Monday, 14 September 2015

Lemsford Springs Nature Reserve

Lemsford Springs Nature Reserve - 2nd September 15

Weather: Mix of sun and cloud. Slightly humid.

Bird Total: 28
Plus: Grey Squirrel; Rabbit.
Plus: Black-headed Cardinal Beetle; Crane Fly; Bluebottle; Flesh Fly; Harvestman Spider; Hoverfly; Midge; Nursery Web Spider; Pond Skater.
Plus: Large White, Speckled Wood butterflies.
Plus: Banded Demoiselle, Common Blue damselflies. Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.

Today Barry and I decided to pay our first visit to Lemsford Springs. I had heard some great things about this Reserve and was looking forward to visiting it.

Lemsford Springs is a small nature reserve with an array of habitats: shallow spring-fed lagoons, marsh, willow woodland, hedgerow and meadow. Winter is touted to be the time to come, as I've heard that the lagoons never freeze over. We visited today to get a feel for it. We both came away suitably impressed, giving it a magnanimous 8 out of 10.

A Wood Sandpiper had been reported here recently. Unfortunately, it had either flown or was staying well hidden. However, we did see up to 8 Green Sandpipers, giving me some of the closest views I've ever had of this species.

The Reserve has three Hides, of which we visited two. We also decided to walk the circuit twice, as it only took us 20 minutes to get around. We were also surprisingly delighted by the fact that the sun had decided to grace us with its' presence. The forecast had been for heavy cloud cover for most of the day, with a few fleeting light rain showers.

There seemed to be a lot more bird activity here than we had seen elsewhere, particularly from the passerine sector. Mainly Finches and Tits but we also spotted Grey Wagtail; Blackcap and Chiffchaff. A pair of Jays were a pleasing sight, as was a Little Egret and a Grey Heron. Woodpeckers could be heard around the Reserve, while a Kingfisher flashed past the Hide.

Butterfly species were few and far between today, seeing only Large White and Speckled Wood. However, we saw quite a few Banded Demoiselles, both male and female. Always a joy to see. Dragonflies were unfortunately fairly distant. It wasn't really a day for odonata.

On our second circuit, after lunch, we came across a very mobile Black-headed Cardinal Beetle. A major surprise this late in the season, as they are usually gone by the end of July.

We spent a leisurely and happy 3 or 4 hours here and intend to visit again. Especially as there were no dog-walkers; joggers or cyclists allowed onsite. Probably because we had to obtain a key to get into the Reserve. In fact, we saw only 4 other people in there and two of them were children.

We soon found ourselves enjoying our traditional pint in the local pub, before heading for home.

'I drink to your health when I'm with you. I drink to your health when I'm alone.
I drink to your health so often, I'm starting to worry about my own!'

For more of my photos please visit my Flickr site.