Arrived today with excitement of exploring the Brockfoot loop which I haven't previously visited, thinking tag loop was the extent of the reserve! A lovely sunny day and quite mild for this time of year. I started off in fishermans car park with Blue & Great Tits and our friend the grey squirrel! I walked on to the reserve and this time across the yellow brick road. As I reached the top I spotted a Kestrel hovering which eventually flew. I continued on down towards spider bridge when I heard a great commotion in the trees, suddenly a Sparrowhawk flew out only about 10ft above my head, a great sight but alas I had forgotten my camera (again!).
As I crossed spider bridge a party of Long-tailed tits crossed with me, this seems to be a favourite spot for them, also present were goldfinch. And then into the unknown! An overgrown paradise awaited, I finally found one of the lagoons which is severely overgrown, probably 90% overgrown with reeds, a real shame as i'd hoped to maybe pick up a few waders. I crossed the bund between lagoons 1 & 2, there is actually a good amount of water in lagoon 1 but lagoon 2 looks a lot drier. I wouldn't recommend crossing the bund as this is where it got very messy! A steep slushy bank was difficult to negotiate, and once on the other side of the reserve the paths along the river bank were particularly boggy, avoid this path unless you have wellies & waterproofs on, it's quite hard going.
I finished at the far end of Spaghnum Bog (wibbly wobbly) and decided to walk back on the canal footpath, rejoining the reserve for a short stretch where a dog walker with dogs unleashed ruined the chances of any more birds and the two kids on their cycles... Its clear people have been coming on to the reserve from the canal paths even up sloped banks.
Lots of black headed gulls as usual on the watersports lake and 6 cormorants on the water jump. Another party of long tailed tits waved me off from the fishermans car park from my short visit.
A nice visit but im looking a bit worse for wear in my muddy trousers in the office this afternoon! Highlight of the visit was the Sparrowhawk. Unfortunately I think this will be my last visit to the reserve of 2011, I look forward to meeting the FoCB members in 2012.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all at Cromwell Bottom, lets hope 2012 yields fantastic results for this wonderful place.
An excellent report Andrew. I am glad that you have found the rest of the reserve. You are right about the LTT, they do favour that spot along with Bullfinch. I should have warned you about the mud along the river path. Sparrowhawk are always a pleasure to see. Cyclists leaving the canal path are a problem, more signs are needed, they are not allowed on the reserve.
Hope to meet you in 2012.
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