Sunday, April 08, 2012

Tophill Low Goodies......

The River Hull at Hempholme Lock.
An all day visit to this superb Yorkshire Water reserve today with Chris saw us rack up an impressive 74 species and a nice mix of good birds along with commoner species.We started by walking around the perimeter of D-Res.,taking in D-Res.Woods and North Marsh and then walking down to Hempholme Lock.Highlights were provided by 2 Short-eared Owl watched hunting a rough grass pasture at the lock,showing very nicely in flight and perched and a single 1st winter Whooper Swan and Egyptian Goose in with the resident Mute Swan herd grazing on a nearby cereal field.The Whooper was a bit of a surprise and must have some how got left behind by others migrating north,perhaps it is the weather holding it up and may summer,as others i have encountered in the past.Commoner species which provided some nice views included several Blackcap,Willow Warbler,Chiffchaff and a single House Martin,Blackcap being a personal favourite with that superb,rich fluty song.The next highlights were a most welcome one and came in the form of a lovely pair of Garganey watched feeding along the edge of North Lagoon,these are our only summer visiting duck species from their wintering grounds in Africa and it is also interesting to note that they pair up in their wintering grounds and then migrate north as a pair,what a pair of beauties,particularly the stunning male.After watching the Garganey we continued our walk around making our way up to Watton Nature Reserve.Highlights here consisted of a real surprise in the form of a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose,loosely associating with a group of Greylag,this bird should be well on its way to Spitzbergen by now,perhaps the weather is holding up its migration as with the Whooper Swan.Also here was a pair of Little-ringed Plover,with the male putting on a fine display as he tried to impress his mate,these being my first of the year and a flyover Red Kite which headed west with a couple of Jackdaw for company,this bird was un-tagged and could possibly be a migrant bird.Other species observed around the area included a couple of Common Buzzard,1 Swallow and at least 180 north bound Fieldfare.Warbler totals for the day were as follows:7 Blackcap,11 Chiffchaff and 5 Willow Warbler and we also recorded a single,singing male Willow Tit in D-Res.woods.Mammal sightings comprised of a couple of Brown Hare and 6 Roe Deer(5 at Hempholme Lock and 1 in D-Res.Woods).2 of the Bucks at Hempholme were taking part in a bit of sparring which was quite comical to watch,as they don't have the impressive tree-like antlers like Red and Fallow Deer.Insect sightings were few and far between today because of the overcast conditions,but included quite a lot of Bee-Flies,1 Peacock and 9 Common Footman Caterpillars found feeding on several fence posts on the way down to Hempholme Lock.A great day out and a big thanks to Chris for driving.

1 comment:

  1. Quite a total you have there. It's nice to be able to see them at this pitstop, know where they come from and where they are going. We are all connected in more ways than one, it seems, in this interesting world of birds.