Na­ture in­spires Lake artists

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

NEXT week the lo­cal Wildlife Trust is wel­com­ing the Col­lege Lake Artists as they put on a colour­ful dis­play in their Christ­mas fair.

The Bucks Open Stu­dios artists and makers have cho­sen the bright­est and most in­spir­ing paint­ings, pho­to­graphs, jew­ellery, tex­tiles and ce­ram­ics to liven up grey win­ter days.

Come and see them from Fri­day, De­cem­ber 4 to Sun­day, De­cem­ber 6, with a late night spe­cial open­ing up to 8pm, on the Satur­day.

Louisa Sto­bbs, one of the group, is look­ing for­ward to re­vis­it­ing the na­ture re­serve.

She said: “We’re de­lighted to be back at Col­lege Lake. Six won­der­ful artists and makers are show­cas­ing their vi­brant new work, all of which is for sale and would make ideal Christ­mas presents. We do­nate a per­cent­age of all sales to Col­lege Lake.”

There is art all around the na­ture re­serve, with vivid mu­rals of birds in many of the hides. There are spe­cial van­tage points for keen pho­tog­ra­phers who come to Col­lege Lake specif­i­cally to pho­to­graph the wildlife, es­pe­cially the birds that visit dur­ing the win­ter.

The na­ture re­serve that we see to­day is an ex­tra­or­di­nary trib­ute to the vi­sion of the first vol­un­teers, who dis­cov­ered plants and but­ter­flies among the quar­ry­ing bull­doz­ers and ce­ment-making ma­chin­ery when this site was a work­ing quarry.

Thanks to a joint project be­tween Cas­tle Ce­ment Ltd and the Wildlife Trust, and the vi­sion and de­ter­mi­na­tion of Gra­ham Atkins, who was a lorry driver with the ce­ment com­pany and a keen ecol­o­gist, Col­lege Lake sup­ports more than 1,000 species of wildlife.

It is also widely re­garded as one of the best places in Buck­ing­hamshire for wa­ter birds, which enjoy

Wendy To­bitt of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust pre­views a colour­ful new ex­hi­bi­tion at Col­lege Lake na­ture re­serve

the di­ver­sity of habi­tats in­clud­ing shal­low muddy pools, is­lands in the lake, marshes and ditches.

Win­ter is a par­tic­u­larly good time to visit as the lake be­comes home to vis­it­ing wild­fowl that fly in from the colder Euro­pean con­ti­nent.

When you visit to see the Col­lege Lake Artists, please take half an hour to walk around the lake, vis­it­ing the hides to get a closer view of the birds.

Al­ready we’ve heard the whistling of wi­geon and seen the teal, a small duck no­table for its dis­tinc­tive ver­ti­cal take-off from the wa­ter and abrupt changes of di­rec­tion as they fly away at speed.

A male spar­rowhawk, a beau­ti­fully-coloured bird of prey, dropped in re­cently to check out Col­lege Lake. The bird’s deep apri­cot-coloured chest feath­ers con­trasted with the slate grey-blue of its body and wings, and bright yel­low legs! Thank you to vol­un­teer Graeme Kennedy for tak­ing this pho­to­graph.

Col­lege Lake is a haven for pho­tog­ra­phers, offering them an op­por­tu­nity to see un­usual birds and take beau­ti­fully artis­tic pic­tures of swans, lap­wings, ducks and geese.

Why not re­dis­cover your in­ner artist with a visit to Col­lege Lake this win­ter!

Drop in to meet the Col­lege Lake Artists over the first week­end in De­cem­ber and re­mem­ber to bring your cam­era and take won­der­ful shots of wildlife as birds visit the na­ture re­serve, swim­ming on the lake, div­ing for food and dab­bling in the shal­lows. If the weather is less than kind, then drop into the café for a re­viv­ing hot drink and mince pie!

Go to www.bbowt.org. uk/col­legelake to find out more about the na­ture re­serve, in­clud­ing open­ing times this win­ter.

Go to www.col­legelake artists.wee­bly.com to see works by the artists.

Works of art: (Clock­wise from above left) Spar­rowhawk pic­tured by Graeme Kennedy; a Louisa Sto­bbs pic­ture; flow­ers by Shirley Jones;

Cather­ine Smith’s piece

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