Today, for our final Tuesday morning of 2016 we travelled all the way to RSPB Fairburn Ings, which we should have visited last week, but illness intervened. I set off just after 7.30 because of the misty conditions, and the traffic in Hull seems to be getting worse every week. After leaving the M62 the mist turned into thick fog, so the prospects seemed rather bleak. This was also Maggie's final class, so the photos here are a showcase of her talents. Just look at the feather detail in the Kingfisher and Nuthatch - especially when you think how dark the conditions were today.
All photos (c) 2016 Maggie Bruce
As we gathered in the car park 2 Nuthatches flew overhead making their way to the feeding station. There were also some nasal sounds from the hedge in the car park, which emanated from a Willow Tit - perhaps it was going to be a little more promising after all. Finally, we had three different flyovers in the mist of Green Woodpeckers, all heading into the reserve. At the feeders a male Reed Bunting was paddling about on the concrete and 3 Willow Tits were in evidence, including one very strangely-plumaged individual. Pat had a very confiding Robin on her hand both here, and in the reserve later on.
Female Kingfisher - note the lipstick
Pickup Hide was disappointing, as there was conservation work going on in the area, but Willow Tits and Reed Buntings were still in evidence. As we walked to the Kingfisher screen we found a few Lesser Redpolls, but they were at the top of Silver Birches, and their colours couldn't really be discerned in the foggy gloom. A male Kingfisher was behind the screen, and when we returned later there was a pair and the female in particular came very close.
We walked to the highest point, and on the way enjoyed good views of a pair of Green Woodpeckers hopping around on the ground. One of them landed on a fence, and later on a branch of a Silver Birch. It also flew across a wide area with us looking down on it, from which we could admire its bright yellow rump, red head and green upperparts. Many participants were able to say that these were the best and longest views of a Yaffle that they had ever enjoyed. Later, this was matched with the prolonged and close views of the female Kingfisher.
Record Shot of Green Woodpecker through the mist
The walk to the Bob Dickens hide resulted in drake Goosanders, and a very smart Goldeneye. There were Pochard, Teal, Shoveler and Great Crested Grebes on the large lake, but the mist hampered further viewing.
When the light conditions are so bad, it's still possible to photograph birds around the feeding stations as these photos show: