Heslington Lake in April/May

As mentioned yesterday, these next two posts are really summaries of Spring as I can’t remember where we were with the specifics!

On the lakes at work we are now deep into breeding season for the waterfowl that are partaking, and ducklings, goslings, and cootlings abound.

With them comes aggression, and the Coots in particular have stepped up their campaign of terror, with no duck, goose, or human being truly safe from these red-eyed lunatics.

I broke my own rule about non-intervention the other day. The coots are not really murderous, they just want the water to themselves. But a moorhen they had targeted was so badly pecked and beaten that it just couldn’t find the energy to haul itself onto the bank. This just infuriated the coots, which attacked it even more viciously. So I stepped in, shooed the coots away, and hauled the traumatised moorhen out onto the bank, sitting it near its mate.

A moorhen in happier times

Elsewhere the Mute Swans, despite three half-hearted attempts at nest-building, have not settled down. No have the grebes really returned, bar the odd solitary appearance. The eight Pochard remain present, but spend much of their time lounging about asleep.

In happier news, the Swallows, House Martins and Swifts have all returned and on drizzly days can be watched swooping low over the lake.

The bits of wood around the lakes are home to an abundance of warblers, and I cannot recall hearing so many Blackcap at any point in the past. They are almost becoming more ubiquitous than the Chiffchaffs!

Rare appearance by a grebe

Not sighted so far this year is the Kestrel who was such a daily part of my life last year. Hopefully he is around somewhere.

The rabbits have bred like, well, rabbits, and there are plenty of ‘baby bunnies’ to be seen.

Magnolia petals, a baby bunny’s favourite treat

As at home, nesting Long-tailed Tits have been a daily presence and these pose far better than the ones in the garden.

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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