ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mere Sands Wood Reserve { Part Three} the Lakes and Ponds

Updated on August 6, 2015

Visitor Centre

Visitor center at the reserve.Photograph by D.A.L.
Visitor center at the reserve.Photograph by D.A.L.

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman.

This the final hub of the series looking at Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve. In the first hub-Mere sands Wood a reserve to be proud of, we looked at the visitor center and wandered through the wild flower meadows to observe the plants and their associated wildlife. In the second hub of the same title Mere Sands Wood {Part 2 } The wild Flower meadow and Woods, we meandered through the intimate woodlands looking at some of the bird life, squirrels, bats and fungi. In this hub we will take in the lakes, ponds and water channels and their associated wild life, which between them lure in the greater majority of visitors.

As mentioned in the first hub,a series of lakes were created after the sand extraction had been completed.The individual lakes are surrounded by woodland and can only be seen with any clarity from one of the strategically placed hides dotted around the reserve, with the exception of the lake, which can be admired from a purposefully constructed viewing platform. This lake plays host to yellow water lilies Nuphar lutea, a robust aquatic plant, with large foliage that may cover large areas of the water's surface. The solitary rounded flower heads are small in comparison , yet it is the seed vessel that are the salient feature once the flowers have faded. They have been sculptured by nature to resemble small brandy bottles or flasks of a dark green colour.

The lakes and inhabitants

This lake is viewed from a purposefully constructed platform.Photograph by D.A.L.
This lake is viewed from a purposefully constructed platform.Photograph by D.A.L.
The flask shaped seed vessels are a salient feature. Photograph by D.A.L.
The flask shaped seed vessels are a salient feature. Photograph by D.A.L.
The dabchick is a rotund bird. Photograph courtesy of B.S. Thurner Hof
The dabchick is a rotund bird. Photograph courtesy of B.S. Thurner Hof

Dragonflies.

Dragon, and damselflies are often seen during the latter summer months as they rest on the lily leaves or dart among the marginal vegetation in their quest for prey. These creatures may be observed from the hides around most of the lakes.

A bird that frequents this particular lake is the little grebe commonly referred to as the dabchick. It is the smallest of the European grebes. Its presence is often revealed by its high pitched rapid trill which gradually fades away, which shatters the tranquility of this setting. Its plumage is dark although closer observation will reveal that on its face and neck there is rufous tints. There is a pale yellow or light marking near the base of the bill. Its outline is rotund and gives the impression of being tailless.

A feature of this entertaining bird is the way it frequently dives under the surface to catch small fish insects and small invertebrates. The nest is a floating structure constructed from weed,sedge and grasses.It is anchored to a branch of a tree in the manner a barge is moored to a canal bank. It is a fact that in the winter months the bird appears much longer necked and not as rotund, at this time may be mistaken for the black necked grebe, which is a much scarcer species.

The individual hides are relatively large structures seating up to 15-20 people positioned so that the wildfowl can be observed through the window slits without disturbing the inhabitants of the lakes and their environs.


Pathway to the hide

The pathway which leads to one of the hides.Photograph by D.A.L.
The pathway which leads to one of the hides.Photograph by D.A.L.

See the species

Although still popular during the summer months, it is from late October until early March that the hides are more popularly visited when the geese arrive from Greenland and Russia in great numbers to over winter here in the comparatively mild climate of ours.Pink footed geese may number many thousands and they are often joined by whooper swans and a variety of duck, which includes shelduck,widgeon,Garganey,gadwall,tufted,pochard,shoveler,and of course the resident mallard.

Pintail duck

Pintail duck. Photograph by courtesy of J.M.Garg
Pintail duck. Photograph by courtesy of J.M.Garg
Pink foot Goose arrive in their thousands during early winter.Photograph courtesy of M.P.F.
Pink foot Goose arrive in their thousands during early winter.Photograph courtesy of M.P.F.

Chance to see the Bittern

The reserve also attracts wading birds in lesser numbers, but the Sefton Coast and Southport Marshes are relatively close by and many wading birds winter on the mud banks and salt marshes, where their natural food is readily available.

One of the rarest breeding birds in Britain, the Bittern,may be seen from the Marshall hide during the winter months. This heron like bird is secretive and elusive and spends the majority of the time amid the tall stems of the reed and sedge which grow in profusion around many of the lakes. As the reed beds grow deeper and thicker it is hoped that one day the bird may join the breeding list at Mere Sands Wood.

During the late spring and early summer, sedge warbler, reed warbler and reed bunting all successfully breed in the security afforded by these reed beds.

Wetland areas

reed beds are an important habitat. Photograph by D.A.L.
reed beds are an important habitat. Photograph by D.A.L.
Photograph by D.A.L.
Photograph by D.A.L.
Photograph by D.A.L.
Photograph by D.A.L.

Water lilies

The ponds play host to beautiful water lilies, bog bean and other aquatic vegetation that attracts wildlife.On the surface duck and coot frequent the reeds while beneath the surface many creatures dwell in their watery kingdom. In order to observe the complex comings and goings of aquatic creatures one has to follow some basic yet necessary guidelines and one will be rewarded with sightings that would be missed by the mobile casual observer.

You need to find a comfortable yet discreet place, preferably with a tree behind your back with branches over your head. Many aquatic creatures can see shadows through the surface to shapes against the sky. Keeping still will help prevent shadow movement but also diminishes vibrations from the ground which carries into the water,thus detected by many aquatic creatures.

Top. Scorpion fly. Below. Young Coot

Insects like the scorpion fly may be found on shady vegetation. PhotOgraph by D.A.L.
Insects like the scorpion fly may be found on shady vegetation. PhotOgraph by D.A.L.
This young coot was born in the surrounding vegetation. PhotograPh by D.A.L.
This young coot was born in the surrounding vegetation. PhotograPh by D.A.L.

Finally

Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve in common with all habitats in England, is constantly changing, with the seasons. I will be revisiting as summer slides in to autumn.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)