Thursday, 26 November 2015

Weston Turville reservoir

I've always loved to be near water, whether it's at the seaside, walking along a riverbank or playing in a stream, so I was looking forward to visiting Weston Turville reservoir today. It was built in 1797 to supply water to part of the Grand Union Canal. The surrounding land, made up of woodland, marshy fen and reedbeds, is managed as a nature reserve by BBOWT, while the reservoir is leased to angling and sailing clubs. It's somewhere I've been meaning to visit all year, but never actually managed to get to, so I braved the drizzle this morning and decided to walk all the way around the outside.

Walking up the steps to the top of the bank around the reservoir, I was stunned by how peaceful and calm it felt. The view across the water was lovely, even in the gloomy weather.

There were lots of seagulls on and around the water . They're always a bit of a novelty for me as we're a long way from the sea, so I really enjoyed watching some of their antics. They seem like such funny characters.

Some of them were congregating around the floating buoys, with the boss bird sitting on the buoy shouting at the others.

They were chased off by a heron that wanted the buoy for himself, which didn't go down very well. The seagulls mobbed the heron, who seemed only slightly concerned, before the seagulls gave up and moved somewhere else on the reservoir.

The seagulls were very cross with the heron
The seagulls soon moved on and left the heron in peace
The bulrushes growing around the edge of the water reminded me of my childhood. My grandparents lived in a water mill and the mill pond was always full of them. I love it when the velvet brown heads burst open to reveal their fluffy white insides.
Bulrushes guarding the waters edge
The stuffing's bursting out!
I took the path all the way around the edge of the reservoir and a robin tagged along for part of the way. Masses of blackbirds feasted on the hawthorn berries and a couple of jays let me get fairly close to them. I also saw moorhens, teal, a swan, great tits and a grebe. I could hear a few unusual bird calls from high up in the trees (but I'm not very good at identifying birds by their call and couldn't see what they were) and there seemed to be lots of rustling in the reeds. It definitely felt there were lots of secrets to be discovered.
Great crested grebe in non-breeding plumage
As I carried on around the path I noticed all sorts of lovely treasures ...

A christmassy wreath of berries
A plant from the carrot family (not exactly sure what it is), but it
was still in flower at the end of November

A large bracket fungus looked like a rosette had been placed on this
fallen tree trunk
Lichen and sloe berries, with a sprinkling of moss

Balls of moss dotted the branches

Lovely spiky burrs - covered in tiny hooks, they're like velcro and I
managed to get some caught on my clothes even though I knew they were
there and tried not to get any attached
Before I left I had a quick look at the sluice gate controlling the level of the reservoir. There was some amazing ironwork protruding out of the side of it.

Sluice gate
I really enjoyed walking around the reservoir and will definitely have to go back again.


  1. Your seagulls are black-headed gulls. If you can describe the sound of these bird calls I can try and ID them for you. Or you can record these sounds and so I can ID them a lot easier that way.

  2. Thanks Sean. I thought afterwards that I should have recorded them, but I was too busy trying to see them, then they were gone. When I go back I'll try and get them.