...said a partially scrambled pager message with reference to a Squacco Heron at Blagdon Lake. Returning from Gloucestershire to Dorset on Sunday took me conveniently close to Blagdon. 'Permit only', as it turned out, but with limited time, I went straight there in the hope of getting one on site. Those scrambled pager messages always remind me of Ceefax, which in turn reminds me of my favourite ever Ceefax headline: 'Gay bishop splits vicars'.
Anyway, a guy leaving the permit only area told me that I should be able to get one inside so I took a chance and fortunately there was a local birder in the car park dispensing them. Earlier on someone from the water company had apparently been turfing out people with no permit, which begs the question why they didn't just sell them one to make a few quid in these cash-strapped times? Perhaps being a lightly regulated monopoly with a guaranteed rate of return has something to do with it...Anyway, for £3 it was good value and the Squacco showed well.
Preening in the reeds at first, it eventually made it's way in to the open before flying further up the lake. There it came quite close to the road, though always obscured by the lush vegetation in which it was feeding, stuffing its face with Kermit's relatives, no doubt. A very smart bird.
For future reference, anyone wishing to access the permit only parts of Blagdon and nearby Chew can obtain a permit from Picnic Site 1 at Chew Valley Lake.
1 week ago