Monday, 6 February 2017

No beardies but birds a plenty at Alkborough Flats

Despite the freezing fog, I headed for Alkborough this morning, hoping to add some waders and possibly Bearded Tits to #my200birdyear list. The fog was extremely thick at Hull and I was wondering if I would be able to see anything. Fortunately, the sun was breaking the blanket of fog over the Humber and on arrival it was just misty and soon the sun shone over the frosty reeds. I parked at car park at the bottom of the hill and headed for the central hide.
 There were a couple of birdwatchers already in the hide. I didn't have to wait long for a Water Rail, and then another one! The first one gave great views (top shot). Two Cetti's Warblers called and chased across the opening in front of the hide. A group of Snipe fed on the edge of the reeds. This is one of the best hides I know, there is always something going on, and the morning light is fantastic. A large flock of lapwing were a bit on edge. A crow calling sent them whirling around. Then there were several, at least three Marsh Harriers quartering and occasionally settling on the dead trees. Six spotted Redshank fed frantically on the shallows.
 After a long while I decided to try the river hide, although I was told there were only 'geese'. I'm glad I went as, although the hide was a bit disappointing, the largest flock of Barnacle Geese I've ever seen were feeding on a field nearby. I approached on the river bank path, just enough to get some shots, but as soon as they started looking nervous, turned around.
 I made another stop in the central hide for lunch, and after watching three Pintail and a Common Gull playing with a stick. In the afternoon I went to the tower hide. A Kingfisher was on the pool by the car park, and then flew to the reed bed. The final highlight was a Stonechat by a flooded field just as I was arriving back at the car.
 This is my first visit to this site with no Bearded Tits, and it's too early for another of the site's special birds, Spoonbills, so I will have to come back later in the year.
A view of the reserve near the car park. 
A large flock of Reed Buntings feed on the frosty seedheads of sea aster. 
Little Egret
Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing.
Roosting Lapwings
Spotted redshank foraging.
Lapwing and Golden Plover.
A wading Carrion Crow.
Reed Bunting.
Barnacle Geese.
Barnacle geese in the distance.
Marsh Harrier.
Marsh Harrier.
Marsh Harrier.
Curlew and reflections from the tower hide.

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