Spring Charm At Lake Farm

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Lake Farm on April 13th and 14th was loud and lively.  On arrival, I made my way into the wooded area just off the canal path and immediately spotted a male Blackcap among the trees, an encouraging sign.

Male and female Blackbirds were busy among the undergrowth nest building, and at one stage I was surrounded by several Great Tits making alarm calls, hopping from branch to branch very much alerted by my presence.

Also in evidence were Dunnocks, Blue Tits and at least one Robin.

Lake Farm Robin

I met Lake Farm regular Roy at the end of the path and as we swapped stories of sightings a Great Spotted Woodpecker zipped past us and into a nearby tree. Having kept an eye on its trajectory we noticed it almost immediately heading for a hole in the tree:

Constant visits to the hole suggest this Woodpecker was definitely looking to move in over the weekend and I’ll be keeping a regular eye to see if there is any evidence of chicks appearing over the coming weeks.

It was also good to see a some prime avian real-estate finally being taken up by something other than the ubiquitous Parakeets.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Most definitely seen and heard was this Song Thrush releasing it’s wonderfully varied trills, clicks and calls:

Song Thrush

Along with the fauna at Lake Farm I also noticed this very interesting fungi growing from one of the trees by the canal:

My resident fungi expert (my lovely wife) informs me that this is Turkey Tail.  It is apparently edible, although tough and very chewy,  and is best experienced as a tea after being boiled for some time.

It’s constituent parts are also used as a cancer treatment and were recently discovered to be anti-malarial too. It also has a wide range of  uses in Chinese medicine.

One Kestrel was also seen just as I was leaving. I believe there was at least one breeding pair at Lake Farm last year so another one to keep an eye on.

I returned briefly on Sunday to the same spot, this time I was also lucky enough to see a female Blackcap in almost the same place the male was seen on Saturday:

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Sunday also saw Skylarks hovering over the longer grass.  Skylarks are also on the RSPB’s  red status of rapidly declining species and have a history of breeding at Lake Farm.

Also seen on Sunday were Reed Buntings and a Grey Heron and heard but not seen was a Chiffchaff.

The local community are continuing their opposition to Hillingdon Council’s plans to build on parts of Lake Farm. As I hope you can see from my posts, this Green Belt land is supporting a wide array of wildlife, and is a desperately needed natural green space in the somewhat grim environs at the extreme west of London.

Once again, please feel free to check my Flickr page for larger images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/94900571@N05/

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