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In his country journal, David Bellamy discovered that the seemingly deserted lake was far from empty.
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In his country journal, David Bellamy discovered that the seemingly deserted lake was far from empty.

Q

Gently sliding open the panels of the hide, I am met with a body of water that could easily be mistaken for a small pond in any other part of the world. Content to have the entire reserve to myself, I take a moment to appreciate the unique sight of the same view being reflected twice in the tranquil, still water.

Every month, me and many other volunteers with similar interests conduct bird surveys all over the nation for the British Trust for Ornithology. Initially, my current visit seems unfruitful as I haven’t spotted any bird on the lake in the first five minutes. Feeling disheartened, I contemplate leaving, but something inside me urges me to stay for a little longer.

Without a doubt, a distinctive doglike yelp catches my attention as a coot appears from a secluded area of the lake. Shortly after, I observe two moorhens foraging on the opposite side of the bank. Time passes and a female mallard joins the scene from the left, closely trailed by a male who enthusiastically bobs his head at her- a clear indication of the start of spring.

A Eurasian wigeon in Bradgate Park, Leicestershire.

Change the display to full screen mode for the image.

As I lower my binoculars, I am surprised to see a tufted duck suddenly appear nearby as if out of nowhere. I can now spot nine mallards in total, and two male teals have also joined them from my right. They quietly emerge from under the willow trees and swiftly move across the water. My attention is then caught by a pair of little grebes diving in the shallow area.

I soon discovered that there were actually two herons perched in a tree by the riverbank, in plain sight. How did I not notice them? The group of mallards eventually grew to 11, and, surprisingly for this location, there is now a female wigeon accompanying them – a bird that I have never observed here prior.

As a sparrowhawk quickly enters the forest, a flock of woodpigeons takes off in response. Amidst the chaos, a cormorant clumsily lands and struggles to climb a fallen tree partially covered in water. From the hide above, a treecreeper’s call serves as a reminder that patience is crucial in our fast-paced world.

Source: theguardian.com