KINGS MILL RESERVOIR

A GALLERY OF WILDLIFE AT KINGS MILL RESERVOIR

 

BLACK HEADED GULL

 

Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown - in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a 'seagull' and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into larger parties where there is plenty of food, or when they are roosting

COMMON TERN

 

These delightful silvery-grey and white birds have long tails which have earned them the nickname 'sea-swallow'. They have a buoyant, graceful flight and frequently hover over water before plunging down for a fish. They are often noisy in company and breed in colonies.

COOT

 

All-black and larger than its cousin, the moorhen, it has a distinctive white beak and 'shield' above the beak which earns it the title 'bald'. Its feet have distinctive lobed flaps of skin on the toes, which act instead of webs when swimming. It patters noisily over the water before taking off and can be very aggressive towards others.

GADWALL

 

This very grey-coloured dabbling duck, a little smaller than the mallard, and with an obvious black rear end. It shows a white wing patch in flight. When seen close up the grey colour is made up of exquisitely fine barring and speckling. It nests in low numbers in the UK and is an Amber List species.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE

 

A delightfully elegant waterbird with ornate head plumes which led to its being hunted for its feathers, almost leading to its extermination from the UK. They dive to feed and also to escape, preferring this to flying. On land they are clumsy because their feet are placed so far back on their bodies. They have an elaborate courtship display in which they rise out of the water and shake their heads. Very young grebes often ride on their parents' backs.

KINGFISHER

 

Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue and orange birds of slow moving or still water. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water's surface. They are a vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe.

LAPWING

 

Also known as the peewit in imitation of its display calls, its proper name describes its wavering flight. Its black and white appearance and round-winged shape in flight make it distinctive, even without its splendid crest. This familiar farmland bird has suffered significant declines recently and is now an Red List species.

LINNET

 

A small, slim finch, widely distributed, and once very popular as a cage bird because of its melodious song. Males are attractively marked with crimson foreheads and breasts, females much browner. It has an undulating flight, usually twittering as it flies and may be seen in large flocks during the winter.

 

MALLARD

 

The mallard is a large and heavy looking duck. It has a long body and a long and broad bill. The male has a dark green head, a yellow bill, is mainly purple-brown on the breast and grey on the body. The female is mainly brown with an orange bill. It breeds in all parts of the UK in summer and winter, wherever there are suitable wetland habitats, although it is scarcer in upland areas. Mallards in the UK may be resident breeders or migrants - many of the birds that breed in Iceland and northern Europe spend the winter here.

MUTE SWAN

 

The mute swan is a very large white waterbird. It has a long S-shaped neck, and an orange bill with black at the base of it. Flies with its neck extended and regular slow wingbeats. The population in the UK has increased recently, perhaps due to better protection of this species. The problem of lead poisoning on lowland rivers has also largely been solved by a ban on the sale of lead fishing weights. Some birds stay in their territories all year, while others move short distances and form winter flocks. In cold weather, some birds arrive from Europe into eastern England.

REED BUNTING

 

Sparrow-sized but slim and with a long, deeply notched tail, the male has a black head, white collar and a drooping moustache. Females and winter males have a streaked head. In flight the tail looks black with broad, white edges.

SISKIN

 

The siskin is a small, lively finch, which is smaller than a greenfinch. It has a distinctly forked tail and a long narrow bill. The male has a streaky yellow-green body and a black crown and bib. There are yellow patches in the wings and tail. It is mainly a resident breeder from southern England to northern Scotland, but is most numerous in Scotland and Wales. Many breeding birds are residents; in winter birds arrive here also from Europe.

TEAL

 

Teals are small dabbling ducks. Males have chestnut coloured heads with broad green eye-patches, a spotted chest, grey flanks and a black edged yellow tail. Females are mottled brown. Both show bright green wing patches (speculum) in flight. They are thinly distributed as a breeding species with a preference for northern moors and mires. In winter birds congregate in low-lying wetlands in the south and west of the UK. Of these, many are continental birds from around the Baltic and Siberia. At this time, the UK is home to a significant percentage of the NW European wintering population making it an Amber List species.

TUFTED DUCK

 

The tufted duck is a medium-sized diving duck, smaller than a mallard. It is black on the head, neck, breast and back and white on the sides. It has a small crest and a yellow eye. In flight it shows an obvious white stripe across the back of the wing. It breeds in the UK across lowland areas of England, Scotland and Ireland, but less commonly in Wales, with most birds being residents. Numbers increase in the UK in winter because of birds moving to the UK from Iceland and northern Europe.

WATER VOLE

 

The Water vole (Arvicola amphibus) is found across the British Isles. It lives along side streams, rivers, ditches, ponds marshes and reed beds. They create burrows in the sides of banks next to water. Water voles differ from to a Brown Rat in that they have a rounded nose, small rounded ears and chestnut brown fur. They are approximately 20 cm long, including a tail length of 11cm and live for around 1.5 years. Water voles are a Protected Species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are Britain’s fastest declining mammal.

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Kings Mill Reservoir, Sutton in Ashfield

NG17 4HN

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