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

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sunday 16th June 2013

A sunny morning, with a breeze.

It's been a bit of a gap since I last posted, and I've noticed a few changes round the lake. The grass in front of the car park has grown a lot. As tall as me almost, in some places; but that's a good thing. It's a great haunt for Butterflies, Damsels, Dragons, and a host of other insects, as well as the wide range of plants.
Well done to the Parks Trust for leaving areas like this to do its own thing.

Lots of Swifts flying overhead this morning, and further round the lake, even more over the water.

A few Mallards met me under the road bridge, and then I made my way round the north lake.
I've a favourite spot where I stand when the Swifts are in force, and just let them rush past. They really are masters of the air. It amazes me how they manage to pass so close; even hearing the 'whoosh' of their wings as they rush by.

Up towards the top end, I noticed a pair of Crows feasting on a carcass.
When I got closer, I could see it was a headless Canada Goose; a few feathers nearby.
Also the remains of a headless smaller white bird, probably a Mallard.
Would a fox kill a bird like this? Take the head, and then leave the body? I'm guessing yes.

Around past the wall of the dam, and a Common Tern was busily chasing of a couple of gulls. I think they may have finally laid eggs on the boat, and as I got further round, one of the Terns was sitting tight in one spot. Seems a little late to me.

Up by the gully, one of the Mute Swans was proudly showing off her four cygnets.

 They've grown a lot now.

Onto the south lake, and the grass at the edges of the lake, and alongside the river, will soon be a mass of wild flowers, and colour.

At the far end, finally the Orchids are showing.

At least half a dozen, they seem to have appeared in the last few days.

On round to the 'tree'.

Every year a particular pair of trees, (and others), become the attraction of the Bird Cherry Ermine Moth.
It's caterpillars, (and there are thousands), are surrounded in a silk, that covers the whole tree.

When they hatch out, they completely defoliate the tree.

At first look, you could easily think the tree is dead, but by some miracle of nature, it recovers, ready to play host to this amazing phenomenon the next year.
I guess a lot of the caterpillars become victims of hungry birds.

 This Long Tailed Tit seems to have one in its grasp.

The survivors, eventually turn into a small white moth, with black spots.

Down past the rowing club, and a few boats were now out on the water.
Two groups of Mallards were on the water too; one family of eight ducklings, included a yellow one.

He or she, if it survives, will eventually grow into a white Mallard.

A quick look through the long grass by the car park before I left, and clouds of Damselflies were beginning to come to life for the day.

Any Odonata experts could maybe help with ID's here.

For now, they will be Common Blue.

Another great visit.

Full list of today's sightings

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
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)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
British Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argenteus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia 'feral')
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus obscurus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
British Jay (Garrulus glandarius rufitergum)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
British Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs gengleri)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total species  36


  1. Excellent post and video Keith. (it must be a miracle!!)

    All the wild flowers and greenery are looking spectacular now, good to see some Orchids, at last!

    Don't know about those kills, why would a Fox do that and only take the (two) heads?

    It's amazing how that tree recovers every year just to play host those caterpillars.
    It reckon the first Damselfly is a female Red-eyed and the other is, as you say, a Common Blue.

    Oh! and I forgot the Swifts...Brilliant!...[;o)

  2. Yea, praise go to someone lol
    I couldn't believe it when I saw the Orchids. Couple of days ago they weren't there, I'm sure.
    Those kills certainly are a mystery; and both close together.
    Cheers for the ID.

  3. Hi Keith...Oh my but those Orchids are just gorgeous, I wonder how many people actually see the beauty that is around them !!
    I like that Blue damselfly, but your can keep those creepy worm shot's..yikes!!
    I as watching Swift's fly over head last even while I was riding the lawn mower , no I didn't hit any trees haha!!
    Nice video very enjoyable!!

  4. Thanks Grace. Everyone I've told who walks round here about them, never knew they were here. Amazing.

  5. I love swifts too, its amazing to watch them I like the tall grass hope they leave it to go to seed too...
    the swans, and ducks look great...I wonder if it is a fox that has killed the goose?
    Love the orchids...Glad you found them! IT is magic.

  6. Thanks Sondra. The grass alongside the river, is usually cut about August, and used for hay. Nearer the lake edges, it's left a bit longer before it's cut.
    My thoughts were a fox being the culprit, but it was strange that 2 birds were so close, and seemingly killed the same way. A mystery.

  7. HI Keith Once again an enjoyable walk around the lake with you. I do love the video although those caterpillars made me squirm but I am sure the birds loved them. It is a puzzle about he 2 dead birds but a fox could have done it because if one gets into a chicken run, it will kill many birds at a time. Nice to see the Orchids. There were masses of them on Rathlin Island (will show those when I finish the Copeland posts). All in all, an excellent post. Have a good week. Margaret

  8. Margaret, thank you.It's always great to see the Orchids that grow here. They seem to have been a long time coming this year though.

  9. Lovely, dragons and orchids, beautiful.