A morning birding at Croxall Lakes Nature Reserve

March 13, 2021 by admin

Our Wildlife Recording Volunteers are an enthusiastic bunch, using their local nature reserves for daily exercise and letting us know what they see. One of our group visited Croxall Lakes recently, a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust reserve, and despite the weather, had a successful morning birding!

We set off from the carpark at 08:00 in light rain but by the time we got half way to the first hide were soaked to the skin! Fortunately the rain eased – after an hour! The wind dried us and the sun came out. Sadly not good conditions for birding. There were the usual assortment of Canada Geese and Mallard on the lake, at the car park end, and several Great Crested Grebes further out. Along with the Canadas there were two Oystercatchers on the island (which I managed to get a photograph of on the way back). The rain made it difficult to see much until we got to the river although we spotted a couple of Herons and a few Teal on the Arboretum bank. The Tame was quiet, a couple of Mute swans, more Canadas and Mallard.

In the winter, when doing a Webs survey, we would normally walk diagonally across the meadow to try and flush and get a count of Snipe. But instead, with the onset of the breeding season, we followed the path by the railway bank then along the fence line toward the second hide.

There were Shelduck on the lake, a single Little Grebe and a small group of Redshank on the edge. Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails were busy in the field. The Redshank spotted us early on and quickly disappeared. The Rooks were very active in the Rookery, we reckoned there were at least twenty active nests. We followed the Mease around the back of the wood, hoping to hear Chiffchaffs but no luck! However the Redshank, five of them had returned and landed on one of the little islands in the lake, they weren’t spooked and gave a good view.

Back to the cars under cloudless blue skies (for a while!) Not a huge volume of birds but with thirty-six different species a good morning’s birding.

This is what we saw:

  • Canada Goose – 64 (normally in the hundreds)
  • Mallard – 18
  • Oystercatcher – 2
  • Great Crested Grebe – 5
  • Grey Heron – 2
  • Carrion Crow – 5
  • Wood Pigeon – 3
  • Cormorant – 4 (have seen over 60)
  • Blackbird – 4
  • Teal – 9
  • Chaffinch – 3
  • Dunnock – 2
  • Robin – 4
  • Pied Wagtail – 2
  • Greenfinch – 1
  • Song Thrush – 1
  • Wren – 2
  • Blue Tit – 1
  • Coot – 4
  • Great Tit – 2
  • Black Headed Gull – 3 (again a very low count)
  • Pheasant – 2
  • Greylag Goose – 4
  • Shelduck – 3
  • Meadow Pipit – 5
  • Rook – c60
  • Magpie – 2
  • Reed Bunting – 1
  • Redshank – 5
  • Tufted Duck – 4
  • Little Grebe – 1
  • Mute Swan – 2
  • Stock Dove – 2
  • Jackdaw – 2
  • Lesser Black Backed Gull – 1
  • Bullfinch – 2