Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Going Misty-Eyed

On Tuesday we abandoned both Wheldrake Ings and North Duffield Carrs, because one was too muddy, and the other almost completely devoid of birds. We travelled to North Cave Wetlands instead. It transpired that almost everyone left home in bright sunshine, but we all hit fog at North Cave. It only slowly evaporated during our visit.
All photos today are misty record shots (c) 2014 Maggie Bruce
Red Kite
We neared 1st Hide and suddenly a Green Woodpecker bounded ahead of us in the mist. As we peered through the murk we could discern another on the right hand verge, and it bounced into the road before disappearing with its yellow rump the last thing seen before the mist swallowed it up. Only a few minutes later first one bounded past us on the other side of the hedge, shortly followed by the other. 
Green Woodpecker
From the hide itself there had been an increase in Pochard since our last visit, and there were quite a few Tufted Ducks and a single Great Crested Grebe. There were 3 Lapwing on the pontoon, and we could hear the life support bleeps of Teal, although they could barely be seen through the mist. What looked like a flock of Golden Plovers flew south, but there wasn't really much else to see. 
Great Crested Grebe
 Tufted Duck
 Teal (& Friday Unmentionables)
 Mute Swan
We began to walk around the perimeter of the reserve, and another (?) Green Woodpecker flew out of the bushes into the SW corner of Carp lake. On the lake itself there were plenty of Gadwall croaking like frogs. We crept towards the Yaffle and had several views as it fed along the right hand side if the path to Far Lake. We located a small flock of Siskins feeding on an Alder tree, and Rose spotted a distant Song Thrush.  
Female Siskin
Far Lake had an island again and here there were some Shoveler, Wigeon and Gadwall. On the left hand side of the path were a pair of confiding Goldcrests. They were very busy looking for insects and flicking their wings, but I think everyone managed to get a decent views before they were subsumed into a passing flock of Long-tailed Tits. 
Marsh Harrier
At the corner of Far Lake we refound Rose's Song Thrush and in the field towards the Barn Owl box we managed to see a Mistle Thrush. After turning the corner David and Steve drew my attention towards some brown blobs in a field near a Pheasant. It was very difficult, but because no bright stripes or other markings could be observed they were probably Grey Partridges. A single Snipe flew over the lake, while another dropped down into the reeds just infront of us. Suddenly a big, butch sleeping Shelduck on Reedbed Lake took to the air, and we realised a Marsh Harrier was quartering the area, and had also flushed all the smaller birds. Something seemed to be hanging from its talons, but again the mist hampered a clear view. As we carried along the path a small charm of a Goldfinches flew up. We were surprised at this point when one stalwart mentioned that she dislikes them as they are too flashy and red & yellow isn't an aesthetically pleasing combination!  A couple of Reed Buntings disappeared into the long vegetation, while 3 Skylarks disported themselves over the large field to our left.
 Common Gull
 Shelduck (not Shell Duck as some people write in log books!)
When we reached Turret hide there were relatively few birds to see, but the Marsh Harrier landed on a low area of broken reeds, and scoured the air looking for prey or trouble. While we were watching that someone spotted a Red Kite heading right towards the hide from a westerly direction it came quite close and flew around for a while, before heading back the way it had come.
Marsh Harrier
 Back End of a Snipe
From the final hide the most noticeable birds were a large group of Wigeon grazing on the grassland. However, Liz's sharp eyes eventually spotted a Snipe before the bacon butties beckoned.

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