Thursday, 7 February 2013

Saved by a Bittern

On Wednesday we shared cars over the Humber Bridge & met at the new reserve car park. We'd obtained  permission to visit the site, but with the strict instructions that we didn't use the  old reserve car park. In order to comply with this restriction we shared full cars over a heavily potholed road to the river bank. It was very windswept as we walked along the river bank, but the Redshank were still searching for food. We hurried along before we plunged into the hawthorn bushes. We were now out of the wind, but it was very threatening behind us, and as we settled in the 1st hide a severe snow shower set in. 

Bittern - Eileen must have had a view like this
 Bittern in flight - similar to the view yesterday
 Bittern in flight - on a much warmer day
 Bittern - an actual record shot from yesterday (c) 2013 Aileen Urquhart
 There wasn't a lot to see in the snow storm, but it was possible to discern: a Great Crested Grebe, 2 Cormorants, some Tufted Ducks and too many Coots.

A walk around the perimeter failed to add many extra species, but the deeper pool contained a pair of Goldeneye and some Tufted Ducks. When we reached the next hide there wasn't much to see apart from several Gadwall. The kingfisher failed to put in an appearance, but in the strong winds it wasn't really surprising. A hike to the biggest hide looked as though it was going to be disappointing too, but after a long wait a Bittern flew from just to the right of the hide under Eileen's nose before it landed in the reeds directly in front of the hide - never to be seen again!
The walk to the new hide failed to add any new species, but there was a distant flock of small waders (Dunlin?) flying around the mudflats. We shared cars back to the original car park and hurried across to the car park hide before an punishing sleet storm set in. We waited for it to clear, and marvelled as a bouncing flock of c 50 Siskins hesitated as they tried to land in some Alder trees. Then a small brownish bird of prey was seen. It was a male Marsh Harrier still a long way from its full adult plumage. It was a great way to end the session. 
The best bird of the afternoon was found by Les: a male Bullfinch
Propping up the Bottom of the Blog

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