New look for Stockers Lake
VISITORS to picturesque Stocker's Lake Local Nature Reserve, near Rickmansworth, can now find their way around much more easily and discover more about the wildlife they see along the way, thanks to some bright new information signs.
VISITORS to picturesque Stocker's Lake Local Nature Reserve, near Rickmansworth, can now find their way around much more easily and discover more about the wildlife they see along the way, thanks to some bright new information signs. The fun but factual signs appear around the edge of the lake and in the wet woodland of the site owned by Three Valleys Water and managed by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust with help from the Friends of Stocker's Lake (FoSL)The new signage offers visitors a location plan and route, and points out the best vantage points to see the heronry, alder glade, the migratory terns and other abundant wildlife. They will appeal to young and old visitors alike and apart from bringing a bright and cheerful splash of information to the nature reserve, play an important role in encouraging people to engage with the nature around them, inspiring them to get closer to wildlife and motivating them to protect it for future generations.Winter is a great time to visit Stocker's Lake because it is one of the county's key wildfowl sites at this time of year, acting as a wintering refuge for many birds. The lake can be viewed from the various hides and viewpoints and a reasonable number of species should be seen. Tufted duck, pochard and mallard are found in good numbers at this time of year, and shoveler and gadwall are present above levels of national significance. Good views of wigeon, goldeneye and goosander are also likely. Scarcer species such as smew or red-crested pochard may also possibly be seen. The lake also supports the county's largest heronry - in 2006/7 70 per cent of the county's heron nests were here (there are over 10,000 heron nest in the UK). In addition to the grey herons, which start congregating at the nest sites in January, you may also see an occasional little egret or the elusive water rail. The grassland and scrub surrounding the lake provides an added interest - flocks of finches, tits and thrushes are always passing through.Stocker's Lake is within walking distance of Rickmansworth town centre, adjacent to the Grand Union Canal in the Colne Valley Park.Article taken from November issue of Hertfordshire Life