Lackford Nature Reserve, September 2014

WATCHING BIRDS SEPTEMBER 2014

A change to the programme saw 8 members of the group walking around the local Suffolk Wildlife Trust Reserve at Lackford. The weather was grey and overcast, despite temperatures around 18C. The photographers amongst us thought the light to be very poor for sharp, contrasting images but this didn’t stop them trying to capture some good shots.

The bird(s) of the day were only spotted after Dave Shearing’s keen hearing identified kingfisher nearby and prompted a search with binoculars. We found a pair of beautifully marked birds close by, resting low down by the water in some willow scrub. These two birds were very obliging and stayed around the whole time we viewed them, whilst the cameras clicked away. Dave skilfully moved interfering foliage from our viewpoint so we could appreciate the beauty before us, with lovely reflections in the water below. They were just magnificent and appreciated by all.

Another good spot was that of a limping fox at the edge of the Slough, seen from the double decker hide. Other sightings included groups of cormorants, coots, and tufted duck, a few pochard, a single adult great crested grebe, and a striped youngster, a majestic grey heron, plus the usual mix of greylag and Canada geese. Jays were much in evidence and chiffchaffs piped their single contact call from the scrub; wren, dunnock and robin were also heard or spotted.

Dave identified the tseep-like call of spotted flycatcher in the willow trees at the car park but none showed themselves, a great pity.

The reserve seemed rather quiet but the previous day of sun had brought out the dragonflies and hobby to prey on them. The volunteers also told us of marsh harrier, buzzard and kestrel over the site but we saw none of those today. The weather can make quite a difference to what is out and about.

Six of us enjoyed a pleasant lunch at the Three Kings at Fornham All Saints, whilst forming an idea of a group trip to Bempton Cliffs in 2015. Something to get excited about for next year.

Peter Heath