Author Graeme Lyons
A couple of days ago at work, Bryan rushed into the office and said he had seen a pair of little grebes on the lake! Now this might not seem like much but it's not happened in the six years I have been at the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
Last January we removed around 1800 carp from the lake as they ate almost everything, plant or animal. This was not a functioning ecosystem with all the nutrients locked up in large non-native fish. We then left the lake dry over the summer to allow the ecosystem to reset. So now, over a year later, are we only just starting to see the conservation benefits. I rushed out to see the birds and saw this one skulking around in the reeds. I spotted someone with a telephoto lens and asked if they could take a photo so I could blog about it. So a big thank you to Steve Lillywhite (what a perfect name for this post!) of Kestrel Photography for allowing us to use this image. I forgot how smart these birds are in breeding plumage.
Now it's hardly Slimbridge but also on the lake were five drake mallard, four moorhen and two coot. There is usually a big fat NOTHING on there this time of year when it comes to wildfowl, maybe a mallard or a moorhen if you're lucky. All the birds were actively feeding and Mike said he even had a pair of tufted duck on Tuesday! This is a fantastic conservation success story and it was a pleasure to see the little grebe actively feeding at the back of the lake but that was nothing compared to a burst of 'little grebe whinnying' as I left the office on Wednesday! A sound loud enough and distinctive enough to change the feel of Woods Mill for a whole summer if they stay to breed.
By the way I'm very proud of that pun.