Friday, 14 March 2014

Splash of Colour Lightens the Gloom

Another day, another thick mist. This time we met on the other side of the Humber Bridge. We started off in the Main Hide. It wasn't possible to see a great deal, but we could just make out wading birds in the left-hand channel lifting up briefly and heading away from us & starting to feed among the mud. From their silhouette it was possible to make out that they were Snipe. Apart from that the only birds present appeared to be some Coot. In the afternoon the sun was out and Ken spotted the only Snipe which remained. We were all watching it when a Water Rail swam across the channel from right to left. It was now so clear you could see the black and white barring on its side. A few minutes latter it skittered back in to the main body of reeds.
We headed off through the 'green' tunnel, but there was very little to see here too. We stopped briefly in an open area where our ears were suddenly assaulted by an outpouring of song - it was a Cetti's Warbler. The next time it sang it was much further away, and it failed to stand out in the same way. It was much more distant in the afternoon. 
From the new hide, again in misty conditions, we could see a couple of Shelduck, a pair of Gadwall, and a very busy female Goldeneye. When we arrived at the river bank it was possible to see the aftermath of the devastation caused by the tidal surge on 5th December. We heard a Redshank on the estuary mid, but the mist prevented any further sightings. In the afternoon because of the improved visibility everything flew up and over the hide, giving us our best view of a female Goldeneye.   There was a Small Tortoiseshell sunning itself on the bank, and a Teal on the muddy river.  
 Small Tortoiseshell
We made our way to Reedy Hide, where the mist began to clear a little. We could see Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Teal, Cormorants, and then a male Marsh Harrier was spotted going round in circles just above the reeds. In the afternoon the improved visibility meant that we could see into the Kestrel box, and for the second year running it appeared a female Tawny Owl was ensconced on her eggs. 
Erm, a Tawny Owl...
On the Hotel Pit was a beautiful drake Goldeneye, and 3 of the party saw a pair of Great Crested Grebes. From the Hotel hide itself we saw a pair of Kingfishers. The first time it was a female, but the bird which landed near the hide for the longest time was a male as the photograph shows. Outside the hide we heard our first clear Chiffchaffs of the year, and we had another sighting of a male Marsh Harrier. The afternoon experience was pretty similar, but 3 photographers already glued into the front row, meant that views of the Kingfisher were limited. 
 Chiffchaff (c) 2014 Maggie Bruce
In the morning (only) we crossed the road to have a look at the new ponds and here we had grazing Wigeon, plus another Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Gulls, and some Pochard. A pair of Linnets flew past, and after that we called it a day, or at least a morning.

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