Lightwater Country Park

After getting back from Dorset the other week, the wife and I still had a few days of leave to occupy ourselves with. Having a hire vehicle for the week, we figured we’d make to most of it, and to that end we made our way to Lightwater Country Park for a spot of wildlife spotting.

Located within smelling distance of the M3 in Surrey, it’s home to an array of wildlife, from birds to lizards to the bizarre subhuman lifeforms that inhabit that part of Surrey.

The trip marks a first for me as it was the first time I’d gone somewhere with the primary intention of taking photos for this blog. Every other post you see here at Creative Splurges is the result of luck that I decided to bring my camera with me on that day.

So then, Lightwater had a lot to live up to.

After a bit of a walk through the park, where we accidentally came across one of those bridges across the motorway that always look like they don’t lead anywhere (and turned back because it didn’t lead anywhere), we found our first creature.

A bird. I don't know what bird it is. A small one.

There isn’t only wildlife in Lightwater. There is a fair amount of flora and fauna too.

Although, as I've said before, plants aren't as challenging to shoot as wild animals. Wait, that came out wrong.

There are also a lot of diverging paths around the place, which made for quite a nice adventure as we strolled around following the paths at random. You could lose yourself very quickly in this place.

I've no idea where that goes. I didn't follow that one.

Unfortunately, one thing we didn’t realise was the area is also home to a military training ground. A poorly marked one. It’s always a bit worrying when you leave part of the park, and look behind you to see this:

Keep out of the place you're just leaving. Sound advice.

Always nice to know you’ve just left somewhere you shouldn’t have been in the first place. It is, after all, better than entering somewhere you shouldn’t, or finding you’re somewhere you ought not to be with no clear method of finding your way out.

Just for clarification, the sign offers an image of what a military high speed test vehicle might look like. Looks like a Morris.

After successfully avoiding being run down by whatever fast-moving vehicles the military feels the need to test in a track environment – we didn’t see anything save for a jeep which contained a soldier who told us to watch out for fast moving vehicles which would probably run us over – we found another tiny patch of photogenic plantlife.

Really tiny. In fact this was it.

Before long, however, we were back to welcoming signs.

The tree didn't seem to want visitors.

Skipping past the unwelcoming tree, we found ourselves back in what was now alarmingly familiar territory.

"Warning. Do not touch the exploding things. They may explode."

After a bit more walking, we finally found ourselves somewhere a little more tranquil, where we weren’t all that likely to get shot, run over or blown up.

Ah, peace at last.

However, no sooner did we arrive on the bank then we were set upon.

Egads. Geese.

They clearly expected us to be bringing food of some sort. As soon as I stepped out onto the bank to photograph this horde, they saw me and changed direction.

"You! You must have food too!"

Fortunately, their tameness allowed me to take quite a few snaps of them as they waited for us to provide them with bread or some such thing, including a point where the blue sky was reflected beautifully against the water.

The first of the geese to be caught against the brilliant blue sky.
Two geese have a disagreement about which way is best, whilst I (admittedly pretty voyeuristically) watch them from the bushes.
A feather floats on the water, after a bit of a scuffle.
A quick chance to get some flowers in, with the geese in the background.
A coot (I think that's a coot - although that still sounds rather rude to me) silhouetted on the water.
Is it a flock of geese? A gathering? A flange?
Two geese pass by a third who seems to be a little lost.
The flock/gathering/flange head back in the other direction, presumably teased by some other inadvertent offer of non-existent food.
I liked the reflection so much a kicked a stone into the water to catch the ripples.

After teasing the geese relentlessly in the name of photography, we continued on with our walk. Lightwater Country Park is a large area with many discretely signposted paths, it was great to wander about so freely without a destination in mind. Other than knowing where we parked the car.

There was still plenty of wildlife to be seen.

A bird. That's black. I don't know what they call it. Dave, for all I know.

As we headed back to where we were reasonably certain the car was, we came across a final pond.

Presumably, a duck pond.
Some baby geese with their parents. Already the little one in the foreground is breaking away from the pack.
Aww, look at the ickle baby.
"Junior! Come back here young man or you will get such a hiding!"
Mother goose wrangles her children.
I guess that's the equivalent of a teenage goose.
Sorry this one's out of focus, but I captured a moment here and wanted to share it.
It's less cute when the teenaged one does it, it looks more like a creature rising from the abyss.
Whether it's a duck pond or not, the ducks have their space and they keep to it.
The two baby geese siblings share a revelation. Probably cottoned on to the fact we didn't have any food.

Soon it began to rain a bit, and the geese and ducks started to shuffle off to find shelter, and we headed back to the car. On our way out, we passed something:

Well, seems fitting to end on a poorly placed sign, doesn't it?

As ever, your feedback is more than welcome. To see some of the photos cut from this post, click here to open as a gallery or check out the slideshow below.

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