Thirteen of us met in the car park on what turned out to be the first chilly morning of the autumn. The bird feeders had been removed from the car park and so it was very quiet waiting to start the walk. The paddock was similarly empty of any birdlife. As soon as we were underway however, we began to see mixed flocks of Blue Tit, great Tit and Long Tailed Tit busily feeding in the trees. Approaching the lakes there was a mixture of Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Teal, numerous Coot and a single Moorhen out on the water and the islands. Two Mute swans with six fully grown cygnets could be seen.
Turning onto the path beside the Blackwater river to the new workings the recently constructed pathways could be observed, which will eventually be a real addition to the reserve. The various pools along this path contained a Common Sandpiper and a mixture of Black headed Gulls, Canada Geese, Egyptian Geese and Lapwing. There were four Little Grebe here all diving continuously. Eventually we managed to pick out a Snipe and a group of Pochard as well.
More small birds were observed moving through the trees by the path and amongst the Blue Tits were a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest. A Nuthatch could be heard but frustrated us by keeping out of view. Moving further along to Finch Pond and Finch Field the group of Barnacle Geese were grazing in the grass. A single Stonechat was observed and there was a Kestrel perched in a dead tree. As we were watching it a Red Kite appeared and landed in the same tree affording splendid views and creating some panic amongst the nearby Woodpigeons.
Retracing our steps the Kestrel could be seen being mobbed by some Carrion Crows. A group of Skylark could be heard and were seen flying over. A grey Wagtail was then spotted showing off it’s yellow colouration in a puddle by the path. After a quick coffee break the walk towards Grove Lake was very quiet and did not add any new bird species to our list. Having found the right tree that the Tawny Owls have been seen roosting in, we quickly established that they were not at home on this occasion. By the time we returned to the car park the sunshine was providing welcome warmth. We were very content with a total of 40 species seen and 3 heard for the morning.