During the course of a year the weather changes with the months and seasons, so the wildlife changes progressively. In the winter many insects and plants appear to die back and disappear like the leaves on the trees. But then here at Gabriel’s we are a natural home for winter visitors like little Egret. A flock of heron-like white birds can be seen in the cattle fields on the approach to the fishery. Long-eared Owls can also sometimes be seen in the ash trees when leaf is off.
The wet weather seems to encourage the Hares to stay in the fields adjacent to the River Eden. Flocks of Field Fare with their orange breast and dark flecks are common visitors.
Green Woodpeckers and Pheasants, Sand Pipers and Snipe can also be seen around the lakes. Flocks of Brambling mixed with Chaffinch are a common sight at this time.
As spring comes forward we see the winter birds migrate. As the blossom on the bushes and trees decorate the landscape with colour, so the spring arrivals of many woodland and marsh birds fill the air with their pleasant sounds and happy chirping. They feed on the tremendous numbers of emerging insects, butterflies, nymphs, beetles and bees and ants. You may be able to hear the cuckoo around Easter time, perhaps a little earlier.
Over the course of the year you will see Primroses in flower. Bluebells when in flower create a beautiful blue tinge to the woodland floor.
Lapwings nest in Hare Field- these black and white birds in flight, have rounded wings which enable them to demonstrate their acrobatic flight and wounded courtship aerial display. On the ground they have a green back and a distinctive crest on their heads. Their call is a clear Pee- Wit.
Great pond snails are common and can be seen in the ditches and feeder streams to the fishery, as can whirligig beetles, which often gyrate on the surface of the water before diving and hiding in shallow water debris.
The common gnat and midge don’t bite people but watch out for the villain that does- the Mosquito, which looks just like the gnat. They also make a meal for the Pipistrelle Bat and the Natterers Bat that fly low over the water and can be seen most evenings over Admiral Lake.