Last year whilst visiting the Hawk & Owl Trusts reserve at Sculthorpe Moor we talked to another visitor who recommended a visit to Lackford Lakes. This is a reserve run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. It is just across the border in Suffolk.  

With the prospect of a break in the weather and temperatures set to break February records we drove over to Lackford. We hoped the clear skies and sunshine would give us some good photo opportunities.

Arriving when the visitor centre opened we were surprised by the number of cars already in the  car park.

Little Egret at Lackford Lakes


Little Egret at Lackford Lakes

Second of the Little Egret's in front of Bernard’s hide


Second of the Little Egret’s in front of Bernard’s hide

Canada Goose


Canada Goose

Gadwall


Gadwall

Greylag Goose drinking


Greylag Goose drinking

We set off on the Kingfisher trail to the first of the lake hides. There are several hides dotted around the reserve. On the lake, that doubles as a sailing venue, there were a number of Mallards, Greylag and Canada geese close to the hide. Across the the lake were good numbers of Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler and Teal. Nearby a pair of  Goldeneye were displaying, flicking their heads right back against their bodies.

Snipe


Snipe

Further around the path we came to the third hide. This provided good views of  three Snipe, a pair of Little Egrets, and a number of Lapwings. It’s obviously a popular hide. Inside we discovered who all the cars seen earlier belonged too.

Kingfishers

After a short wait we were provided with excellent photo opportunities of a female kingfisher. She was feeding in the pool and resting on a couple of well positioned logs. 

We spent some time watching the Kingfisher catching a number of fish. It was amazing at how quickly she disposed of the catch. Then we returned to the centre for a coffee and cake.

Kingfisher at Bernard’s hide


Kingfisher arrives at the pool in front of Bernard’s hide

 

 

Female Kingfisher at Lackford Lakes


Female Kingfisher at Lackford Lakes

Female Kingfisher with its prey


Kingfisher with its prey

Female Kingfisher preparing its meal


Female Kingfisher preparing its meal

Kingfisher beating its the fish to break the bones for easier swallowing


Kingfisher beating its the fish to break the bones for easier swallowing

Kingfisher juggling the fish in its beak and swallows the fish headfirst, to avoid getting its throat scraped by the scales


Juggling the fish in its beak and swallows the fish headfirst, to avoid getting its throat scraped by the scales

Kingfisher swallowing its prey.


Going, Going, Gone !!

Woodland Walk

After a rest at the centre we set off on the East Lakes trail.  Towards the wooded area at Ash Carr and a number of other lakes that make up the reserve. Although the lakes didn’t add greatly to our checklist the woodland walk added Nuthatch, Great & Blue Tits. Treecreeper and Marsh Tit. As well the sound of hammering as a Great Spotted Woodpecker established its territory.

Nuthatch on the East Lakes trail at Lackford Lakes


Nuthatch on the East Lakes trail

Although it was great to see these woodland species the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the Kingfisher.  It appears, from chatting to some of the other birders and photographers, to be a regular visitor. She is often accompanied by her mate at this time of the year.

This is definitively a place to see Kingfishers and worth visiting again. Next time we would take on the challenge of trying to capture these colourful birds in flight as they hover above the pool. We would also need to arrive earlier to get the best light conditions, as in the afternoon light levels at the pool drop.