a million voices for nature
Every year we try to include at least one new reserve on our field trip itinerary. Marsh Lane was new in both senses, as it has been open for only a little over a year. The reserve consists of several pools, overlooked by well built hides, open grassland and small areas of woodland.
Entrance to the reserve is though a lorry park, although a permit and key must be first obtained from the shop at Stonebridge Golf Centre, Somers Road, Meriden - some three miles away. A substantial deposit (£25 when we visited) is required.
Our first stop was at a hide overlooking a good sized lake with islands and a sloping shoreline. Here we saw good numbers of duck such as Teal, Tufted Duck and Shoveler; two or three Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpiper and Snipe.
A feeding station mid-way across the reserve attracts a good variety of finches and tits and should be very productive during winter. We had several good views of Buzzard during the morning; at least two were quite active over the adjacent fields.
After lunch, we moved on to Coombe Abbey Country Park. As it was a very warm day, the place was crowded and therefore not too good for birdwatching. Sadly, the excellent hide, overlooking both the lake and a previously- busy feeding station, had been burned down by vandals.
Notable birds at Coombe were Nuthatch and Kingfisher. A park ranger told us that they had seen a Peregrine that morning. We ended the day watching Mallards on a pea-green layer of algae.
Mike Pittaway (Field Trips Organiser)