Friday, 22 November 2013

The Crock of Gold

On Thursday we were able to make the long-planned trip to Tophill Low. Many of the others passed through a heavy rain shower, but I had a clear run. We started a little early as everyone had arrived in good time. Before both sessions started a Great Spotted Woodpecker called from the car park area. We used the screen to view the millpond which was 'O' reservoir. Apart from a few scattered Tufted Ducks and Black-headed Gulls the highlight was a female Goldeneye, but the light was tricky.

Whooper Swans
We carried on until we reached the back-to-back hides. On the way a call of a Dunlin could be heard, but we couldn't actually see the bird. From the SME hide we could see a pair of Curlews on South Marsh East, and a few Tufted Ducks, but very little else. A pair of Reed Buntings were fighting to the left of the hide, and a pair of Wren were exhibiting strange courtship behaviour, which included fanning the tail and drooping the wings.
As we left the hide a Bullfinch could be heard, and later he made 2 attempts to fly over us, but he gave up and went south instead. From the dog leg hide all the birds on the marsh had departed, but we had a better view of the female Goldeneye. 
Barn Owl
We went on to Watton Borrow Pits, and although there weren't as many birds here as there were a fortnight ago, there were a couple of new species, including 2 Little Egrets and a Barn Owl. Later the sun came out, which seemed to light up the owl really well. Also present were: Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Cormorants and Friday unmentionables. While we were in the hide a confiding flock of Long-tailed Tits flew right past, and some landed on the hedge underneath the hide. 

Little Egrets
 Long-tailed Tit
On the return journey there was relatively little to see, but 2 swans flying over were discovered to be Whoopers, and 2 Mistle Thrushes were in the works compound. On to the D Reservoir hide those who didn't pop into the toilet were lucky enough to see the 2 Whooper Swans, but they soon flew off in a North easterly direction. There were more Goldeneye here, including 1 drake, and at last we found some Pochard. A large flock of Lapwing appeared from the far north and with them were a decent sized flock of a Golden Plovers. 
Reed Bunting
Sparkly Wren
In the afternoon we went north and when we reached the first hide near D Woods, and immediately saw 4 Whooper Swans. They were present for 5 minutes before taking off and eventually flying off in a SW Direction. We carried on to North Marsh, but there was very little there, apart from a flock of Long-tailed Tits. We carried on to the Northern hide, and this was where the majority of birds were sheltering against the northerly wind. Unfortunately the strong light from the south meant that most birds were only silhouettes. It didn't really matter as those closest to the hide were only Coots anyway.
Whooper Swans
 Whooper Swans

We carried on to the Angus MacBean hide. There was a Canada Goose here, and a Pheasant, and that was it. We did see a couple of large Lapwing flocks above the Yorkshire Water building. On the return journey we walked on the road along the D reservoir in the hope there would be interesting geese species grazing on the field, but they were completely empty. Only a few Blue Tits inhabited the numerous hawthorn bushes. The return to the D Reservoir hide in the car park just showed a lot of choppy waves.

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