Flowering Rush (Photo © Martin Kincaid)
This walk focused on the North part of Willen Lake, which is managed by The Parks Trust to encourage wildlife.
Starting at the Willen Sports Pavilion car park we began by going through the churchyard. We did not have a sunny evening, with a storm forecasted and very dark clouds looming. This meant that visibility was not great. However we did not experience much rain, which was helpful for us but perhaps not for the low water level and dry soil.
On the lake, there were plenty of Great Crested Grebes visible, including one on a nest, a juvenile and two who were doing a rather late courtship dance. Three Common Tern were flying over the lake along with a Cormorant. Two Little Egrets were spotted and two Heron. A highlight of the walk were the two Tufted Duck families. One had very young chicks who were very difficult to count as they were diving underwater – we think there were around seven, which is a good count. A Migrant Hawker Dragonfly was spotted flying low over the reeds and there was also a low flying Sparrowhawk. As we moved around the lake towards the bird hide, we crossed over the bridge to see Flowering Rush Butomus umbellatus, which has umbrella-like clusters of flowers and twisted grass-like foliage.
From the bird hide, not much was visible due to high reeds and the heavy clouds. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of some waders as there had been plenty seen over the previous few days, but we were unlucky. As we moved around the lake the clouds loomed. Near the car park we were lucky to spot a Bat and shortly after, with the aid of a bat detector, we identified both a Common Pipistrelle and a Noctule. It was a lovely walk and a great turnout of members.