Tuesday, 4 March 2014

North Cave Wetlands in the sun

A fine day, sun shining and barely any breeze, we headed off to North Cave Wetlands. The raucous calls of the Black-headed gulls filled the air. From East Hide there were a fair number of species on view. A large flock of Wigeon fed on the island, with a few coots. Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Tufted ducks and a sprinkle of Redshank. A pair of little grebes laughed occasionally. We were to hear their calls all around the reserve, although not all the pairs were so visible. A pair of Swans were intent in shooing away a young one. One of them put on an impressive busking display.
A pair of Carrion Crows fed on some carrion on the shore near Turret hide.
 Me moved to Turret hide, were a birwatcher pointed us to the redhead Smew. She was much easier to photograph than last's years one in Far Lake, and seemed much more relaxed.
On the feeders by maize field, chaffinches and tree sparrows. Amazingly, a group of chaffinches are hunting insects hawking like flycatchers. With the mild day, there are clouds of flies in the air.
 As we walked on the north path, we witnessed a raptor which was struggling to subdue a lapwing. A gang of carrion crows kept their distance, although they gave an occasional peck. It was a Sparrowhawk, which proceeded to mantle the lapwing to protect it from the crows.
 In the distance towards the NW over the clouds there were five soaring buzzards.
A queen Bombus terrestris was nest searching by the north hedge, while a Skylark sung its song.
The sun make for poor birdwatching conditions in Reed Lake. We watched a flock of Siskin in an alder, but we couldn't locate any Redpoll.
 The construction work of new islands in main lake was underway, and the water level much lower. There were fewer birds than usual around. A large group of Oystercatchers were piping on the mudflats and two Redshank waded very close to the hide providing super photo opportunities. One individual had much redder legs than the other, and they had a little squirmish wing-flapping when they got close to each other.
 We had another session on Turret hide before leaving. The Shovelers were pairing up and they were very active displaying, feeding and threatening each other with quick honking calls, which reminded me of Gannets'.
 After the cloudy winter with poor photo opportunities I had trouble making a selection of photos for today's post.
Adult swan busking a juvenile, probably last year's offspring. 
Oystercatcher atop molehill
Redshank sunbathing? 
Lapwing pair and reflections
Shoveler and teal
Gadwall pair
Displaying gulls still moulting their head winter plumage
More BH gulls displaying
Male lapwing silouette
Sparrowhawk subduing lapwing prey surrounded by Carrion Crows 
The lapwing still flapping. The crows appeared wary of the sparrowhawk but they kept a very close eye on developments
The sparrowhawk mantling its prey, which protects it from being stolen away
Male Reed Warbler feeding on reed seeds
This could have been a great Siskin photo :-(
Flowering gorse on the west path
Oystercatchers piping
Redshank
Redshank feeding
Smew
Sheldrake wing flapping
Sheldrake
Teal
Tree sparrow

2 comments:

Guillermo García-Saúco S. said...

Lovely pictures Africa. I have fallen in love with the first Shelduck, it's a stunning shot. I wish I hadn't had that lab yesterday, I could have come with you! That smew could've been a lifer for me!

:-)
Gui

Africa Gómez said...

Thank you! You were missed. Shelducks were amazing, there are many, about 100. We'll be back soon I hope!