Friday, 4 April 2014

Spring at North Cave Wetlands

The fog was very thick on top of The Wolds as I was driving towards North Cave. Fortunately, it was lighter and slowly lifting in the reserve, although a bit on the chilly side. The Black-Headed gulls are on full swing and the noise levels full on, especially on Village Lake and Island Lake.
 I did the usual anticlockwise tour of the reserve. A sprinkling of Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler about, but i didn't see Pochard.
 From east hide I could see a pair of Avocets. The female adopted a submissive posture and the male walked a few times around her, before mating. A few seconds later a pair of Black-headed gulls followed their example.
 Little else than Black-headed gulls on Island lake. I struggled to hear a singing Skylark outside Island lake, its song was much easier to hear from the north path. Three Sand Martins (1st of year) flew low over the path to Turret Hide.
A Chiffchaff sung from the willow on the west path.
A Crosslands, the water level have left shallow islands exposed, and numbered tiles to serve as refuge for tern and avocet chicks. The numbers were very handy to locate the cryptic Ringed Plovers. There were Redshank and an little flock of Dunlin.
As I arrived in the hide overlooking main lake, the warden pointed out that there was a drake Scaup on the lake (a lifer for me). However, I was much more excited to see one of the two pairs of Great Crested Grebes swimming to each other and starting their synchronised courtship. This was the first time I have watched the Great Crested Grebe dance. I even took a short clip of it (see below).
As I was leaving near the car park I heard the lovely song of a Willow Warbler. It didn't sing again, but I watched it as it fed on the hedge. A good way to finish a great morning, with a tally of 50 species.
Avocets, female on the left, soliciting the male
Avocets mating
Black-headed gulls mating
Gadwall pair preening
A lone Greylag
Male Shelduck
Charm of Goldfinches by maize field
Coot on one of the dragonly ponds.
Male Lapwing
Pied Wagtails
Great Tit apparently feeding on burdock seeds?
Chiffchaff
Long tailed tit. This one sat on this branch for what it felt like an eternity (probably was 5 seconds). Allowing me one of my best photos of this species.
Ringed Plovers by air-raid shelter
My first Drake Scaup
dancing Great Crested Grebes

A short video of the courting grebes.

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