Monday, 9 February 2015

Sun and ice at North Cave Wetlands, with a Stoat-Moorhen standoff

I went to North Cave Wetlands with Robert Jaques this morning of sunny, clear sky and still conditions. Island, Carp and Reed Bed were completely frozen, but there were enough clear patches in Village, main and Far lakes for a fair number of birds in the reserve. We admired the new viewing point, with the picnic tables already in place and watched the birds visiting the new well-stocked feeding station: many Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Goldfinches, Blue and Great Tits, a Robin, Blackbirds, a lone drake Mallard and a Long-tailed tit. This development already looks like a big hit, as visitors gathered to have lunch while admiring the views and the birds.
 In the islands of Village lake there were plenty of Teal, Lapwing, Little Grebes and Wigeon and a flock of Snipe.
 In the east path we came across an odd looking chaffinch, which on closer inspection turned out to be a Brambling, with another one around too.
 On the feeding station by the maize field there were many Tree Sparrows, and I missed a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
 After admiring the frozen, bird free Island lake for a few minutes we carried on the anticlockwise tour of the reserve. At least two Skylark were in full song in the north fields. Robert found a Barn Owl pellet by the fence on the north path, which I later found to contain a Field Vole and a Wood Mouse (following the RSPB key here). A few large geese skeins passed flying quite high, which we thought to be Pink-footed geese.
 Siskins and a Lesser Redpoll in the Alders by the west path. There were plenty of birds at one end of the Crosslands hide lake, many Tufted ducks, Pochard and Shelduck. From the main lake the only thing of notice were 7 Buzzards soaring over the hills.
 We popped in the viewing platform before leaving and someone spotted a Stoat. It seemed to be enjoying the sun on a grassy path, although, in pure stoaty fashion it couldn't really sit still for more than a minute at a time. It went up to the bank, it squirrelled back to where it was, it went into a bush and jumped crazily about, and then seemed to settle on the sun and scratched a bit, and groomed a bit, when we realised a Moorhen was walking in the stoats direction. The stoat and the moorhen looked at each other. The stoat seemed completely disinterested, while the moorhen did a display I had never seen a moorhen do. It dropped its opened wings and stood high, while keeping a close eye on the stoat, then it turned around and walked the same way it had come. What a great way to end a great day out.
The view from the viewing platform.
A female Reed Bunting under the feeders
Reed Bunting
A Long-tailed tit on the feeders
A very healthy female Blackbird on the feeders
The newly revamped feeding station by the maize field
I love reed beds, there is a male Reed Bunting in the photo too.
A large skein of geese over the reserve
Barn Owl pellet
The frozen Reedbed Lake
standing up...
...lying down
spotting a moorhen...
The moorhen opened its wings appearing to be larger than its size, and run away. This is a screenshot from a video.

Bird List
  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackbird
  3. Blue Tit
  4. Brambling
  5. Bullfinch
  6. Buzzard
  7. Carrion Crow
  8. Chaffinch
  9. Common Gull
  10. Coot
  11. Cormorant
  12. Dunnock
  13. Feral Pigeon
  14. Gadwall
  15. Goldfinch
  16. Great Tit
  17. Grey Heron
  18. Greylag Goose
  19. Herring Gull
  20. House Sparrow
  21. Jackdaw
  22. Kestrel
  23. Lapwing
  24. Lesser Redpoll
  25. Little Grebe
  26. Long-tailed Tit
  27. Magpie
  28. Mallard
  29. Moorhen
  30. Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)
  31. Pink-footed Goose
  32. Pochard
  33. Redshank
  34. Reed Bunting
  35. Robin
  36. Rook
  37. Shelduck
  38. Shoveler
  39. Siskin
  40. Skylark
  41. Snipe
  42. Stock Dove
  43. Teal
  44. Tree Sparrow
  45. Tufted Duck
  46. Wigeon
  47. Woodpigeon
  48. Wren

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