Bittern by Andy Hay
In much of the area gravel extraction took place and the now flooded pits provide feeding and roosting for many wildfowl in winter with internationally important numbers of tufted duck, gadwall and shoveller as well as good numbers of pochard, teal and wigeon. Goldeneye, goosander and smew also occur in smaller numbers. Great-crested and little grebe are resident with the great crested grebe producing young at almost any time of the year.
The many wooded islands provide loafing and nesting areas for ducks and Canada geese and grey heron and cormorants nest in the trees. The winter roost of long-eared owls has become as popular as the bittern as they sit out the hours of daylight on their favourite wooded island. These trees and those around the banks of the pits provide nesting sites for all three species of woodpecker and tree creeper with the "yaffel" call of the green woodpecker being a common sound in the park. Flocks of siskin forage the alders and may well be joined by redpoll, goldfinch and goldcrest, while blackbird, redwing and fieldfare feed on berries or forage in the surrounding fields.
The scrub areas are good in Spring for warblers including blackcap and whitethroat while the wonderful song of the nightingale is a distinct possibility. It is a wonderful area to watch birds and the spectacular flash of the kingfisher as it dashes across the water is a breathtaking sight.
© Copyright Fred Twilley, 2001