On Friday and Tuesday the planned locations were dropped because of the prevailing weather, and we went to North Cave Wetlands instead. On Friday the Great Crested Grebes showed definite signs of beginning their courtship dance, but this was much less evident in the bitter cold of Tuesday. The most unusual sighting from main hide on Tuesday was a Cormorant sporting a shaggy mane and more white on its head than I've ever previously seen in the UK. It was surrounded by immature birds, so the white-headed was the only one to also sport a white patch near its thigh, indicating its ready for breeding. The Cormorant may be of the European Sinensis race, although it shows even more white than pictures of that race. However, it doesn't look as though it belongs to the southern races: lucidus or maroccanus of Africa.
Cormorant with an extraordinarily white head - Sinensis race?
(c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
Short-tailed Tit (c) 2013 Chris Cox
Long-tailed Tits & Blue Tit (left) (c) 2013 Chris Cox
There were more romantically inclined GC Grebes on Carp Lake, plus a pair of Little Grebes. After quite a bit of searching on Far Lake we did eventually locate the Redhead Smew, as it swam behind a line of Tufted Ducks, but when it spotted us it swam as quickly as it could to a more remote area of the lake.There were plenty of Lapwings on Reedbed Lake on Friday, but as this area was almost completely frozen over these had all departed on Tuesday. However, there were 3 Redshank, a pair of Shoveler, a Gadwall and 3 Little Grebes. A Reed Bunting was in the bushes near the mossy hedgerow along the road, but again this bird was absent on Tuesday.
Teal (c) 2013 Chris Cox
Rat (c) 2013 Chris Cox
All remaining pics (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
A pair of Buzzards were seen on the crest of a hill getting jiggy on Friday, but on Tuesday there was just a single example looking miserable as it sat hunched on the edge of a tree. There were a pair of Kestrels hunting over the reserve on both days, plus a male Sparrowhawk hunting near the new working near Crosslands Hide.
From Turret Hide there were several Snipe stitching for food on Tuesday, but we could only find these in the afternoon on Friday. On Friday morning in 1st hide a female Green Woodpecker was sat in the nearest small tree. Unfortunately, because of the grey weather all cameras remained in the cars. We didn't see this bird on Friday afternoon or at all on Tuesday.
Male House Sparrow