Tuesday, 17 February 2015

College Lake

College Lake was looking beautiful in the sunshine today. As it's half term, the families with children outnumbered the serious birders by about 20 to 1, so we added a bit more chaos to the mix and headed out to see what we could 'spot'.

Looking back at the visitors centre from the hide in the lake

The view from outside the visitors centre

The view from the bat roost
Part of the lake was frozen and there were a lot of gulls standing on the ice. A small gaggle of canada geese were making a terrible racket and lapwings were all over one of the islands in the centre of the lake. We also spotted a cover of coots (yes, I had to look up the collective noun for coots) that were really enjoying the weed in the lake.

2 of the canada geese, with the gulls in the background
Lapwings on an island in the middle of the lake
One of the coots
From the lake, we headed back up to the woods, spotting catkins and some pussy willow that was just starting to open, on the way. In the woods there were lots of snowdrops in flower, as well as a few very pretty aconites.


Pussy willow just starting to open


We spent a few minutes in the hide in the woods, where there were lots of chaffinches, great tits and blue tits. A squirrel appeared for a quick snack, then a great spotted woodpecker stopped briefly on one of the feeders, before disappearing up a tree.


The view from the hide in the woods

Great spotted woodpecker

Heading off up a tree
Then we moved down to the barn, where you can sit indoors and watch the birds on the feeders. Again there were lots of chaffinches, great tits and blue tits, as well as several robins. Then we spotted what at first we thought were sparrows, but we looked closer and saw they were reed buntings. A new bird for us, so quite exciting!

Female reed bunting

Male reed bunting

A robin, posing in the sunshine
Back along the trail through the woods and we found some jelly ear fungus, lovely lichen and several types of moss (I've had a go at naming them, but could well have got it wrong!)

Jelly ear - you can really see where it gets its name from!

Lovely lichen

Lichen that looks like little barnacles

Neat feather moss

Common feather moss

Wood bristle moss

Capillary thread moss
It was a lovely morning - the sun was shining, the kids were having fun and using up some of their energy.


  1. As far as I can tell, all the gulls are black-headed gulls. A bit distant to I.D any others I'm afraid.

  2. Now check my mosses out on my blog lol

  3. Thanks Sean - they were a long way off. Funny though that I'd just said we hardly ever see gulls here, then there were loads of them standing on the ice on a lake!