Personal musings, wanderings and sightings from around the lake.
A little history, and about the lake, at the bottom of the page.


Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Where has all the water gone?

A bit of a shock this morning to see the water level dropped at the lake, by at least two feet.

I walked the north lake first, after topping up the feeders. The squirrel continues to wreak havoc on some feeders, unfortunately.
Under the road bridge, a Grey Wagtail was foraging in the new lakeside muddy shallows.

A small group of Siskins were a good sight to see, but the main concern this morning, was the big drop in water levels overnight. A lot of people stopped to ask me if I knew the reason why.

I decided I'd ring the Parks Trust at 9 a.m.

Up at the weir, the water was gushing quite a bit, and the level of the river beyond the weir, was very low.
I decided maybe Anglian Water had opened the sluice gate, to draw some water from the lake, to the river. It seemed a reasonable explanation to me, but I decided I'd still ring the Parks Trust anyway.
Wouldn't want Caldecotte Lake, to become Caldecotte Puddle in a few days.

On round the south lake, and my Crows were happily escorting me on my way.

At the far end, the low level of water had created something I've always felt this lake had lacked. And in the perfect place too.

 A Wader scrape.

Filled with mainly Black-headed Gulls at the moment, but I'm sure something of a permanent nature would certainly bring in plenty of birds.

I rang the Parks Trust.

"Morning, Parks Trust."
"Morning, I'm at Caldecotte Lake, and.........."
"Yes, the water level is low. We've had a few calls."
"Do you know why?"
"No, but we are looking into it."

I suggested they try Anglian Water, since it seemed the water was being drawn from the lake, into the river.
I was thanked for my call; end of conversation.

This Heron seemed rather bemused by the whole thing, and was content to observe from a high vantage point, in the trees.

Back at the car park, a quick check on the feeders;

 very busy, and then home.

I do hope they turn the tap off soon. Caldecotte Puddle doesn't sound quite right.

Full list of today's sightings

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia 'feral')
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
British Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major anglicus)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Eurasian Jackdaw [sp] (Corvus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
British Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs gengleri)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total species  38


An update on the situation. 

After a text from a local birder at about 3:30 p.m. that there was a Great Northern Diver spotted at the north lake, I made my way there in search of it. Found it, but the light was pretty dire by the time I got there.

I also got a phone call from Dawn, at the Parks Trust, to let me know the reason for the low water level.
It seems the computerised sluice system malfunctioned, and kept the gate open overnight. It's been fixed now, but the water levels will take some time to get back to normal.


  1. Keith, that's a hell of a lot of water to lose overnight... if it carries on at that rate the lake will be dry by tomorrow!! The 'wader scrape' looks good though, can we keep it?

    And I can see a new double act on the horizon 'Keith and his laughing duck'....[;o)

  2. Well that is a mystery.
    It'll sort out the boatpeople and Tesco will be able to get their trolleys back and the parks people their benches. The birds are all getting a good feed.

  3. I hope they haven't left the taps on, I do hope that you will tell us.

  4. Low water is great for the shore birds. Looks to have been a good morning.

  5. Low water is great for the shore birds. Looks to have been a good morning.

  6. Thanks Trevor.
    Just done an update on the situation.
    Computer left the sluice gate open. All fixed now.
    Great Northern Diver spotted there late this afternoon.

    Thanks Adrian. Mystery has been solved.
    Maybe the boat people will have to find something else to do till it rains.

    Cheers Bob. It's all fixed now. The sluice gate got stuck open.

    Thanks Dale. Yea, hopefully the low water might bring some extra birds in.

  7. So it's absolutely nothing to do with the story on the news today about Anglian Water seeking permission to abstract more water from rivers for their reservoirs? Well, that's a relief!

  8. I read today Graeme, that Anglian Water wanted to extract extra water from the River Nene to replenish Pitsford Reservoir.
    The story I got from Parks Trust, was regarding a malfunction with the sluice gate.
    Whatever the reason for the water loss, the lake is down at least 2'.
    Going to need rain of biblical proportions to get it back to normal again.

  9. Keith it took a few months for Haydn's Pool to evaporate this year and it's only a man made scrape that relies on rainfall (and local business to fund pumping water up from the river 40ft below which has just happened to restored it).
    Two feet overnight is a massive amount of water.. don't the authorities talk to each other?

    Just had a think about that last remark... probably not.

  10. Thanks Andrew.
    I hope that there is nothing too sinister in all this. For a moment I did wonder if the lake was to be drained for building on.
    Then I thought, nah.
    Then I thought, nothing surprises me these days.

  11. As I was reading through I first thought it was Anglia Water as I saw a news item today that they have started pumping water from some rivers to top up reservoirs because of the lack of rain this Autumn.

  12. I read that too John; although much later in the day. It said they were seeking permission to do it first.

    Now, Caldecotte is a balancing lake, but surely they wouldn't jump the gun like that? Or accidentally leave the sluice gate open?

  13. Well Im glad you got the answer Amazing the lake could have been drained OMG that would be awful for all the wildlife that depends on it..
    SO cool you saw the "loon" they are awesome birds..

  14. Computers, one can never them!

    Lovely photos :)

  15. Thanks Sondra. Yea, like you say, it could have been a real tragedy.
    The Loon, is a fabulous bird; still there today.

    Thanks Gemel. Computers can be a real pain...but I'd be lost without mine lol