Staying out for the summer
What does our wetland wildlife get up to in the summer? Wendy Tobitt finds out
YES, summer has arrived at last and suddenly we’re enjoying the longest days and shortest nights of the year!
If you’ve enjoyed watching Springwatch on TV this month, then come along to Buckinghamshire’s prime nature reserve for wetland wildlife.
The Wildlife Trust’s College Lake nature reserve is one of the best places in the county to make the most of the longer days, and the reserve is open every day, whatever the weather!
Bring your binoculars and camera so that you can spend time in one of the many bird hides focussing on the natural spectacles across the lake.
More than 1,000 species of wildlife have been recorded at College Lake since the site e was reclaimed ed by nature after many years as Swallow chalk pit operated by cement-making companies.
Wading birds including lapwing, redshank and, occasionally, oystercatchers can be seen on the lakes.
Among the birds of prey visiting the reserve are hobby, barn owl and peregrine falcon. They vie for your attention with the swallows and house martins whose amazing aerial acrobatics as they swerve and swoop across the water catching insects are fascinating to watch.
Recently we’ve created special shingle islands for common terns; these pretty sea birds with their bright orange-red beak and legs are summer visitors to our shores. Like the swallows they use their forked tails to swoop and soar across their island nesting sites where they breed in groups protected from predators.
This is a great time of the year to see nocturnal wildlife too. On Sunday June 21 we’re holding a special evening Solstice event at College Lake with a stroll around the nature reserve between 6 and 8.30pm led by the reserve’s warden Owain Hegarty and his team.
Using the bat detection kits you’ll be able to hear the differences between different types of bats including brown long-eared, and common and soprano pipistrelle as they fly along the trees near the lake foraging for insects.
Visit www.bbowt.org.uk/reserves/college-lake to plan your visit.