"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Brief Visit to Middleton Lakes

I paid a quick visit to the RSPB reserve at Middleton Lakes in the Tame Valley yesterday afternoon.

The herony was a hive of activity - I counted at least 14 nests. The feeding station was full of birds - chaffinches, blue, great and coal tits, blackbirds, dunnocks, house sparrows, greenfinches, goldfinches, robins and a reed bunting.

As I walked through Mill Plantation Wood there were lots of chaffinches, robins and blackbirds and a flock of long-tailed tit were feeding near a small reed fringed pool. Dandelions and lots of dog's mercury in flower and from the amount of bluebell leaves shooting through there will a good bluebell display in a few months time. The rookery in the wood was very noisy with several birds bringing in twigs and sticks to add to the nests.

I didn't have time to look round Fisher's Mill meadow or do the whole wetland trail but the first pool after Fisher's Mill Bridge had mallard, canada goose, coot, mute swan, black headed gull, tufted duck, lapwing and shoveler.

When I arrived back at the car park there were several pheasants nearby and dozens of redwing feeing on pasture as I drove out.

I managed to see 26 species in an hour and a quarter and greenfinch, reed bunting, lapwing and shoveler were new species for the year. Sorry no photos - it started to rain as I arrived at the car park! One of these days I will get some more photos of this reserve although I think bird pictures are unlikely as the birds are just too far away. Hopefully, they will build a hide there soon which might make photography easier.

Here at home - saw my first bumble bee of the year today but it whizzed past the kitchen window so fast I couldn't tell which species it was. After chasing away other robins who tried to intrude on his/her territory over the winter the resident garden robin has now paired up with a female as two birds were feeding amicably together today.


Pete said...

saw my first bumble today!!

and still not seen a Reed Bunting this year!!

Ragged Robin said...

Pete - I think the warm weather is bringing he bumbles out - spring is on its way!

I was amazed I hadn't seen a greenfinch until yesterday but we haven't yet had one in the garden this year. They have become scarce - hope its not due to trichomonosis although I didn't see any infected birds last year.

Toffeeapple said...

That's a lovely lot of birds that you saw.

I had a Buff-tailed Bumble head-butting my window a day or so ago, it seemed to be enormous.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - The bumbles do look big at this time of year and, as you say, often seem intent on trying to break through window glass!

Tricia said...

We saw a bee on Saturday and I'm convinced it was a queen bee from the size alone... love to see it whichever it was :D

Ragged Robin said...

The queens are massive Tricia and yes its great to see the insect life returning - Spring is nearly here :D. Hoping to see a butterfly soon!