A wintery wildlife atmosphere

Sailing lake - Early December 2019

There have been quite a few frosts in the last few weeks indicating that we have now moved into winter at the lakes. The ducks on the lakes, the small birds feeding constantly by our trails and the gulls arriving to roost on the sailing lake at the end of a winter’s day all form part of that winter wildlife atmosphere around Lackford Lakes.

It is now quite busy with ducks on our lakes – particularly on the sailing lake where counts of 70+ wigeon, 60+ gadwall, 80+tufted duck and 50+ coot have been present on most days so it is always worth stopping for a moment on the path by the sailing lake to look at all these ducks in different colours and shapes.  The slough is also a very busy place for ducks with hundreds of teal and quite a few shoveler too.  The goldeneye are now back at the opposite end of the reserve on their favourite pool (hawker pool).  One little grebe has taken a liking to the pool in front of Bernard’s hide.

lots of teal

Teal at Lackford Lakes

The slough is also good for lapwing on the islands and if you look closely you could find snipe hiding in the vegetation around the edge of the water.

lapwing

lapwing

Another aspect of winter is the groups of small birds that are constantly feeding around the trails and at the feeders in front of the centre.  We have now started seeing a few siskin and the odd redpoll around.  These join our other birds like long-tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch and goldfinch.  In amongst these groups of birds there have been a few goldcrests to look out for and if you head to ash carr – the nuthatch and treecreeper can be found there too.   Just this morning we spotted 10 bullfinches at the start of Sayer’s Breck trail (red trail) so hopefully these will stay the winter with us.

bullfinch

bullfinch

Then at the end of a winters day, you can watch thousands of gulls arriving to roost on the sailing lake or the much smaller reed buntings diving into the reeds to spend the night.

We are still waiting for starlings to roost in the reeds in front the centre this year but there may be signs of things to change with up to 100 of them going in last night to spend the night in the reeds.  We will update over the next few weeks if numbers were to build to a reasonable level that it is worth watching.