Friday, 3 October 2003


My latest birding foray, a week ago now, was to Whisby Nature Park, a superb spot a few miles west of Lincoln. Run by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust it renders volunteers at my local nature park deeply envious. Gravel pits have been managed to produce lake, woodland and health-land habitats, with well tended paths and neatly designed hides (which I wonder might be slightly too small during busier weekends). The centre piece is the marvelous visitor centre with its shop, (internet) cafe and educational displays. Facilities get no better than this.
Incidentally close by is a larger education centre used by schools and colleges, for anybody interested in that it really sounds the business.

As for the wildlife, the birding is excellent with woodpeckers, grebes, gulls, warblers, buntings, waders are all present, I racked up 30 species on what didn't seem an especially remarkable day. Ducks were numerous too, particularly Gadwall and Teal during my visit. The bird of the day was a solitary Little Stint, which is always a nice tick to have. A Pied Wagtail accompanied it offering repeated size comparisons, the Stints really are tiny! One of those wee waders that really awe you when you consider their migrations and habitats, mudflats can be so cold and windy.

I rather wish I was more into butterflies and dragonflies because Whisby is heavy with them, and this in very late September. I do know enough to recognise a Comma when I see one and I saw many, but there were browns and blues as well. I was certainly given a great nudge toward learning more about them.Immediately entering the park there is feeding station with screen to sit behind. It gave the perfect opportunity to cheat ok photographs of familiar birds, in this case a young Great Tit.

The aforementioned Comma.

And perhaps a word of warning. A railway line intersects a portion of the park and having crossed it I noticed something on my hand as I closed the gate. It was a mosquito, not a measly minute gnat, but a big mommy of a mosquito! I've never before seen one in this country, my theory is it's either too cold or they dislike the taste of gravy, anyway it was surprising enough for me to take a picture.
Only later did I read with a small sigh of relief that they pose no threat to public health in Britain, they're more mere curiosity.

All in all a grand day.

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