Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Bad Weather Alternative

Yesterday we should have been walking along a slow, gentle canal, but the previous day a flood warning was given out for the area by the Environment Agency & more rain was forecast for today, so we switched to North Cave Wetlands.  
Those who didn’t arrive really early were kept waiting as cement was added to the foundations of the new gates, which are to be SE & SW corners of the reserve.  The place is blighted on a night by lowlifes who do hand- rake turns, write graffiti in the hides & have even caused damage in them in the past.  A traffic jam started on the approach road, but the early birds were able to watch the many low-flying hirundines & a Bar-tailed Godwit which flew over the road at about 9.30.  One of the few birds seen was a Red-legged Partridge, which ran away from the approaching group.
In South Hide the northerly wind was blowing straight in & there weren’t that many wildfowl on the water apart from Tufted Ducks, a single Pochard, and a snoozing Great Crested Grebe. We were buffeted by the strong winds, but a few Willow Warblers and Blackcaps were still gamely singing.  The crop of Groundsel was wondered at & admired.  A couple of Lapwings were seen in a field & some participants believe they spotted some young Lapwing chicks.  A flock of 6 Shelducks flew fairly low over our heads on an unknown mission, whilst a few Skylarks flew up briefly before disappearing in the grass.
From Turret Hide the best birds were the Bar-tailed Godwit which had taken up residence on Top Scrape, and a singing Reed Warbler which was visible perched halfway up a reed.  There were Avocets of course, but they seemed rather overwhelmed by the many Black-headed Gulls.  A pair of Great Crested Grebes were espied building a nest, and a pair of Little Grebes were heard chittering, but most of the other birds seemed to be struggling against the wind.  Passerine birds were relatively few in number because they were almost certainly sheltering in hedges.
In the afternoon the weather took a turn for the worse, so instead of making a complete circuit of the reserve we went hide hopping instead.  We saw most of the birds that the am crowd did, but one addition was a very smart male Ruff, and better views of the Bar-tailed Godwit through a state-of-the-art-telescope.

Bar-tailed Godwit [an ideal view from Spurn]
 Bar-tailed Godwit [as we saw it yesterday]
 Great Crested Grebe
 House Martin
 Sand Martin
 Sand Martin
 Black-headed Gull

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