauls hide, the several viewpoints around hawker pool and just past the bench heading towards Derek’s and Stegall’s hide we have a new viewpoint over looking plover lake.

new viewpoint overlooking plover lake

new viewpoint overlooking plover lake

Hide information 

We have now managed to open our first hide – Paul’s hide.  The photo below shows the moment, when Paul (our volunteer and the person this hide is named after) went into the hide to get it ready for our visitors.  As you can see, in only five months, the plants and bugs have started to move in.  We have now cleaned this hide and it is ready for you!

Due to current conditions – we are asking visitors to spend a maximum of 1 hour in this hide.  Numbers will be limited to six people at any one time.  All windows and doors will be kept permanently open to allow air to circulate and we are encouraging visitors to practice good hand-washing and to remain socially distanced.  Also, face coverings should be worn by those who can.

We appreciate your co-operation and hope to tame a few more hides over the coming weeks!

Hide update Sunday 13th September

Bess's hide now open with a limit of four people in this hide.


Paul in Pauls hide

Paul in Pauls hide