Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Looney Tunes

How to end the Tuesday groups with a bang? The Snow Buntings have departed from Paull, but there were 2 Great White Egrets at Hornsea or a Black-throated Diver at North Cave Wetlands. As the weather looked cold and miserable, I didn't think it was right to inflict the very cold east coast on everyone, so we went to North Cave Wetlands instead. 
We walked to South hide first, and on the way we had quite good views of an immature male Marsh Harrier. We sat down quietly in the hide, and there was the Black-throated Diver at the back behind the pontoon. It swam all round the lake and at times rose up in the water and flapped its wings, and even flew off & left the lake altogether. However after a few minutes it did return, and during our time there it eventually came right in front of the hide, and everyone got decent views. It was another dismal grey day, but it was possible to discern the faint white semi-circles on the back of what is a juvenile bird. In ten years of these classes, this was the first ever sighting of this particular species. It was a 'lifer' for the vast majority of participants, and was certainly the best Black-throated Diver I've ever seen.

Black-throated Diver (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
 Black-throated Diver (c) 2013 Chris Cox
 All Remaining Pics (c) 2013 Maggie Bruce
Black-throated Diver
 Black-throated Diver & Great Crested Grebes
 Black-throated Diver
A Snipe flew in and there were a few Pochard, Tufted Ducks, and a pair of Great Crested Grebes sharing the lake with the diver. Apparently, if we'd been half an hour earlier we'd have also seen a Kingfisher!
There were a few Lapwing from Crosslands hide, but not much else of note. 
Great Crested Grebes
 Black-headed Gull & Great Crested Grebe
 Cormorant & Lapwing
 Record Shot of a Fieldfare
On a circuit of the reserve there were Gadwall, but not much else on Carp Lake. We found a pair of Bullfinches in the hedgerow, but the severe diggings on the other side of the hedge seemed to have frightened off most other birds. As we neared the furthest edge many birds were flying out ahead of us. This were mainly Fieldfare and Redwing, but the light conditions prevented decent views. There was some gentle twittering in the alder trees next to us, and eventually we all enjoyed stunning views of a confiding Goldcrest. It was actually so close you didn't need binoculars to watch it.

Record Shot of Fieldfare
 Greylag Geese
Reedbed lake was almost bereft of birds, but we did notice a Common Gull and 2 drake Shovelers. We could see the Marsh Harrier again, which was flushing group after group of Teal.
From Turret hide there were dozens of Teal, but very little else. 
From First Hide we could see plenty of Wigeon, which seemed to be absent from all the other areas. We scoured the area for Snipe, but were unable to find a single example. A day without a Little Grebe at NCW is slightly unusual, but we failed to find one today. 

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