Friday, 20 February 2009

Tophill Low

This morning we went to Tophill Low nature reserve. There was quite a lot of high cloud and we didn't see the predicted sunny spells, but it was a mild day and wonderful for a winter walk. Tophill Low is a purpose-built nature reserve around water treatment works owned by Yorkshire Water. There are two deep water reservoirs (called 'O' and 'D' reservoirs due to their shape), ponds and marshes with islands, reed beds and wooded areas. The diversity of habitats attract a range of bird species (150 are regular in the reserve) and also dragonflies and other insects. There is a visitor centre (now in need of some refurbishment) with a viewing area into a bird feeding station next to a pond and a meadow. There are 12 hides, several of them accessible to wheelchairs (and pushchairs!).
The feeding station was busy today and we had a good look at rabbits chasing each other, a great spotted woodpecker, chaffinches, goldfinches, greenfinches, dunnocks, moorhens and blackbirds. The kids were entranced (the rabbits, specially, were a hit!)
 The mashes were teeming with birds and we saw a range of species. We walked around the 'O' reservoir and the various ponds around it, and also had a look at the Watton Nature Reserve.
A large flock of lapwings takes flight from South Marsh East
Little Grebe
Flowering gorse

The day's bird list:

1. Little Grebe. South Marsh East (SME)
2. Cormorant. Watton Nature Reserve.
3. Greylags.
4. Canada geese.
5. Shelduck. SME.
6. Mallard.
7. Wigeon. SME.
8. Shoveler. SME.
9. Pochard. SME.
10. Tufted duck/scaup?
11. Buzzard. Flying over Car Park.
12. Kestrel. Watton village.
13. Pheasant. Around visitor centre
14. Moorhen. FS.
15. Coot. SME.
16. Lapwing. More than 100 flushed from South East Marsh.
17. Redshank. SME.
18. Black-headed gulls. Bev rd. one carrying something, others chasing.
19. Woodpigeon. Visitor centre.
20. Collared doves. Singing, one carring stick in Dunswell.
21. Green Woodpecker. Laughing in flight, pair.
22. Great Spotted Woodpecker. Feeding Station (FS).
23. Dunnock. FS
24. Robin. singing everywhere.
25. Blackbird. FS. Also, when we are leaving a singing male from the aerial in front of the house.
26. Song Thrush. FS. Eating of the meadow.
27. Long-Tailed Tit. FS.
28. Coal tit. FS. Feeders
29. Great tit.
30. Blue tit.
31. Magpie. Roundabout.
32. Rooks on nests Woodmansey.
33. Tree sparrow FS.
34. Chaffinches. FS.
35. Greenfinches.FS.
36. Goldfinches. FS.

The Reserve's website, including a map, at Yorkshire Water.

View Larger Map

Monday, 16 February 2009

Humber Bridge Country Park in the snow

After lunch we head for a walk in the Country Park. There is still quite a lot of snow in places, although it feels mild. In the field next to Riverside Cottage, Mistle Thrushes and Redwings feed. We have taken some bird food with us and when we get to the feeding station we put some on the feeders. Almost instantly several Robins fall around us and start eating, followed by Blue Tits, Great Tits, Dunnocks and a pair of Blackbirds. A Song Thrush, oblivious to this frenzied activity, keeps singing enthusiastically from the top of a nearby tree. The Song Thrush singing and the leaves of the Lords and Ladies seem to be the only signs of spring today.
Robin on a feeder
Snowy meadow
Lords and Ladies fresh shoots
To help you get there:

View Larger Map