With the exploratory piling continuing at the lake in readiness for HS2 the footpath following the river is now in a terrible state. Almost impassable in places with deep furrows cut in to the wet soil I almost slipped over on several occasions. And with the constant din of the piling rig banging away and the movements of the dumper truck up and down the footpath I was concerned that I wouldn't see too much in the way of birdlife. There was one small bonus though and that was the presence of animal tracks visible in the mud, notably Badger and Muntjack. I wonder if or when HS2 is given full backing any of this wildlife will remain. One thing is certain, the landscape will change immensely with a planned viaduct spanning the lakes and river and crossing the A412 on its way north. With trains planned to pass by every 15 minutes or so there will no longer be peace and quiet and I suggest another wildlife refuge will be lost forever.
A list of species encountered as follows:-
Little Grebe (1), Great-crested Grebe, Great Cormorant (at least 10 occupied nests), Grey Heron (at least 1 occupied nest), Little Egret (2 on troy mill viewed from river bank), Mute Swan, Canada Goose (5), Egyptian Goose (1), Eurasian Wigeon (10), Gadwall, Common Teal (7), Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye (7), Goosander (4 including 3 male), Red Kite (3), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Northern Lapwing (15), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (3), Common Kingfisher (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (2), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Song Thrush (singing male), Redwing (1), Common Chiffchaff (5 including 3 singing male), Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Common Magpie, Carrion Crow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch (4), Eurasian Siskin (1), Common Reed Bunting (female).
I bumped into the bailiff en route who informed me that a Great Bittern had been seen recently but it did not show during my visit.