Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Waterside Wander.

 
A mid morning stroll at Riverside Country Park on another very breezy day started with a scan across the water meadows but apart from Grey Herons, Canada and Egyptian Geese feeding in the distance there appeared to be very little other avian activity apart from a Grey Wagtail calling on the other side of the weir.

   A male Mallard emerged from the waterside vegetation and decided to swim away! 

A little further along the towpath a Cormorant rested high above the water. I then took the pathway towards the main lake and noted that a pair of Common Terns had recently returned to the raft and will hopefully breed unmolested by the Canada Geese. A Reed Warbler was perched deep within a willow, constantly emitting its rhythmic song with nearby Blackcap, Wren and Chiffchaff also calling from their hiding places.

Two families of Canada Geese had obviously been out of the water, feeding alongside the path, but the bank-side low retaining fence was a barrier to their route back onto the lake. Fortunately one of the adults realised that there was a gap (out of view in this picture) and they all eventually made it to the other side.


 A nearby Coot also watched all the antics but was obviously unimpressed.

The next part of my route took me away from the lake across the adjoining wet marsh onto the new boardwalk which was erected over the winter months by the local Council. I am told that the original estimate was £60 - £80,000 but actually the final cost was three times this figure! A number of local residents and wildlife watchers that I met questioned the validity of the eventual cost and whether it needed to be so elaborate ..... only time will tell.

It has taken just over three years for the old 'simple' boardwalk to be replaced and now includes a number of seating areas and a viewing screen overlooking a small pool within the damp wooded area. 

Whilst this hide or viewing screen has been expertly constructed with seating and murals depicting the local wildlife ... the portholes, from my point of view, are not very friendly, being far too small and provide a very restricted view. Having said this on the three occasions I have visited recently there hasn't been any wildlife to watch on the other side of this barrier!

I have mentioned this before in recent post but one certain reason for the apparent lack of avian activity is, in my opinion, down to the lack of insects due to the lower temperatures. 

My footsteps onwards across the snaking boardwalk eventually led me to the Wey Navigation Lock where I sat in front of the house watching a female Blackcap and Chaffinch imitating a flycatcher's method of catching  flies over the water surface with a few Swifts circling overhead. Below the lock and close to the water outflow I spotted a couple of juvenile Grey Wagtails patiently waiting for the parents to bring them food. They were well hidden by the leafy overhanging branches so I waited hoping that an adult might appear and eventually one stopped reasonably close by.

 Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

As I had been out for over two hours and a visitor was expected it was time to head for home via the towpath serenaded by numerous Blackcaps singing from their hidden perches. FAB.

28 comments:

  1. A pretty hide to look at, but it doesn't seem very practical Frank. I think someone in an office dreamed that one up, to use up a surplus of money.

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    1. I agree Keith. I think they let their imagination run riot!

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  2. fabulous walk Frank! Very productive; great photos; loved the goslings especially. That boardwalk is really great

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    1. Thanks Carol M. Yes, makes a change from wearing waders to cross the marsh ..lol.

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  3. A lovely narrative of your walk Frank.

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  4. the portholes are definitely a unique design for a hide. loved the goslings.

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    1. Theresa .. Very novel idea but not practicable for us taller individuals.

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  5. Wow!...that's some boardwalk Frank!! Someone in the design and planning department seems to have got a little over enthusiastic, I hope there's some money left over for the important work that always needs doing to look after the wildlife and it's habitat? I hope too that it's vandal proof?

    Glad to see the Goslings made it out onto the water...[;o)

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    1. Trevor. Only time will tell ... I won't be surprised to see a fire-pit in the hide one day!!

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  6. Looks like a great place to visit.
    John.

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    1. Cheers John. It will be better once the vegetation recovers from the construction work.

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  7. Beautiful post! Love that Cormorant. Ours are different looking than that one.

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  8. Great cormant capture!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  9. Looks like a great walk Frank. I agree the boardwalk looks great but perhaps a little elaborate given the current economy.

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  10. Lovely post and a beautiful place to walk. The benches and hide are pretty. I love the cute Wagtail. Great shots and post.

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    1. Thanks Eileen. The boardwalk and benches are far more 'up market' than most of the sites I visit.

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  11. Your descriptions and photos show a very lovely walk with just enough birds to make it interesting. Too bad about the hide - I wish someone would come up with a really great design.

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  12. This was a great walk with interesting critters to see. The walk will be well worth it.

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    1. Thanks Red. I will be going back during the Summer to see how it has developed.

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  13. Oh lovely pond views, love the geese and goslings!

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    1. Thanks Karen. The fluffy ones are always fun to watch.

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  14. We need those quiet days now and then to really appreciate it when the birds are more varied and numerous. Looks like a gorgeous place.

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    1. Ken, the specie numbers seem to be down on last year and definitely caused by the poor weather conditions. We now need plenty of sunshine to help the breeding along.

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  15. I wonder if there has been any local or central government work done which has come in on or below estimate. They just seem to pluck any round figure out of the air.

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    1. Midmarsh John. I very much doubt it. The locals certainly aren't very happy about the final cost! However if it encourages the young to get into wildlife it might just be worth it.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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