Thursday, 11 September 2014

First Time to Attenborough Nature Reserve

Oh it was a FAFF this morning. I had the intention of making a really, really early start for my latest 'adventure', but got into a tizzy about an hour's wait at Nottingham for an 8 minute journey.

I toyed with the idea of staying in bed. It was tempting, but then the idea of wasting any holiday time just fills me with guilt. So, decided to train then bus it, and got moving for the next train. I resisted the temptation to give myself a round of applause.

I was heading out on my first trip to Attenborough Nature Reserve. The big one. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's flagship site, 200 odd bird species reported in 2013, and it has a really nice cafe to boot.

If I could find it.

Luckily a reasonably helpful and only slightly crotchety bus driver told me where to get off in Chilwell, a bland suburb of Nottingham in the midst of nicer ones, and I headed down Barton Lane to the reserve as a warm September sun smiled on my enterprise.

It's an impressive site, the beautiful nature centre surrounded by water, the views of the hills marking the Trent Valley, and the fact that there was so much peace and quiet to be found so close to the city, and the railways lines. I was ambitious, I took the four mile Kingfisher Trail and dispensed with my headphones to listen to the coots, whistling grebes with their lovely stripy headed young, and the first singing chiff chaff I've heard in a while. Cormorants draped their wings over their special perches, and here and there a black backed gull stuck out for its size amongst the black head-less black headed gulls now dressed for winter.

Wooded trails followed the course of the lakes, where heron stalked their prey legs entirely submerged in the water and male southern and migrant hawkers engaged in aerial combat even at this late stage of the year. Common darters basked on the path, and I think I saw a solitary black darter as well.

The most curious sight was as I returned back to the nature centre for a cup of tea after a pretty tiring walk round the perimeter of the site. I was surprised to encounter a couple of grey brown birds mooching about on a path, heading in and out of the long grass. At first I thought they were grey partridge, then realised they were much too big, and had a peculiar feather arrangement on their backs that looked almost like porcupine quills.

It transpired they were quail, and I've been involved in discussions whether they, like the barnacle and egyptian geese I saw, were deliberate releases or escapees.

I know the issue of deliberate releases is causing a lot of naturalists a headache, be it birds or butterflies. But it didn't take the shine of what was a pretty decent afternoon out in the last warmth of the season.

Tatty small tortoiseshell, Newark Castle station

Nature overlooked by industry

The nature centre at Attenborough

Canada goose, pre hiss

Barnacle goose

Egyptian goose

Egyptian geese trio

Muscovy duck on its holidays

Immature black headed gull

Vivid common darter, so vivid I wonder if its a ruddy darter


A tunnel in the trees

Juicy hips

Speckled wood

Another ragged speckled wood

One great tit

Two great tits

Quail under my nose

It wouldn't lay me an egg

Bees still busy in the nature garden

No comments:

Post a Comment