Common Blue Damselflies - in a Love Heart Posture
Common Whitethroat Rook
Record shot of Reed Bunting
Record shot of Little Grebe
On Saturday morning I met up with about 10 members of the Friends of the Humber Bridge Country Park to lead them during a wildlife walk around North Cave Wetlands (YWT). The morning started well with a Rook preening itself in a dead Elm tree just above the rendezvous site, a Stock Dove flew over, and a Whitethroat was singing fairly nearby. We were later able to get a really good view of the Whitethroat, as it belted out its cheerful ditty, and indulged in its puppet-on-a-string song flight. Noisy Black-headed Gulls and young Starlings seemed to be everywhere, meanwhile the more discreet sounds of Sand Martins punctuated the air above our heads. A few Swifts were flying even higher in the sky and the sound of distant Skylarks filtered down to us. The more nasal tree Sparrows squabbled in the hedge, and when we reached South Hide the best birds were a pair of Avocet, plus Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, and some Tufted Ducks. The Little Grebes which normally feed directly under the hide at this time of year, seem to have been wiped out during the winter.
However, when we walked round to Carp Lake there were 3 Little Grebes, who got over- excited until one of their number was chased away. Around the perimter of Carp & Far Lakes we were only able to add singing Chaffinches, and a Song Thrush. In contrast Reedbed Lake was home to several noisy Reed Warblers, at least one of whom showed itself until even the slowest wielder of bins managed to get a good sighting. We had to walk quite a bit further - to the path between Snipe Field & Maze Field to enjoy absolutely stunning views of an overactive Sedge Warbler. He was going into so many extravagent songflights, which smelled of desperation, it seems probable that he hasn't yet found a partner for the 2010 breeding season. From Turret Hide we had a really good views of a young Avocet chick guarded by its parent, plus better views of the main wildlfowl. A new species for the day was a pair of Shoveler - the drake's previously pure white breast was now stippled with dark marks as the coming eclipse moult plumage begins to make inroads into its pristine breeding plumage. We were also able to see some Ringed plovers from this hide.
Several other species were spotted flying over, or were heard singing during our 2-and-a-half hour walk, bringing the bird total to c.52 species. There were also several species of butterfly - incl Common Blue, Speckled Wood & Orange Tip, and a few dragonflies - Four-Spotted Chasers & Blue-tailed Damselflies, but the only mammals seen were dozens of Rabbits. Although the session lasted longer than anticipated, I trust everyone enjoyed themselves - they certainly appeared to pay close attention, and bombarded me with appropriate questions. You can find out more about the Friends of the Humber Bridge Country park here: http://www.graydk.karoo.net/