Life on the Edge

With the cooler weather starting to bite, quite a number of visitors have been seeking temporary refuge at the Center to warm themselves with a beverage from our excellent range available from the coffee machine.   (end of advertisement).

Elsewhere the wildfowl have taken to loafing on the ice sheets around the edges of the lakes rather than bobbing around on the water, it seems they prefer a firm place to stand but with the option of being able to quickly slip into the water if danger threatens.


Teal and wigeon on the ice shelf

Overall there is a nice diversity of different species including teal, wigeon, pochard, shoveler, tufted duck and gadwall out on Ivy Lake, providing a majestic spectacle of wildlife behaviour and an opportunity to hone some identification skills.

The woodland hide is now buzzing with plenty of our tit and finch species, including siskin and good numbers of redpoll and a decent smattering of brambling , in with the numerous chaffinches.  An added feature today was the gradual appearance of a mole hill being thrown up a foot or so from the base of one of the feeder supports.  Now getting to be an almost regular feature of the  Woodland Hide area a buzzard cruised through the open(ish) area to the left of the hide.

Last Saturday we put out some feeders in an area close to the Dockens Water to encourage the birds, especially finches and tits, into this woodland area in advance of the local bird Ringers putting out their mist nets early in the New Year. 


Readers of  early wildlife writers may be familiar with their allusion to what we would now call families and species of animals in terms such as ‘tribes‘ or ‘nations’ . Those of you who   have read my previous postings will know I have a penchant for word play and I was briefly tempted to post an entry last saturday entitled ‘Feeders put out to tempt nation’  — which has an almost familiar ring to it —-but thought better of it!!!!



High l’eau from Blashford

Tern Hide car-park flooded again last night and if the weather prediction for tonight is accurate then it’s unlikely to be open again tomorrow.  Still the bright sunshine of earlier today gave us some wonderful sights of autumn colour against the deceptively tranquil appearance of the settlement pond. The following picture was taken from the path going to the Ivy South Hide.

Autumn colour behind settlement pond

Two things that aren’t  obvious from this picture is that the pond is actually being filled with water running into it from Ivy Lake – it looks so tranquil – and also there is a large raptor in the picture.

I’m personally immensely impressed by human ingenuity and the gadgets and equipment, especially digital camera technology, we now have at our disposal, thanks largely to a huge un-sung coterie of engineers and technologists, without whom this blog wouldn’t be possible and certainly wouldn’t be as colourful. As testament to the power of this I present a picture of the aforementioned raptor, a picture taken with the same camera from the same position using the same lens ( O.K. with a bit of digital ‘zooming’) et voila:-

Buzzard on far side of settlement pond!!

If you look closely at the first picture you may just make out a small lump on the most central tree.

One of the ‘little’ jobs we were attempting today was to clear some of the dirt that had lodged between the boards on a bridge over the Dockens water, it had caused the build up of a large puddle in the heavy rain yesterday. On the way there,  just beyond the Ivy South Hide the path continues on a boardwalk. I suspect there have been times when this has been under water, well today was nearly one of them,

Watery walk on the boardwalk anyone?

Bur of course without the damp we’re not so likely to see the fungi which at this time of year decorate the trees (mostly) with their various arrays of spectacular excrescences and garish colours. Don’t know what they are but they look great.

A bracket fungus

A yellow fungus

That’s probably quite enough on a wet theme so I’ll close with a couple of pictures of some of our regular visitors taking advantage of one of the new feeders that have been put up outside the Woodland Hide and elsewhere.

Coal tit

Great tit