A Walk To The Lake

Cow bingo, humping hoverflies, and much more!

Last Saturday, we went for a walk to Rudyard lake as part of the 30 Days Wild challenge. I blogged about our walk briefly for day 2 here, but this is the full length post about everything we saw. As always, you can tap or click the photos to enlarge them.

We decided that, as the weather was nice, we'd have a nice easy walk to a local reservoir. Along the way, we'd see what wildlife we could find. The walk, which took us along the canal feeder, is part suburban and part countryside. That makes for a great variety of wildlife and nature along the route. Along the old railway line there are lots of trees, most of which aren't doing much at the moment. The scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is Britain's only native pine tree, and this one was in flower. I took a photo of the male flowers and watched the pollen being released in the breeze. We didn't stay by this one for long, as I suffer from hayfever! This particular specimen may not be here for much longer as there are plans to bring the railway back, and this tree is "in the way"...

Also in the same area, we saw lots of oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare):

Further along there was some slender speedwell (Veronica filiformis):

Followed by some bulbous buttercups (Ranunculus bulbosus) and meadow buttercups (Ranunculus acris):

There were some calves near the main road. They were slightly curious, but mostly a little skittish. I could only manage to get a photo of one as the rest ran away to hide!

Along the canal feeder, there was lots of cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris). The leaves had started to turn purple on some of it:

We saw a common red soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva):

and what I think is a species of cranefly, although I'm not really sure:

Further along we encountered lots of hoverflies, making quite a lot of noise. I managed to catch these two (Syrphus vitripennis) going at it!

There were lots of marsh thistles (Cirsium palustre) growing along the banks of the canal feeder:

A little further along, Anneka shouted at me "What's that?!" I turned and whatever it was had flown off (which is typical whenever she spots something I've missed!) When it returned, it turned out to be a male banded demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens). This is a walk we've done quite often, but we've never seen one of these here, so this was something pretty special for both of us!

Further along, growing at the edge of the woodland was some red campion (Silene dioica):

After the woodland there is a lot of open space in the form of dairy fields, all the way until just before the lake. The cows here always have numbers painted on the side of them. It's like cow bingo!

The open space soon turns into woodland again (at least along the footpath - the fields actually continue on the right of this.) Here we saw a tree that had fallen at some stage:

A little further along, we saw wren mooching around this fallen tree - although I wasn't able to get a photo as it would not stay still!

In another tree we see this opening to a birds nest. We don't know what is nesting in here (if anything) and we didn't want to disturb anything, so we moved on.

There was still some blossom on some of the trees:

Lots more cow parsley:

When we got to the bottom of the dam on the lake, we see a couple of grey wagtails. Unfortunately my photos are a bit dull. A combination of difficult lighting conditions, dirt on the sensor and the little buggers not keeping still made it very difficult to get a good photo!

After here we bought an ice-cream each, and sat on a beach overlooking the lake. This is a quick (and  misrepresentingly dull) photo:

Of course, no walk is complete without a couple of selfies...

We didn't take any photos on the way back, as the old railway line that forms the last part is very boring. Here is the route (modified slightly to move the start away from our home to a nearby supermarket):

If you're ever in Leek in the spring and summer months, I'd recommend this walk. It's a nice easy route and, on the outward leg, there is plenty of wildlife to see!

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