Sunday, 21 November 2010

Langford Lakes

On Friday, the weather dawned fair of face so instead of doing some housework or DIY I decided to spend the last day of my week off doing a bit of birdwatching at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's Langford Lakes. I first visited this reserve in 2007 at the beginning of my painting phase proper as I had my first exhibition of 5 paintings here as part of a River Wylie art show. I've not returned since.
But on the way I drove over Tidcombe Down, a few miles from home, on the Wiltshire / Hampshire / Berkshire border and I'm glad I did as in front of me on a lonely road a Raven was mobbing a Red Kite. I stopped to watch this for 5 minutes enthralled by both birds fantastic areobatics. An absolutely fabulous beginning to the day... now that really is wildlife on the move!!
After 40 minutes I arrived at Hanging Langford and turning into an aptly named road.....

............... I arrived at the reserve!

To be greeted by an interesting sign and information board adjacent to a mansion itself. I was quite impressed by this mini-beast mansion. I'm not sure, sadly, it'll be as successful at my home as opposed to here by the river Wylie surrounded by mini-beast rich habitat.

However before going into the reserve itself, I took a slight detour upstream along the river Wylie. I'm so glad I did as the scenery on this short walk just said, "this is England" to me...

This area is owned by the Langford Trust, as opposed to the Wilshire Wildlife Trust, and is a wonderful example of local community landscape conservation in action.

The Trust land ends just beyond this bridge, though I pootled on for a few minutes more which was well worth the trek as........

Not only did this mute swan serenely watch my passing, but just around the corner the azure flash of a kingfisher competed with the azure sky overhead.Though sadly too quickly off it's perch for a photograph.

Retracing my steps to Langford Lakes I headed first to the south hide which with its large expanse of open water. This reserve is the wildlife culmination of gravel workings and a former fishing enterprise. Gravel workings when sensitively managed back to wildlife are a fabulous are to watch birds in the winter and Langford Lakes is a cracker.

Even these two seem to find it a sociable place to reside in....

Walking to the northern shores, I had the sun in my eyes, but here more passerines can be seen,

Including sadly this very sick greenfinch, presumably suffering from the awful trichomonosis infection. Sadly I don't think this bird will survive the day.

But not all the wildlife at the reserve was expected, such as this rat, one of half a dozen which were feeding underneath the feeders. Apparently they were being preyed on my a stoat, which I failed to see as I sat watching them.

Eventually though the sun was beginning to dip, the temperature began to drop so I reluctantly decided to leave the birds to their feed and head back home.

An excellent day indeed, given the number of birds I saw in such a small area of this wonderfully picturesque part of Wiltshire. I'll not leave it 3 years before returning again.

Coal tit 2
Blue tit @10
Grey heron 1
Moorhen 4
Wren 3
Carrion crow 20+
Rook 50+
Jackdaw 50+
Kingfisher 1
Woodpigeon 9
Blackbird 6
Mute Swan 10+
Magpie 4Robin 3
Kestrel 1
Chiffchaff 1
Long Tailed Tit 7
Collared Dove 2
Great Crested Grebe 13
Mallard 20+
Coot 50+
Pochard 6
Black Headed Gull 10+
Herring Gull approx. 20
Tufted Duck 20+
Gadwall approx.20
Shoveller 3
Canada Goose 20+
Cormorant 5
Chaffinch 5
Little Egret 1
Greenfinch 5+
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1


  1. It sounded like a very enjoyable visit Andrew and the photos you took along the river Wylie certainly did have a quintessential essence of England about them.

    The finch disease is terrible, sadly I saw it in my garden a couple of years ago, I do hope in time the birds will become immune to it.

    Lovely photos and you saw a very good list of birds too.

  2. I love the mini beast mansions. I've tried to provide similar around my property. Lovely photos.

  3. I like the look of the mini-beast mansion. A friend and I went to Washington WWT site this summer and there was a wildlife garden there concentrating on bees and other insects, similar to this one of yours. I have kept a piece of an old tree trunk cut down on my boundary which I hope to turn into some kind of feature in the garden - I particularly hope it might grow fungi and lichens.

  4. Hi Shy Songbird, Oldcrow and Emma, thank you for your comments, the mini beast house was extraordinary. I may have a go one day. Just back from the Lakes, posting soon from there.