West Hallam - Straw's Bridge LNR
w/e 24 May 2015
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

SignStraw's Bridge Nature ReserveWe often visit the nature reserve at Straw's Bridge but it's nearly six years since a page of images was devoted to it. Back then in 2009 (link) it was know as a nature reserve but was not officially credited with that status until March 19th 2015. Now new signs have been erected (left) and the appearance all around the site is testament to work done by the "Friends of Straw's Bridge" group.

Picnic Area

Although on the very edge of Ilkeston, Straw's Bridge LNR (Local Nature Reserve) actually falls within the West Hallam parish boundary and the car park is accessed off High Lane East. There is a pleasant grassed area adjacent to the car park with picnic tables and wooden seats.
Preening Swans

We paused by the picnic area, sat on the seat on the right of the previous image and watched the swans preening themselves.


Eventually one of them deigned to lift its head just long enough for me to take this photo but notice the drop of water falling from its beak. The head was soon down again in the water.
Swan Lake

One of the projects the Friends of Straw's Bridge (Fosbies) have been involved with is the creation of several artificial islands which have been positioned in the largest pond. A coot was busy nesting on one of them. I'm never quite sure when a pond becomes a lake but for a long time because of the propensity of swans that frequent it, this largest stretch of water on the site has earned the nickname of Swan Lake.
Back of Lake

Path to Nutbrook TrailPath to Railway BridgeWe usually seem to walk around Swan Lake in an anti-clockwise direction and on reaching what can be termed as the" back" of the lake, a path leads off (left) climbing the former railway embankment to the Nutbrook Trail. At the far end of the back stretch another path (right) leads to a bridge and under the former railway and this is the one we followed to a quieter part of the reserve.
Smallest Pond

Immediately on the right after passing under the bridge is the smallest and quietest of the three ponds. Whilst most of the waterfowl congregate near the car park where they have learned they will receive food from the visitors, here they are left to their own natural devices in this tranquil spot sandwiched between two former railway embankments.

There is not a path circumnavigating this smallest pond but from where it is possible to get close to the water's edge, we spotted numerous tadpoles swimming in the shallows.
Middle Pond

Across from the smallest pond after passing under the railway bridge is the middle sized pond and here a pair of coots with five youngsters were chirping away among the reeds.
Swan's Nest

Again walking in an anti-clockwise direction around the pond we passed a wary looking swan keeping guard over his mate on the nest. We posed no problem to the swans and neither it seems did the coot on the edge of the nest.

It's not all about birds though at Straw's Bridge and proof if it were needed is provided by this picture of a rabbit that put in a fleeting appearance before disappearing into the undergrowth.

After completing the circuit of the middle lake we went back under the bridge and past the wet grassland area on our way back to the car park just as a few spots of rain started to fall.

Trio of Ducks

Before we reached the car park though the rain had stopped and so did I to capture this image of a mother duck shielding two fluffy ducklings.

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