“Autumnwatch” at Lackford Lakes
by Wendy Mansfield
Following on from a delightful visit to Lackford Lakes in the Summer, Wickhambrook WI decided to make a repeat trip int he Autumn. Once again we were taken around by Will Cranston, the manager of the site at Lackford. On a beautiful bright sunny morning at the end of October a group of WI members and friends met at the Visitor Centre where we were first given a short introductory presentation by Will.
We then set off on a leisurely walk around the site stopping to listen to Will’s explanations of how the site is managed. Areas which looked as though they had just been left were in fact the result of decisions to help different types of wildlife. Where trees had been coppiced and left in situ was in order to act as a deterrent to deer walking through the woodland and also offered habitat a for small mammals. Trees were felled and left lying in the water in order to provide shelter for aquatic mammals and fish.
Many different species of ducks and geese fly into Lackford to spend the Winter month’s in warmer climes. We saw Pochards, tufted ducks, teal, golden eye, mallards, together with swans, Canada geese, cormorants drying their wings in the sunshine and coots and moorhens. The highlight of the day was when we were standing next to a lake and a kingfisher landed on a nearby branch. He spent several minutes diving into the water and back onto his perch as he fished for food. He seemed quite unperturbed by a group of chattering ladies standing nearby and even seemed to be showing off!
As before Will’s knowledge and enthusiasm was impressive and he was keen to answer any questions regarding the site’s management. Eventually we all retired to the Visitor Centre for a welcome hot drink and piece of cake! We all agreed it had been a worthwhile visit and would recommend Lackford Lakes to everyone for an enjoyable and educational day out.