Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Lackford Lakes is transforming with springtime arrivals. Sophie Mayes tells us what we can expect to see and hear. . .
Over the last month, the reserve has become awash with shades of green and white. The trees suddenly seem to have come alive with bursts of blossom from wild cherry trees and pussy willow. It always amazes me how the reserve seems to change within a blink of an eye and as we head into May we see the return of the flowers, with hues of pink and purple beginning to appear from viper’s bugloss and the buddleia.
As April showers began to arrive so did our choir of birds. At the end of April, the nightingales returned, famous for their beautiful song. Nightingales are a migrant bird that overwinters in west Africa before spending the long-awaited spring here. Sadly, since the 1960s nationally there has been a 90 per cent decline in population, a pattern sadly reflected in Suffolk. However, at Lackford we are blessed that year after year they return to the reserve so we can be fortunate enough to hear their beautiful song. Mornings are the best time for this between 8-11am before the midday heat becomes too hot.
April also saw the re-arrival of the sand martins and the swallows, which can often be seen flying acrobatically across the sailing lake and the reed beds. Here they will gorge on flying insects over the summer before breeding and eventually flying back to Africa in early September – keep an eye out for these from the decking on your next walk. Furthermore, on your arrival to the site you can often hear one of the main signs of spring from the car park, the charming cuckoos who are delighting us with their distinct call.
Now as we head into May we are starting to see and hear the warblers, including sedge, garden and willow warbler. Also just arrived back are the swifts and last year’s pair have re-inhabited their box and we look forward to watching them become parents again!
If you take a walk along our red route, then you are sure to notice our woolly bundles of joy leaping around the fields. Both the Jacobs and
the Scottish black face have lambed, and these hardy sheep are enjoying grazing on the pastures. We also have some mixed breeds in the fields
this year, so keep an eye out on your next walk. Also, a gentle reminder that the red route is open to dog walkers but please always keep your dog on a lead.
It is not only the site that has come alive, but you will notice that our activities and events are slowly returning also. Our very popular toddler and baby groups have begun, as well as our teenage young wardens’ group.
This June is set to be an exciting one as the trust will be turning 60 and a range of socially distanced events is being held at Lackford and our other sites to celebrate it. For all our events head to our website and our Facebook page for the latest information.
Finally, the café and shop are both open 10am-3.30pm daily with the café serving takeaway only. Our large selection of sandwiches, pastries and cake have returned alongside our refreshing hot and cold drinks, and as it turns warmer who can ever resist a delicious local ice lolly or ice cream!