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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Low Barns Wildlife Reserve... What a Lovely find!

We've been to Low Barns a couple of times in the last few weeks. It belongs to the Durham Wildlife Trust and it is a great renovation of an old industrial site. There is a lake surrounded by a path and green growth is thriving beyond belief.
We took the camper the second time and parked it under the trees. It looks quite cute peeking out there. The picnic site has a "hide" where you can watch the cheekier birds. All the tits and lots of finches and a robin and a wren call by. The blue tits have a blue head and are small and fly away before you can point your camera. The coal tits have a striped black and white head and are too fast to photograph well, but I tried.
And the great tits are bigger and more common...usually.

Because of the mild and moist weather everything is growing well.
This is an enormous patch of "weeds". But what is a weed? I've always considered it an unwanted plant. These aren't really unwanted even though they are nettles and such. They are all an important part of this environment
Behind them are the trees that create the ecosystems that suit all the birds.

Behind all these trees is a billabong or oxbow lake. This is a part of the river's path, left stranded when the river changed course in a flood. The river in question is the Wear, shown below, which skirts the northern edge of the reserve.
The blossoms have been fabulous...
...and there will be lots of conkers later this year if these horse chestnut candles are anything to go by...
...and the may and hawthorn blossoms are everywhere.
Wherever you provide an environment which is food rich you get these two...
The reserve makes some revenue from parking, from a cafe, from the sale of charcoal which they make on site and from memberships.
If you live in the north-east this place is very well worth a visit. It is a mile and a half, on a dry, gravel path, around the lake. There are a few hides to stop in on the way and people are friendly and very informative. I'm too impatient to be a twitcher myself but they were patient enough to tell me that the tall birds in the trees that looked like cormorants with a white chest were in fact juvenile cormorants and their chests would turn black next year...
We shall return
Cheers Gillian

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