SWT LACKFORD LAKES: Mild weather meant reserve saw some real success stories in 2014
2014 was a great year for wildlife at Lackford. Starting with our smaller birds, 2014 proved to be an amazing breeding season for most with one of the best breeding seasons for many a year.
Lots of our smaller birds come all the way from Africa just to breed at Lackford Lakes with nightingales and turtle dove both breeding on the reserve.
A good breeding season means lots of youngsters around. On the lakes our great crested grebes managed to fledge 11 young and our barn owls managed to raise seven youngsters around the reserve, a much-needed boost to this struggling bird.
The mild weather during 2014 benefited our butterflies and dragonflies, too. Butterflies had a very long season, with many seen during March through to (a very late) November. New for the reserve records during 2014 was a grayling butterfly. Similarly, dragonflies had a great year with many seen around the lakes and trails during the summer months. Eighteen different species were recorded during 2014.
Lackford Lakes always has few unusual visitors that join us briefly during migration times of spring and autumn and 2014 saw a great reed warbler popping in for a day before moving on and, around the same time, a peak count of nine black terns were seen feeding on our lakes.
As per normal, our kingfishers have put up wonderful performance in front of our hides throughout the year, so it is always one of our highlights.
The year ended with a starling roost entertaining our visitors towards the end of a winter’s day. Thousands of these incredible birds, fly around forming a murmuration before heading for a night in the reeds. This action took place right in front of the visitor centre.
Let’s hope 2015 is just as entertaining for us at Lackford lakes.
Pictures by Ian Goodall & Stuart Finley