© Andrew Moon

Three of us this year gathered on the causeway at half past eight for a walk round the lake. The weather was cold and gloomy, far from ideal for our task and about as different from last year as you can get. The recent cool weather had again slowed leaf growth making seeing the birds a bit easier than in some years. We saw most of the expected birds. There were swallows, house martins and swifts in quite good numbers over Stocker's and Bury lakes No woodpeckers, reed bunting or house sparrows though.

Anna Marret and I spent our afternoon on the canal side of the reserve armed with Anna’s telescope trained on the heron and egret nests on the islands on the opposite side of the lake.

Like last year the weather was cool damp and grey with mist and very fine drizzle thrown in. The party this year numbered just 4. Clearly the weather had put people off. Again, without some really cold weather bird numbers were fairly low.

It rained throughout our walk this year. So we limited the walk to the canal side. The light was poor which made spotting and identifying the birds tricky but it has to be said it was several degrees above freezing so not too cold. That meant that while there were good numbers of birds on the lake, there were very few to be seen in the trees. And so, the six of us set off. We saw all but one of the species we heard and ended with a tally of 28 species (10 down on last year) so better than we feared.

Ten of us met at the causeway on a cloudy but warm day. We hoped the sun would break through the clouds. A slightly disappointing start as there were not a lot of flowers in bloom excepting the hemp agrimony and buddleia, but the walk turned into a real team event with the sighting of a large dragonfly flying near and then landing on the buddleia near the pumping station. With the aid of a good zoom lens on Cliff Buckton’s camera a female southern hawker was identified after eliminating it as a possible emperor.

Following a somewhat damp week Sunday 26th was a dry, warm day, perfect for the walk to look at the wild flowers around the Reserve. A small, group met on the causeway. I talked briefly about the type of plants to expect to see growing on unimproved neutral soil.