Dawn Chorus & Deeping Lakes 05/05/2019
Some of us started the day very (very) early, to celebrate Dawn Chorus Day. We met at The Shrubberies, a tiny Lincs Wildlife Trust reserve off Garnsgate Road, Long Sutton, and had the place to ourselves – apart from a neighbour enjoying a crack o’dawn cuppa in his garden next door.
We were SO well rewarded for our heroically early stumble from warm beds. Wee, feathery songsters were already up and about, and a glorious trilling, pip-pipping and flutey melodiousness filled the air around us. We stood with upturned faces letting it wash over us, occasionally congratulating ourselves simply for being there.
As the performance came to a close we headed back to our cars, as we had another appointment to keep, this time with full English breakfasts at the Anglia Motel. Here we met the main contingent of the Bird Watching group. Yes, the ones who eschewed an early emergence from their duvets. Boy, did we go on about what they missed! Breakfast was huge and satisfying, and set us all up for the next part of our day – a visit to Deeping Lakes.
Group member Jonathan was our in-house guide for this visit, as he knows Deeping Lakes really well. It’s a great place for birders, even though it has no loos or visitor centre. Jonathan took us on an easy walk through the woods, around the lakes, into the hides and then up onto the riverbank.
I had hoped to see bullfinches, which I know hang out there, but they were keeping themselves to themselves. However, there was much to make up for the absence of their puffed-up rosy-chests.
The highlight for most of us was a cattle egret, a slightly smaller and more hunched version of the little egret, with gingery feathers on crest and breast. Cattle egrets can also be identified by their greyish/yellow legs and yellow beak, compared to the black legs/yellow feet and black beak of the little variety.
Equally fascinating were the amorous activities of a pair of black-headed gulls, immodestly performing on a grassy islet right in front of our viewing screen. Voyeurs? Us?
Once we had gathered back in the car park, we had a surprise for one of our members before we set off for afternoon tea in Crowland. It was Group Leader Mike’s birthday a couple of days previously, and Lesley F had baked him a cake. We must have made an odd picture, standing around in a car park, eating cake with plastic forks. Not that we cared. It was a scrummy cake, and a really nice thought, but that’s the kind of people we have in our group!