Monday, 27 June 2011

High summer in Far Ings

The hottest day of the year, we head for Far Ings National Nature Reserve. The origin of the nature reserve are clay pits on the south shore of the Humber, which were abandoned in the 1950s and naturally filled with water forming freshwater lakes and reedbeds. They started to attract a diversity of flora and fauna. The site has been managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust since the 1980s. With appropriate reed management, they now sustain a booming Bittern population (sorry for the pun!) and you can see several marshland and reed specialist species (Bearded Tits, Sedge, Grasshopper and Reed Warblers, in addition to many waders that come to feed on the Humber mudflats and the several scrapes in the reserve. Over 50 bird species breed on the reserve. In addition to the reedbeds and mudflats, there are meadows and some patches of scrub. We spot the first Ringlets of the year and also Small Tortoiseshells, Meadow Browns and many Green Veined While butterflies, a pair mating, with the female flying dragging the male behind.
 We take the Chowder Ness round path, the longest one (about 2 miles), and stop at several hides. The best was the Target lake hide, where we watch Tufted ducks, a pair of swans and a Great Crested Grebe that approaches quite a bit. A Common Tern dives in to fish and flies over the hide. We heard a cuckoo as we arrive. There are lots of birds singing.
 The new visitor centre was opened in 2007, and the top floor offers fantastic paroramic views of the reserve and the Humber Bridge. There are toilet facilities and a shop with nature books and toys. There are many hides, some overlooking the scrapes, which were dry today and one overlooking the Humber.
Entrance to the reserve and a leaflet with a map with several marked walks are free, but if you live north of the Humber you'll have to pay the bridge toll.

Overall, a very nice place for a walk and birdwatching, but maybe not to be taken on the hottest day of the year.

Pair of swans in Target Lake
 Meadow near Ness End Farm
Humber Bridge and reedbeds
Ringlet on Creeping Thistle
A Four Banded Longhorn Beetle, Leptura quadrifasciata, photo by Calima, age 9

Location Map

  1. Great crested grebe
  2. Cormorant
  3. Mute swan, 2 pairs, one on the Humber and the other in Target lake
  4. Canada geese
  5. Tufted ducks
  6. Kestrel, hunting over the shore of the humber
  7. Coot with young
  8. Moorhen, heard
  9. Herring gulls
  10. Common tern fishing in Target lake
  11. Woodpigeon
  12. Collared dove
  13. Cuckoo calling, as soon as we start the walk
  14. Swifts in large groups
  15. Swallows
  16. House martin. Home.
  17. Blackbird, singing. A female sunbathing.
  18. Reed warbler
  19. Chiffchaff
  20. Blackcap
  21. Blue tit
  22. Magpie
  23. Crow
  24. Sparrow
  25. Goldfinch
  26. Bullfinch, in flight, gives an impression of a black bird with a white rump. Also a pair flying over our garden whistling e-up! e-up!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Buzzing in the Newland Allotments

This afternoon we joined a Yorkshire Wildlife trust event in the Newland Avenue Allotments. This is the largest allotment site in Hull, with 26 acres of land. While the kids were engaged in various bee-related activities we walked around the southern side of the site, which serves as a council nursery and wildlife area. Despite the weather, the site was buzzing with bees and other bugs. For the last ten years the area, owned by Hull City Council, has been managed to include wooded areas with young trees and lush undergrow and meadows with a variety of wildflowers and rough hedges at the sides with lots of brambles. It is hard to believe this place is in the middle of Hull as, although small, it has such a wild feel to it. A highlight was a female Nursery web spider carrying her egg sac on a grassy clearing.
 The allotments are open to the public on Sunday mornings from 10 to 12. These is a Plot Shop where you can get from small plants to produce and gardening stuff. The entrance is through Tavistock street.
 For more information on the allotments call Julia, the allotment association secretary on  07712161961 or email on
Male red tailed bumblebee on thisles
Cuckoo bumblebee
Female Nursery web spider, Pisaura mirabilis carrying her egg sac
Red campion
Hedge Woundwort with Anthophora furcata male
Flowering rose
A large partch of Oxeye Daisies with a Colletes daviesanus bee
A view of a meadow area

Location Map

View Larger Map