The Green Heart of Poringland


LIz Dack is considered to be one of Norfolk's leading wildlife photographers.

Her stunning work regularly graces a number of prestigious media outlets including those of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society.  Her work also features in local newspapers including the Eastern Daily Press. 

Liz has also been a long-time volunteer with NWT and helps regularly at the Trust's education and family events. 

So we are delighted that Liz can often find time in her busy schedule to visit Poringland Lakes, usually armed with her trusty Nikon camera.  Better still, Liz usually drops us a few lines to tell us about her visit and what she's seen. 

"I am passionate about nature and wildlife and have combined all of this with my photography hobby. I love visiting Poringland Lakes. There's always lot to see and lovely people to chat to" said Liz.  

So here are Liz’s Lakes Reflections.

Liz Captures the Lakes’ Stunning Beauty

Liz Dack’s visits to Poringland Lakes are always keenly anticipated.

Although spending much of her time as a volunteer for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and taking wonderful photographs for a host of publications including the Eastern Daily Press, Liz found time from her busy schedule to visit the lakes yesterday.

Armed with her trusty camera, Liz has again captured the flora and fauna in all its stunning beauty.  Unfortunately space prevents us from publishing all of Liz’s wonderful photographs but here’s a flavour of her work. 

Liz Makes Welcome Return 

Now well on the way to making a full recovery from her knee operations, top wildlife photographer and trustee Liz Dack made a welcome return to the lakes, together with her trusty camera. 

"It was a great to get up to the lakes without a pair of crutches, never mind being stuck in the house for several weeks following surgery" explained Liz. "I certainly was given a great welcome back by all the wildlife!

"It was great to see so many goldcrests flying about.  They are so fast, difficult to photograph and not a bird you see very often. They were congregating around Noble lake and there were a few by the entrance gate. 

"Another bird you don’t see much at the lakes is a bullfinch, in fact this one, a beautiful male, is the first I have ever seen there.  There was a little wren on the edge of Gudgeon lake and moorhens and two mallards on the conservation pond.  It was great to see the bird life becoming more active.  You really feel Spring is just round the corner.

"I took over 200 photographs during the afternoon and here's a few for the website" said Liz. 

Simply Superb

Top wildlife photographer Liz Dack has taken some stunning photos in her time but with this trio of sunset images, surely Liz has surpassed even her high standards.

Although obviously not taken at Poringland, these magnificent pictures just had to be shown to a wider audience.  Simply superb! 

Goldcrests Brighten Dull Day

Regular visitor Liz Dack paid another visit to the lake this week.  

Despite the freezing cold weather, Liz still managed to capture some wonderful images of the lakes’ wildlife.

“I saw quite a few birds probably feeding up in case the weather gets really bad” said Liz.  

“I was pleased to see one of my favourite little birds, the Goldcrest.  There were two of them flitting around in and out of the gorse and the trees.  The Jays were making a lot of noise, digging up the acorns they had buried and the magpies were noisy too.”   

Always Something Interesting To See at the Lakes

Resident wildlife photographer Liz Dack was delighted with her latest visit to Poringland Lakes.

I managed to get some interesting photos of not so common species” said Liz.

“After a wonder around the lakes, I was on my way back to sit and chat to the anglers when I noticed a flock of gulls,   Looking up at them I saw two buzzards soaring high up circling.  As they flew over Gudgeon Lake, I managed to get some photos.

“After a sit and chat then another walk I spotted a dove sized bird fly into a tree.  Going closer to investigate it, I recognised it to be a mistle thrush (pictured below).  They are larger than a song thrush.  Again I managed to get a few photos.  I was pleased as they are not as common as some birds we see around the lakes” explained Liz.

“Finally I heard and saw a long tailed bird fly into a tree.  Knowing it was a wagtail, I again went closer to look at it, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was very yellow,  a grey wagtail (pictured below).  Again not as common as a pied wagtail but a lovely and attractive bird to see at the lakes.  

“I was wondering why it was calling and making a such a noise as it’s not the breeding season nor has it a nest to protect.   I looked around to see if a cat was about and then upwards.  There again was a buzzard, flying fairly low for a bird which is normally above the clouds.

“Turning my camera around, I again managed a photo although the light wasn't very good,   As it flew off, the grey wagtail, again went about its business.

“A very lovely surprise of uncommon species.  As I have said on several occasions, always something to see at the lakes. 

Diamonds in the Sunlight  

Regular visitor and renowned wildlife photographer Liz Dack paid another visit to the lakes earlier this week and again captured some stunning pictures of the wildlife and plants that abound at Poringland Lakes.  

“The sunshine has brought out all the lovely dragon and damselflies” said Liz.  “There is a huge variety.  I found it really interesting watching the female dipping and laying her eggs in the lake when suddenly a damselfly came and sat on top of it!  I had never seen this before.  To add to the intrigue, several red-eyed damselflies also came to investigate.   

“There was another surreal and really beautiful moment when I spotted a feather floating on the lake with water drops on it.  It sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight,   but then I have a great imagination!” smiled Liz.  

“There was lots of colour with all the different flowers on and surrounding the lakes including Water Mint, Red Clover, Trefoil and various lilies which look magnificent at the moment.   There are still some lovely shades of purple around Noble Lake, Vipers Bugloss, Speedwell and Teasels reaching up to the sky.   

“Whilst talking to one of the anglers, the resident heron came circling around and was going to land until he spotted us!  He was so close I couldn't get him all in my camera frame but I did manage a snap.  His transparent wings looked beautiful again the cloudless blue sky.  

“My trip drew to a close after a family, a lady with three daughters who live next to the lakes, came to talk to me about caterpillars!  We chatted about what they could see in and around the lakes, the fish and how the anglers caught them.   

“David and Peter let them handle the maggots.  Then Peter caught a fish and asked if they wanted to hold it.  The oldest young lady was keen to, so with Peter’s help she was proud to be photographed with it.  We talked about the family day dates and how popular they are.  They are hoping they can book in before their family holiday.”

Snake Spot Made My Day  

When I popped down to the lakes this week, it was a beautiful sunny day but very quiet as far as the birds and butterflies were concerned.    However there were lots of dragonflies and damselflies flitting around.   

The foxgloves on the bank are now flowering and will soon be a wonderful blaze of colour.    I love all the yellow around the Duffield lake.  It’s fringed with beautiful buttercups which dance on the breeze in the sunshine.  

Just as I was going to photograph them I was distracted by some movement at the bottom of the reeds.  Getting my camera focused in anticipation of what I thought was coming next made my day.  I was right!!     I saw the sliding body under the water and then the head appeared as a very large grass snake swam across the lake.  

Not being able to move quickly, I walked around the lake hoping to get it swimming towards me.  Unfortunately it was faster than me!!  It reached the bank and then turned and swam back.  It was fabulous to see.  I love watching these reptiles using their forked tongues to sniff the air.   

The birdsfoot trefoil alongside other little yellow flowers, carpets the gorse at the back lake.   It was so peaceful.   Suddenly my silence broken my when I realised the only angler I saw there, Ryan, had caught a large fish.     

I was expecting several butterflies but was disappointed.  It’s quite unusual not to see them as it was so sunny.  It was lovely though to see lots of cinnabar moths.  At first sight those red stripes appear to be on a jet black body until the sun brings out the green in them.  They are stunning as they flit around and find a warm stone to rest on.  It’s one moth species we are lucky enough to see in daylight, unlike most moths which only come out at night.

Marsh Marigolds Brighten Dull Day

Lakes photographer Liz Dack made a brief visit to the lakes on a dull and cloudless day but still managed to capture some of the beauty of Poringland Lakes.  

“There wasn’t much sun this morning to bring out the dragonflies and butterflies” reported Liz.

 “However there was lots of colour around the lake with the beautiful Marsh Marigolds (above) framing the edges alongside other wildflowers like Meadow Saxifrage (below) reaching up to the light.” 

Lakes Alive with Birdsong 

I went up to the lakes again today.  It was a lovely day and the sun was shining so I didn’t want miss the opportunity.  It was brilliant! 

I wish I had taken my wide angle lens as the lakes were frozen over and the whole site looked beautiful.  It was alive with bird song. 

Two robins were following each other around and collecting food.  I think they were both males.  They sang continually.  The blue tits were pairing up and checked out nest box four.   Then the loud decibels of a wren droned them all out as it came out singing and swaying gently on the end of the silver birch branch.  A female blackbird came to investigate and posed for the camera on the tree stump. 

As I was taking its photo I recognised the sound of one of my favourite birds, our smallest UK bird, the goldcrest.   I excitedly scanned the trees and found it flitting along towards the fir trees.  They are so hard to capture on camera - so small and fast.  I felt chuffed I managed to get a picture. 

As I was making my way back to the car, a blue tit stole the limelight by deciding to bathe and admire its own reflection in the puddle!!  

Just when you feel you have had a great productive time, three long-tailed tits flew into the birch trees.   What a great end to a lovely visit.  I'm so pleased to have this wildlife haven so close to home.


I forgot to mention how the weather has brought everything forward.  For example the bull rushes, or should I say reed mace to use the correct name, has started to burst and expose its seeds.  The yellow gorse is so cheerful and bright. 

Lakes Bathed in Winter Sunshine 

Wildlife photographer Liz Dack paid another visit to the lakes a couple of days ago and once again captured some stunning pictures, not only of the wildlife but of the lakes themselves, bathed in the glow of winter sunshine. 

“It was beautiful at the lakes this afternoon as the sun was going down.  I stood a while watching a squirrel finding and digging up acorns then eating them with gusto.   The magpies were pairing up as were the robins.  A pair of pheasants, looking beautiful, strutted around contentedly.  There was still a lot of snow laying around.  It looked wonderful” enthused Liz. 

The grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is a very familiar animal in the UK and can be seen regularly throughout the year at Poringland Lakes.  It was introduced from North America during the late 19th century and since then has displaced the native red squirrel across most of England and Wales. 

Grey squirrels are mainly herbivorous, eating acorns and hazel nuts, berries, fungi and even bark, buds and shoots. On rare occasions when plant food is very scarce they will eat insects, smaller rodents, bird eggs and nestlings. 

Grey squirrels breed twice a year, between January and April and, if food is plentiful, they may have a second litter in the summer.  There are normally two to six young in each litter. The gestation period is about 44 days. The young are weaned at seven weeks and leave the nest after ten weeks. 

Grey squirrels build a large, untidy looking nest, or drey, in the treetops or hollow tree trunks. The drey is usually lined with moss, thistledown, dried grass, and feathers.  Observant visitors to the lakes may be able to spot a couple of squirrel drays. 

Squirrels collect nuts and seeds in the autumn and bury them in many scattered hiding places or “caches” around the wood. They have a highly-developed spatial memory and acute sense of smell, which together aid them in finding the caches even weeks or months later. Even so, many caches remain uneaten each year allowing the seeds and nuts to grow, so helping to disperse the trees through the landscape. 

Jay for January 

Our visiting naturalist and well known wildlife photographer Liz Dack visited the lakes earlier in the week and reported seeing a pair of jays enjoying the sunshine between the rain showers. 

“There was also a beautiful song thrush singing a trill of different songs” said Liz.  “It was lovely to stand and listen to.” 

Although they are the most colourful members of the crow family, jays (Garrulus glandarius) are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover.  However, they are a relatively common sight at the lakes, probably attracted by the oak trees and the availability of acorns.


Jays are famous for their acorn feeding habits and in the autumn you can often see them burying a cache of acorns for retrieving later when times get hard.  A single bird buries several thousand acorns each year, playing a crucial role in the spread of oak woodlands. 

Jays can be seen all year round but are more obvious in autumn when they travel most in search of acorns, beech mast and hazelnuts to bury.  They eat mainly acorns, nuts, seeds and insects but also eat nestlings of other birds and small mammals. 

Like other crows, the jay was persecuted by gamekeepers in its traditional habitat where it took the eggs and young birds of game birds, but also embarrassingly by fishermen who used its brightly coloured feathers for fly-fishing. 

The move into urban woodlands has provided them with a safer habitat and, compared with the jays in the countryside, jays in towns are doing well.  Still the jays at Poringland Lakes seem to be thriving.  See if you can spot a pair next time you visit. 

The Lady Wears Lipstick! 

Top photographer Liz Dack made another welcome visit to the lakes recently and was lucky enough to spot one of our ‘resident’ kingfishers. 

“As I stood chatting to one of the anglers, I saw a kingfisher dart by very quickly” said Liz.

 “Watching where it landed, I hastily moving around to the middle lake where I saw it in the willow tree and managed a couple of photos before it flew to the next willow tree where I managed another photo.  Unfortunately the photograph is not brilliant.  The bird was a long way off even for my large lens” explained Liz. 

“It’s a female bird.  You can tell because the bottom of the bill is orange/red.  A male has an all black bill.  Easy way to remember is the lady wears lipstick!! 

Buzzing with Wildlife

Despite a hectic week, I managed to get down to the lakes again yesterday.

Not only do the lakes look a picture at the moment – it’s buzzing with lots of wildlife.    The foxgloves are absolutely beautiful.  I should have taken a photo with my wide angle lens as it would make a great picture for a jigsaw puzzle.  

Like the foxgloves, the Viper's Bugloss was buzzing with bees, their pollen sacks full of nectar as well as the pollen covering their little fury bodies.


The young blue tit fledglings are looking very healthy having now left the nest box and feeding themselves.  

A large carp was taking a leisurely swim away from the fishermen at the bottom lake.  I stood several minutes watching it swimming along behind a shoal of tiddlers. 

The azure damselflies were mating on a reed.  It was wonderful to watch, their bodies twisting and turning into making shapes like the letter E and then turning round to make a heart shape.  Simply magical.

More Stunning Pics 

Our ‘resident’ photographer Liz Dack paid another visit to the lakes recently and was rewarded with some simply stunning photographs. 

Even by her own high standards, Liz was thrilled with her efforts. 

“I was pleased to have got some lovely unusual photos.  On arrival I was welcomed by a Green Woodpecker.  Unfortunately he saw me first so I didn’t manage to photograph him.  I spotted the Heron who arrived at 07.15 am   I crept up on him before he spotted me.  

“It was lovely to watch the Blue Tits going in and out of the nest box.  They are obviously feeding young as they came out with little pooh sacks or fecal sac to give them their proper name.  Clearly they like to keep a tidy house! 

“I saw and photographed my first Painted Lady butterfly of the year. Several Cinnabar Moths and Small Copper butterflies continually flitted around beside the middle lake. 

“My favourite of the day has to be watching the two fledgling Pied Wagtails twitting and calling for food.  The parent was continually back and forth feeding them.  No time to admire its reflection these days!  It was just beautiful to sit and watch the fluffy little baby wagging its tail like wagtails do! 

“Nature is simply wonderful, so beautiful.” 

Editor’s Note – Thank you so much Liz for sharing your stunning photographs and reports with us.  We are really lucky to have you on board.

Buzzards at Ten O'clock 

Highlight of the visit had to be seeing three buzzards soaring on a thermal high above the lakes.  They were too high to get a close-up photo but four of us watched in awe as they gracefully circled above our heads.  Maybe we’ll see them again another time and I can get a better photo.

The bird life is simply amazing.  Beside the buzzards, I spotted a brightly coloured jay which appears to be nesting.  The tits and robins are continually exploring the newly introduced bird boxes and the squawking magpies are ever-present.  A Pied Wagtail busily bobbed along the water’s edge, stopping only to admire its reflection in the water! 

The flowers are now responding to the warmth of the sun.  The Marsh Marigolds look simply stunning.  I love the Marsh Marigolds.  They are one my favourite flowers.

The lovely golden yellow is so bright and cheery on a dull day.  They stand along the lakeside like giant buttercups and seem to flower for ages. 

The Water Crowfoot is also starting to establish itself, especially in Duffield lake where their delicate white flowers make a wonderful display. 

Talking of delicate, the butterflies are now really coming into their own.  We are blessed with a wide variety of butterflies and moths at Poringland Lakes.  The mixed vegetation really attracts them, especially the recently planted Buddleia. 

I spotted several Orange Tip butterflies on the Ground Ivy and Garlic Mustard.  They are just beautiful.  The green lace underside looks so delicate on something so small and fragile. 

I went to the lakes hoping to see a grass snake – and I was not disappointed!  Right on cue, one swam with that familiar meandering style, across the lake.  Although they instil fear in some people, they are harmless and a simply wonderful creature. 

I love visiting Poringland Lakes.  It's great to see what lengths people go to when they are passionate about protecting and looking after our beautiful countryside and wildlife.  

Poringland Lakes in my estimation is not just lakes for fishing but a real haven for wildlife, a place to sit and enjoy the lovely surroundings and, if like me you are a chatterbox, a place to catch up with whatever you like to talk about with the friendly people I always seem to meet there. 

It's so lovely to have Poringland Lakes on my doorstep so I can pop up whenever I like and the wonder of what and who I will see there!