On Saturday we had arranged to meet some friends that we met in Sri Lanka last year. The chosen venue was the Attenborough Nature Reserve (Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust). We had been trying to get together for ages and finally managed it.
It was great to see Wendy & Tim again and have a proper catch up instead of swapping emails. With the added bonus of being on a nature reserve as well!
This was our first visit to the reserve, which is pretty extensive and has a good variety of habitats, so anything was on the cards. We really liked the layout with lots of good walks it also has a very good Visitor Centre with shop and cafe. The weather was glorious, but the only down side was that with the weather being great and being not far from Nottingham City Centre it was packed! People, Dogs and Bikes everywhere, this meant that the hides were very busy and quite noisy when one is used to the more sedate hides at Upton or most RSPB hides for that matter. So as a general bit of advice if you want to visit I would suggest avoiding the weekends. We elected to take a circular walk around the reserve, in our case we chose a 3 mile walk.
The start of the walk produced our first Willow Warbler for the year, followed quickly by a Chiffchaff, so a good start, a Dunnock in excellent voice gave me our first photo opportunity:
The lakes seemed to lack variety, but we picked up Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Teal Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen and so many Great Crested Grebes they were impossible to count:
As we continued the path led us between one of the lakes and the River Trent, this is where most of the Greylags were congregating, but we did spot a Common Sandpiper on the river bank, again a distant photo:
The reserve boasts a Heronry, that we didn't find, but did see plenty of Herons about as we walked. The next highlight was a Sparrowhawk whistling over our heads which was a bonus.
We eventually made it back to the Visitor Centre where we encountered what was for me the highlight of the day, 3 Red Crested Pochard, this was only our second ever sighting, the first being in Norfolk last year and at some distance, this was a little closer:
Suitably refreshed we set out again for another slightly shorter walk past the sailing club, looping around back to the Trent, just after we set off, a Middle Eastern Surprise in the form of 2 Egyptian Geese:
We finally ended back at the Car Park (£1.50 all day and entrance to the reserve is free), found a bench and had a a final cup of tea and a chat before heading home.
The last additions here was a solitary Gadwall gliding past, some Long Tailed Tit and a Song Thrush going through its full glorious repertoire! Our total count for the afternoon was 40 species, but this included 10 year ticks, so that was fabulous.
Finally thanks to Wendy & Tim for a great day out and looking forward to meeting up again.