Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Testing the Optics

The Wednesday groups, especially those in the morning must have wondered what they were doing driving to Potteric Carr when the mist continued to thicken the nearer we reached Doncaster. 
We arrived at the feeding station where the star turn was a very close Jay followed by a pair of Willow Tits. The male Reed Buntings were looking very smart, but so too were the females. Meanwhile, the young males looked a lot scruffier, as their black bibs were only just starting to show. In the afternoon the Jay was still present, but the Willow Tits failed to show.

All pics (c) 2013 Tony Robinson
Another highlight were the 2 Kingfishers on Mother drain. Unfortunately, these were on the very edge of visibility, and not everyone was able to make them out. It wasn't clear if this was a failure of their optics, or of their eyesight.
Not many birds could be seen at all from Duchess hide, so there seemed no point in going to Piper Marsh. Instead we checked on Childers Hide, Old Ea, and we were able to walk in a more leisurely manner than usual. After the proliferation of Treecreepers there 3 weeks ago, it was rather surprising we didn't find a single individual today.
A confiding Goldcrest was outside Childers Hide with a group of Long-tailed Tits, including one like the tiny chap at North Cave Wetlands - without a tail. Is this the latest feature of Long-tailed Tits at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves?

Willow Tit
 Coal Tit & Reed Bunting
 Sub-adult Lesser Black-Backed Gull??
 In the mist we had a slightly unusual gull today. It wasn't anything like as dark as a full adult Lesser Black backed Gull, but was far darker than a Herring Gull. It appeared to have pink legs at first, but later they looked yellow. The bill had a very distinctive mark. Was it anything more than a sub-adult Lesser Black Backed Gull? In the afternoon it had moved over to Huxter Well. It seemed to look a little larger than the Herring Gull nearby, but certainly wasn't as large as a Great Black backed Gull. Any constructive comments on this bird would be welcomed.
In all we saw 41 species before lunch with a similar amount in the afternoon, but at least after dinner everyone was able to see the Kingfisher and most of the other species a lot more clearly.

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