Another day, another foul weather forecast, so again we abandoned the coastal ringing & decamped to North Cave Wetlands. It was very windy, but the precipitation wasn't as bad as predicted. On Main Lake there were hundreds of Greylag Geese with only 1 Canada Goose. After lunch a large flock of Greylags had arrived and almost concealed among the throng was a single Barnacle Goose. There were a few sleeping Pochard, but the Friday unmentionables were much more active. After careful searching a Snipe was found, but as unusual it wasn't the easiest bird for everyone to locate.
The walk round the edge of Carp Lake added Gadwall, Little Grebe, Mute Swans, but not much else. The rain began to fall so we went into Crosslands Hide for an early coffee break, and here some Tufted Ducks and Shoveler were observed. There weren't so many birds on the islands this time, with just Cormorants added from this area. As we made our way round the back circuit a few Skylarks could be heard passing over, and later 2 birds were actually heard and seen singing.
Far Lake had more Gadwall, and plenty of Wigeon, and some Coot, and timid Friday Unmentionables.
Reedbed Lake was fairly quiet with just more sleeping Shoveler, some feeding Gadwall and a few Lapwings - a single Redshank was on the edge of an island before it flew onto another.
There were quite a lot of birds in the hedgerow - a charm of Goldfinches, a couple of Reed Buntings, and the odd Blue and Great Tit. An exaltation of Skylarks were seen heading south, and some silent birds which may have been Meadow Pipits.
From Turret hide there were plenty of Teal, but Anthony also found another Snipe. There was a very smart Shoveler here, and one or two other wildfowl. A Buzzard was seen hovering over the distant hillside, before it plunged into a single tree with its talons extended. Later, Brian spotted another bird of prey overtaking a Woodpigeon, which he thinks may have been a Sparrowhawk. A Stoat rang quickly into thick cover behind the hide, but we never saw it again, so didn't observe the outcome of its probable hunting foray. As we exited the hide I could hear a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling form some distance away, but unfortunately we never saw the bird.
Shaggy Ink Cap
Rooks & Jackdaws
The final hide was pretty unexciting, but as a compensation plenty of participants eagerly texted their orders to the Wildbird for their lunch.
The afternoon started very well with a Stoat before we had even left our cars behind. Little did we know at the time that this was to be the high point of the whole afternoon. At least the weather was a lot brighter than the morning.