TAILS OF A NATURE RESERVE: Trentham Gardens Heronry

It has been a long time since I have visited Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire.

When I was a child, Trentham Gardens was a caravan and camp site, and despite only being a twenty minute drive away from our home, me and my family spent many holidays caravanning there. It just goes to show that you don’t need to travel miles to have exciting and memorable holidays. We spent many summers spotting birds and other wildlife and sitting on deck chairs outside the caravan at night looking for bats and chatting.

Trentham has changed a lot in twenty years. The caravan site is no longer there but there are plans to build log cabins.

My mum and I took a trip to the gardens last Sunday, one of the sunniest days this year so far, and as you can imagine, the gardens and lake were jam packed full of people.

THE HERONRY

After reading my BBC Wildlife magazine, the advice on what to do in one morning was to visit a heronry. I had found that Trentham Estate has one of the biggest heronries in the country. 42 breeding pairs have been counted! We arrived early and set off to the lake. The heronry is based on an island in the middle of the lake. We sat in the bird hide overlooking the heronry and were not disappointed by how many herons we saw sitting on the top of branches and flying overhead.

The island in the middle of the lake where the herons nest.
The island in the middle of the lake where the herons nest.
Heron flying overhead.
Heron flying overhead.
More herons at the heronry.
More herons at the heronry

IMG_6866 IMG_6863

 

DEER AND BIRD HIDE

To escape the crowds, me and my mum took refuge in the deer and bird hide located by the lake and next to the River Trent. Unfortunately we didn’t see any deer but we did see plenty of birds…

Robin
Robin
Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Long Tailed Tit
Long Tailed Tit
Chaffinch
Chaffinch
As soon as the nuthatch arrives, the other birds keep their distance.
As soon as the nuthatch arrives, the other birds keep their distance. They know who is boss!
Nuthatch
Nuthatch
Reed Bunting. After seeing only one once, I have now seen 5 in one weekend.
Reed Bunting. After only ever seeing one once before, I have now seen 5 in one weekend!
Blue Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Great Tit
Nuthatch
We noticed that the nuthatch hammers at the trees in the same way that a woodpecker does.

We also saw buzzards flying overhead…

IMG_6931
These seagulls were chasing this buzzard.

IMG_7066

 

THE RIVER TRENT

Whilst sitting in the bird hide, we saw a flash of blue swooping over the river. A definate sign of a kingfisher. He flew back and forth many times. And then as he flew past, another followed! The River Trent is a perfect nesting site for kingfishers. Unfortunately they were too fast for us to spot if they were a male and female pair. To have a good chance of getting a photograph, we left the bird hide and stood closer to the river. Camera poised, I was ready for him. He arrived but then took a u-turn and headed back with a ‘che-keeee.’ He had obviously seen us and was giving his partner a warning.

 

IMG_6965
The River Trent

 

THE WOODLAND WALK

We sat in the woods and ate our lunch and we were joined by a jay….

Jay
Jay

Then my Mum spotted a buzzard sitting high up in a tree.

Do you ever feel like you are being watched?
Do you ever feel like you are being watched?
Was he considering us as an appetiser?
Was he considering us as an appetiser?

 

 

THE LAKE

Mute Swan
Mute Swan
Great Crested Grebe on Trentham Lake
Great Crested Grebe on Trentham Lake.

 

WHAT TO SEE AND WHERE: MAP OF TRENTHAM GARDENS

IMG_6311  Red Circle – Heronry

Yellow Circle – Deer and Bird Hide. Great place to spot kingfishers    flying over the River Trent.

Green Circle – Woodland Walks where we spotted jays. Look high up  in the trees to spot buzzards.

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. sally vaughan says:

    Lovely photos! We have a greater spotted woodpecker visiting our garden now, but he’s been too shy for a photo yet.

    1. zoeanne83 says:

      Wow that’s amazing Sal! I love them. I had one visiting my bird feeder in Switzerland and it took a very long time to get a photo of him. In spring I also had a baby woodpecker visiting. They have very fluffy red heads so keep your eye out for a baby too! 🙂

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