Friday, 8 February 2013

Better than Expected

On Thursday we shared cars over the Humber Bridge again, but this time we headed to a reserve 180 degrees from yesterday's. When we arrived we were greeted by one of the UK's top photographer's 4x4 in the car park - "birdmad" Dean Eades. If he was here there must have been something worth seeing, right?
All photos (c) 2013 Richard Whateley unless credited otherwise
We entered the forbiddingly narrow entrance (when you have 6 layers on) and walked around the initial circuit, but didn't see a great deal until Phil glimpsed a flock of Long-tailed Tits, and Richard spotted a single Siskin. We looked for the Great Spotted Woodpecker practice tree, but it must have crashed to the ground in the last 12 months. 
We carried on over the bridge into the main part of the reserve. Again there were more Long-tailed Tits, and some elusive Bullfinches. On the site of an old hide we tracked down some Tufted Ducks. The habitual Goldeneyes could be heard displaying but were screened from our view by higher than normal reeds.  Of course the Ruddy Ducks we normally always saw here had been culled. 
Tufted Duck
 Great Black Backed Gull
We walked to the SE tip of the reserve & while we stopped for a repeat view of a Little Grebe, Phil's imitation of a Siskin call brought 3 down into the tree directly in front of us - unfortunately they were all females. Then a Mistle Thrush could be heard faintly in the gardens outside the reserve. It remained elusive, but there were Goldfinches and Collared Doves. 
Record Shot of a Bullfinch
 Long-tailed Tit (c) 2013 Phil Todd
 Robin (c) 2013 Phil Todd
We retraced our steps for a while and then cut across between 2 lakes, where at last we found the flighty Goldeneye. There were also Shoveler, Tufted ducks, and Pochard here. On to the estuary where we saw plenty of Redshank, a Common Gull some Black-headed Gulls, and a small flock of Dunlin. Then I spotted a familiar rotund shape among the dense Hawthorn bushes. On closer inspection we found 4 Bullfinches, and everyone managed to see these, whilst very few managed to see the earlier pair. Finally, we skirted the outlandish visitor centre when a pair of Mistle Thrushes landed on the top of a lamp post near us, whilst yet another serenaded us, & them, from gardens nearby.
 Mistle Thrush

I was expecting the afternoon to be quieter, but the increasing cloud cover sent the temperatures 'soaring' a little, and the small birds continued to be found. This time we located a flock of c60 Siskins with at least 4 Redpolls. Eric found a Bullfinch and a flying Kingfisher, and we heard 2 very clear but invisible Water Rails. The tide was very high, so there weren't so many estuary birds visible, but 12 Redshank were huddled on a large pipe disgorging effluent into the  Humber.

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