Monday, 18 March 2013

Four white beauties in Tophill Low

The weather forecast was appalling this morning: cold, windy and heavy rain. My choices were North Cave wetlands and Tophill Low, and I decided on the latter. On the way, it was only raining lightly. A Brown Hare crossed the approach road near Decoy Road and then run across the field. I parked by D res and walked back to the information center for a permit. I popped in South Lagoon hide, where a couple of Greylags were having a noisy altercation with a Mute Swan. There were three Pochard pairs which kept diving one after another, but little else. I headed back to D res hide and watched for a while. Two drake and a female Goosander were just visible in the distance. Goldeneyes, Coots and Tufted Ducks in abundance. By 10:40 I headed to D woods, a Redwing hid on the bushes, and Chaffinches and two male Song Thrushes sang completely ignoring the dark clouds.
 In D woods I heard the wheezing calls of a Willow Tit travelling with Blue and Great Tits. I stopped briefly by North Marsh, where the only birds in evidence were a Moorhen and a pair of Mallards, and pressed on. The rain had altogether stopped and as I came out of the woods into the scrub, I saw a Barn Owl hunting. She saw me too, and, with nowhere to hide, I carried on, with her flying ahead of me towards Hempholme Meadows. A Goldcrest and a Treecreeper fed on the pollarded trees just before the hide. In the meadows, Two Little Egrets, first of the year for me, Teal, Gadwall, Oystercatcher and the Barn Owl hunting by Hempholme Lock. At some point three birdwatchers came in and one of the Little Egrets moved on, but then two Barn Owls became visible, sitting or flying low at the other side of Beverley and Barmston Drain. They must be having a hard time hunting with so much rain, so I guess that's why they are being active in the day. A large flock of Goldfinches flew about and there were Pheasants everywhere, and lots of shooting around the reserve, which I find very unnerving. A Grey Heron flew to the river bank, scaring the ducks.
 Just before I left the hide, I spotted a male Kestrel atop a tree, and one of the Barn Owls flew over the river bank towards North Scrub. As I walked back I came across this barn Owl again, and it allowed great views, at some point it was less than 20 m away and looking away from me, with occasional glances over her shoulder. My best Barn Owl encounter ever!
 In the car park, a male Reed Bunting fed on the ground with Chaffinches, and in the approach road, the Hare was in the same spot, tiptoeing on all fours, all watchful.
Little Egret
A distant view of the Barn Owl
The Barn Owl by the bank of the River Hull, on North Scrub.

Bird List

  1. Barn Owl       
  2.  Blackbird       
  3.  Blue Tit       
  4.  Bullfinch       
  5.  Carrion Crow       
  6.  Chaffinch       
  7.  Coal Tit       
  8.  Common Gull       
  9.  Coot       
  10.  Dunnock       
  11.  Gadwall       
  12.  Goldcrest       
  13.  Goldeneye       
  14.  Goldfinch        
  15.  Goosander       
  16.  Great Spotted Woodpecker       
  17.  Great Tit       
  18.  Grey Heron       
  19.  Greylag Goose       
  20.  Jackdaw       
  21.  Kestrel       
  22.  Lapwing       
  23.  Little Egret       
  24.  Long-tailed Tit       
  25.  Mallard       
  26.  Mistle Thrush       
  27.  Moorhen       
  28.  Mute Swan       
  29.  Oystercatcher       
  30.  Pheasant       
  31.  Pochard       
  32.  Redwing       
  33.  Reed Bunting       
  34.  Robin       
  35.  Song Thrush       
  36.  Stock Dove       
  37.  Teal       
  38.  Treecreeper       
  39.  Tufted Duck       
  40.  Wigeon        
  41.  Willow Tit       
  42.  Woodpigeon       
  43.  Wren

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