West Hallam - Straw's Bridge LNR
w/e 24 May 2015
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
often visit the nature reserve at Straw's Bridge but it's nearly
six years since a page of images was devoted to it. Back then
in 2009 (link)
it was know as a nature reserve but was not officially credited
with that status until March 19th 2015. Now new signs have been
erected (left) and the appearance all around the site is testament
to work done by the "Friends of Straw's Bridge" group.
Although on the very edge of Ilkeston, Straw's Bridge LNR (Local
Nature Reserve) actually falls within the West Hallam parish
boundary and the car park is accessed off High Lane East. There
is a pleasant grassed area adjacent to the car park with picnic
tables and wooden seats.
We paused by the picnic area, sat on the seat on the right of
the previous image and watched the swans preening themselves.
Eventually one of them deigned to lift its head just long enough
for me to take this photo but notice the drop of water falling
from its beak. The head was soon down again in the water.
One of the projects the Friends of Straw's Bridge (Fosbies) have
been involved with is the creation of several artificial islands
which have been positioned in the largest pond. A coot was busy
nesting on one of them. I'm never quite sure when a pond becomes
a lake but for a long time because of the propensity of swans
that frequent it, this largest stretch of water on the site has
earned the nickname of Swan Lake.
usually seem to walk around Swan Lake in an anti-clockwise direction
and on reaching what can be termed as the" back" of
the lake, a path leads off (left) climbing the former railway
embankment to the Nutbrook Trail. At the far end of the back
stretch another path (right) leads to a bridge and under the
former railway and this is the one we followed to a quieter part
of the reserve.
Immediately on the right after passing under the bridge is the
smallest and quietest of the three ponds. Whilst most of the
waterfowl congregate near the car park where they have learned
they will receive food from the visitors, here they are left
to their own natural devices in this tranquil spot sandwiched
between two former railway embankments.
There is not a path circumnavigating this smallest pond but from
where it is possible to get close to the water's edge, we spotted
numerous tadpoles swimming in the shallows.
Across from the smallest pond after passing under the railway
bridge is the middle sized pond and here a pair of coots with
five youngsters were chirping away among the reeds.
Again walking in an anti-clockwise direction around the pond
we passed a wary looking swan keeping guard over his mate on
the nest. We posed no problem to the swans and neither it seems
did the coot on the edge of the nest.
It's not all about birds though at Straw's Bridge and proof if
it were needed is provided by this picture of a rabbit that put
in a fleeting appearance before disappearing into the undergrowth.
After completing the circuit of the middle lake we went back
under the bridge and past the wet grassland area on our way back
to the car park just as a few spots of rain started to fall.
Before we reached the car park though the rain had stopped and
so did I to capture this image of a mother duck shielding two