The new Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre
Wow! what a busy time it's been. The finishing touches were added to the shop merchandising and we finally opened our doors on Thursday 29 April, after closing in March 2020 it felt like a long time coming. It was great to welcome back all of our visitor centre volunteers, don the uniform once again and open our brand new doors to the public for the first time.
Unfortunately the weather turned for the Bank Holiday weekend, but we had many regulars visiting to stock up on their long missed bird seed, a number of families through and lots of hot drinks consumed.
The centre has now also been officially opened by the Mayor, so it is all systems go.
Due to Covid there are some interactive family elements in the centre that are not quite ready for use yet. There will be an interactive self use "roatating kiosk" providing a variety of views across the estuary and lake and the touchscreen TV screen at the back will provide information linking to our website and social media pages. We also hope to introduce some small family events in the near future as restrictions are eased and in a couple of weeks we also hope to have activity backpacks for hire.
Currently, there are audio pens available for little ones to select and listen to the bird sounds on the new information boards. These are really great fun, allowing self selection of sounds and noises, that we will be adding to all the time. Audio pens are a resource that are frequently used in schools, so will be familiar to many children. We are ensuring that these are fully disinfected and rotated between uses.
We have increased our range of binoculars in the shop introducing the Leica range alongside our other reputable brands. To see our fabulous range please just call in or if you prefer call us on 01253 796292 to arrange a specific binocular or telescope appointment with one of our knowledgeable staff and volunteers.
Our opening seemingly coincided with swifts returning to the area so we are taking that as a good omen. Fabulous to see these birds returning, alongside swallows and house martins these birds will have made their way from the plains of Africa, having just spent the winter zipping around elephants and giraffes, they are now looking to find suitable nesting places in which to breed, before heading back off to Africa in August.
The observation of passage birds such as wheatear and stonechat have now slowed as they make their way to their breeding grounds. But we are now joined by blackcaps, willow warbler and whitethroat, all adding their own tones to the birdsong around Fairhaven Lake and the sand dunes at the tip.
We were also privy to a fantastic wader spectacle at high tide earlier in the week, with murmurations of dunlin and ringed plover. These birds were pushed in close to Granny's Bay by the tide and provided astounding views, catching the eye of many perambulating the promenade and causing quite a scene in the skyline, terrific to see and fabulous to chat to so many people who were staggered by the spectacle they were witnessing.
There are also a couple of swan nests around the lake, so there will be cygnets swimming around soon. Great to grab a coffee in the centre and check on the new arrivals at the lake.
We hope to see you all soon.
Photos: Audio pens, whitethroat, ringed plover and dunlin by Jo
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