A Walk Around Attenborough Nature Reserve

8 September 2020

A few weeks back I hopped on the train and spent the day at Attenborough Nature Reserve. With my walking boots back on and camera bag all packed, I set off to the reserve to see what wildlife I could find. From the train station I wandered through a village, following sign posts for the reserve. It look me along a long footpath amongst the trees and beside the waters edge and straight away I could already see plenty of wetland wildlife right in front of me. Mute swans with their young who came to greet me, a tufted duck who kept dipping it's head into the water and an egret in the distance sat upon a tree branch. 

I carried along the path until I reached the nature reserve centre which was surrounded by Canada geese, Egyptian geese, mute swans and greylag geese. I followed the path to the right with the Coneries Pond to my left. I stopped for a moment as just below some steps, stood at the edge of the water, just metres away from me was a grey heron. I couldn't believe it! A grey heron right there in front of me, the closest I had ever been to one. It spotted me instantly and flew up into the tree with it's branches hanging over the water. I slowly walked down the steps and sat by the water, admiring the grey heron who was watching me from the tree. They're such beautiful birds, almost prehistoric looking and you'll mostly find them beside any kind of water such as lakes, ponds and rivers. They stand as still as a statue with their neck stretched out looking for food, which will mostly be fish but they're also known for eating small birds and mammals. I sat there for a while, taking photos of the beautiful bird that stood in the tree right beside me until it stretched out its wings and made flight across the pond. 

I set off across a bridge and into the heart of the nature reserve. I lost my bearings most of the time, but I loved wandering off through different pathways, and making up my own little route. You can follow trails throughout the reserve though! I set off along a long path towards one of the hides, which was unfortunately closed (for safety reasons of course!) but I managed to see two horses in the field beside me and a heron who was sat in a boggy part of the field waiting for his next catch. I turned around and set off along another path to walk a circuit around the main pond. Walking alongside the pond I could just about spot a few sedge warblers amongst the reeds, who were too quick and too well hidden for me to get a good shot! I came across a small wooden jetty at one of the ponds I was walking beside and caught a glimpse of a dragonfly darting across the water. I got my camera ready and followed it along, flying so fast back and forth across the water. I managed to capture a few shots of it in flight and turns out it was a migrant hawker dragonfly, I could have stood there for ages watching it zoom up and down and across the water. I carried along the path until I reached another small wooden platform next to the pond. I sat here for a while, taking photos of the damselflies that flew across the pond and two swans came up to greet me. I looked up and all of a sudden a grey heron appeared, soaring in the sky above my head. I was too slow to get a capture but it was fantastic to see one fly so close to me. 

I continued along the long path, which took me right back to the start again. Before leaving the reserve I decided to go back to the place where I saw the grey heron and sat on the steps again taking in the views across the pond. I watched as the swans gracefully swam across the pond and watched as cormorants dipped their whole body into the water and popped up again moments later. I took a slow stroll back to the train station and set off back home on a peaceful journey on the train. 

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