Tuesday, 20 January 2015

New Winter Location

Today we visited the new hide at Wassand for the first time. Everyone made the trip including a couple all the way from Howden, so that was 9 day tickets. We started on the long trek, and soon in the brilliant early morning sunshine we had at least 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming either side of us. One was using a far more obviously deeper resonating bough, but both bursts of noise tailed away and lasted less than a second, so they were the same species.
All Photos (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Male Marsh Harrier
We reached the gate and started walking through the woodland. This was alive with birdsong and a few calls. A Treecreeper was one of the first birds we watched. The birds were mainly common tits, but we didn't locate any Long-tailed Tits. Some Redwings took off from the side of the path near the Mere but they don't pose for decent views. As we neared the hide we flushed a Woodcock, which was seen by most participants.  
From the hide itself there were Goldeneye, Pochard, Teal, Shoveler, and one Buzzard flying along the line of trees, but there was quite a lot of ice, so the waterfowl weren't too close. However, the warden arrived, and this seemed to coincide with a corresponding increase of interesting species. The first of these was a beautifully marked male Marsh Harrier which hunted along the edge of the reeds opposites he hide. At one point it bombarded a Heron, and another time was mobbed by a Magpie. It later settled on the edge of the reeds for a preen. It's pale eye could be seen through the telescope.  
 Claws of a Treecreeper
The second bird was a Bittern which flew right toward the hide. It was very hard to see in the thick reeds, but it was possible to see it at times. On the return journey about 50 Barnacle Geese flew just over our heads towards the mere.

1st winter Drake Goldeneye
 Barnacle Geese
 Shoveler & Teal
 Herring Gulls
 Not sure, why these are even here?

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