Wednesday was a rerun of last Tuesday with the long slog to Castleford. We were leaving our cars at the Lin Dike car park when a Jay flew over - little did we know that would be one of the best sightings of the whole morning! There were no sign of the Little Grebes from the hide this time, so we had to put up with some nearby Lapwings instead. We could also see Teal, Cormorant, Herons, Mute Swans, Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler and Gadwall. We carried on to another pool we didn't visit last week. There were better views of all the same birds here, with the addition of Little Grebes. A cream crown Marsh Harrier flew fairly close to the hide and we saw at least 3 Buzzards all in the sky at the same time.
Record shot of Kingfisher
We headed back to the visitor centre and passed a parked car on the road with the distinctive figure of a bird forum member standing next to it. He was staring into the sunshine through his scope and was about to fix on to an eclipse Garganey. It seemed a rather dangerous place to leave 3 more vehicles, so we carried on to the visitor centre. When we get there we had a look at the kingfisher screen with no result, and had a scan from Pick-up hide, but there was little of excitement to see there either.
As last week the Lin Dike area was much less productive in the afternoon, and it was so poor this morning I thought I'd better not go there again after lunch. The afternoon group had a look from Pick-up Hide where there wasn't a great deal to see, but Les did very well to locate a distant Snipe, but his young Moorhen wasn't anything to write home about. A possible Little Owl wasn't definitely confirmed. We went to the Kingfisher screen, and sure enough after only a few minutes we saw a very active immature male Kingfisher. Eventually, it flew very close to the hide, perching only a few feet away from us. Some people had only seen them whizzing past, so this was their best ever sighting, and I think it's the best example I've seen this year.
Record shot of Willow Warbler
Shoveler in Eclipse
Unusual Bee Species
We carried on the long hike to Bob Dickens hide. This was almost completely bereft of birds, though we did encounter a Long-tailed Tit flock which were accompanied by a single bright yellow juvenile Willow Warbler. When we got to the hide there was an enormous flotilla of Coots, plus many of the same water birds we'd seen in the morning. There was an eclipse Shoveler, which displayed some extraordinary colours because of a large number of missing feathers. Eileen and Sally both shouted out at the same time when they spotted another Kingfisher flying low over the water on the far side of the lake.