Well, this week has been a real treat for me in the bird world! A mini marathon biking to three nature parks in three days ensured my heart was full of nature fancies, and I certainly have felt all the better for it. Cloudy days? Drizzly rain? Ice biting cold? It doesn’t matter, January’s wildlife can still put a smile on anybody’s face given the chance.
So in the excitement of coming back up to Nottingham for my final term, I decided to visit as many nature parks that time allowed me this week. These endeavours were partially due to the impatience in wanting to see what these places had on offer this year, and partially to keep my sanity in light of a term filled with lab work. As exciting as my degree is, there is no denying that fruit flies don’t quite hold the charisma of the other animals that I have encountered at home in the past few weeks…
So on our first trip, we set off to Attenborough nature reserve, a beautiful place that has been rejuvenated and revived from a disused quarry pit to one of Nottinghamshire’s proudest nature reserves. Apart from a load of mud, and a fair bit of drizzle, we came across a few stunning birds:
Grebe (I think Slovenian, and know they are found there… but in fear of being quoted as another “hopeful” birder, I will stick with Grebe!)
The next day, off we went again for the next merry trip (when I see we, I speak of myself and my boyfriend, Dan, who remains incredibly cheerful on all these excursions I bring him along to). This time, to Colwick Park on the other side of Nottingham. Reaching this reserve was literally a gasp of fresh air following the sickening petrol-tainted breaths that were drawn along our journey. The birds were another welcome site to see again. What was striking, however, was the contrast in parks… Attenborough had been filled with variety in habitat, and wildlife. Common reeds whisped all along the edges of Attenborough’s waters, and because of it, you could expect to see the biodiversity to accompany the variety of plant life. Here, in comparison, the edges were rubbled with old brick and concrete, and smelly mud. The water here was vast in comparison to any reserve I had visited in Nottingham before, but it was bland, and grey, and that did not just relate to the weather. Something told me here that wildlife management was lacking, but hey, that’s another story to be told another time… dditional species spotted after Attenborough:
Additional species spotted:
Finally, Friday, another grey day I thought to myself as a bleary-eyed coffee was poured and I looked up outside a dirty window. What was that? Sun!? Surely not!? It bloomed and that blue sky shone! Labs were finished at a pace of knots and on my bike I jumped – to the long-missed Wollaton Park. There I spent a good few hours at the lake, just watching, crouching, lying on the muddied grass, but mostly smiling at my luck to be there, in that moment. The peaceful chatter of ducks would be punctuated by chips of a coot and scattered squawks of the gulls in a welcoming chorus that I had longed for.
I sat for half an hour at first, with the Mallards and their part-bred relatives whilst they took the sunny opportunity for a bath. I couldn’t quite make out if the flurries of excitement expressed in the form of wing flapped splashes were in pure enjoyment of the sun kissed water, or as a territorial act. Either way, it was beautiful!
Even the Grey herons were active (which I can promise you is an incredibly rare sight). The males were making their calculated swoops up to the highest branches, carefully retrieving the perfect branch to add to their nests. Even the odd squabble was witnessed from the Heron Siege, what a lucky girl I was! It was like my favourite park in this county had been waiting to welcome me, and perform to the best of their ability on such a beautiful afternoon.
Additional birds sited:
10 additional sightings for week 3
total sightings 2017: 39