On a day like this when I am writing this, we started with a chilly morning and the robins singing. It is now a nice sunny day with lots of insects still around in the warm corners. The leaves on the trees and bushes are just beginning to change colour. The shrubs have lots of berries on them. This to me is a typical early autumn day with lots to explore at Lackford Lakes.
Early Autumn at the lakes
Autumn insects to look out for. Butterflies at this time of year tend to have a nice brown, red and yellow colours like speckled wood, red admiral and comma. Basking in the sun look out for common darters settled on the fence posts or on the ground whilst overhead a southern hawker or migrant hawker might be patrolling. Look for hoverflies, ivy bees and other insects feeding away.
Small birds are starting to group together and go looking for food in groups. Listen out to parties of long-tailed tits, blue tits and great tits. In amongst them you might still find the odd chiffchaff and blackcap still here as they fuel up ready for the journey back to Africa.
Bird of prey wise in recent weeks, we have seen visits from a few marsh harriers, buzzards, sparrowhawk and kestrel. There is even a few hobby still around feeding on those late dragonflies.
On our lakes, we are starting to see the slow build up of ducks as they arrive to spend the autumn / winter here. Tufted duck and pochard have been noticeable building up. Wigeon keep popping in, with 20 seen this week on the sailing lake. Around the edges of our lakes where a bit of mud is showing look out for snipe as the arrive back to the lakes for the autumn / winter. Lapwing, green sandpiper and redshank have been around too.
The reserve team are now in there autumn cutting mode around the reserve – this will benefit all these ducks and snipe that are now arriving back. They will be carrying out this work over the next few weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Kingfisher wise – it seems that we have had a bit of a poor breeding season for them at the lakes. We are still seeing them daily around the reserve but there is no particular area that is reliable to see them. In the middle of summer, there was at least one group of youngsters seen around the reserve so at least some were successful.
Lastly, I wanted to update you about our swifts. After a bit or a rough start to the season our swifts have successful raised two young from the box with the camera. At least one other box was successful, and another has been occupied by a pair that hopefully will return to nest here next year.