Wednesday, 24 September 2014

First Trip to North Muskham Lake

Been planning this adventure for a couple of days, a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserve that is actually nearer than RSPB Langford Lowfields, but has a lot lower profile; for example, I never see any birding reports from there.

The journey out is an unattractive, into the wind slog alongside the old Great North Road, past the suplhuric and sulphidic odours of the now "on campaign" sugar factory and its slurry lakes, past the caravan park, past the bleak fishing lake that was once studded with colourful yachts and under the noisy A1.

(Note to self - always use the more attractive route through South Muskham you found on the way back.)

The lake is at the far end of the river, next to the Trent, and was full of life the moment I went through the gate. The scrubby grass was alive with grasshoppers and middle sized toadlets. Wildflowers brought flashes of colour and even even in the wind the water was like a mirror.

And on that water, there were some ducks (and grebes). Most were the typical mallards and tufted ducks, but with my 16x50s on duty today, I noticed some rather different ducks - glorious golden headed males with scarlet beaks, smart females with black and grey heads. I had no idea what these were, but a quick fiddle with a bird app made me think the only ducks with such a scarlet beak were red crested pochards. Later at home, I confirmed this.

Officially they are quite uncommon, but it seems there are plenty of escapees and feral descendants about, and these 7 or 8 ducks were probably of that nature.

Walking further round, I saw black sheep grazing, and plenty of speckled wood butterflies enjoying the sun.

It is a nice little site, easy to find, and I shall try and wigeon and goosander spot over the winter, I think. It was well worth the 25 minute bike ride.

First view through the trees

white campion type flower

side view

A very late poppy!


Buttercups too!

Pretty but no idea

Viewing platform

Migrant hawker at the water's edge


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