Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wetland Tour 5.5.2012.

Another early start in fine but cold weather! A call to Edderthorpe Flash showed the water level to be extremely high and, as a consequence, less on offer than might be the normal case!  Moving on to Winteresett Reservoir conditions were better in that a welcome sun bathed everywhere in improved light but the cutting wind took away any effects of warmth! Hirundines hung low over the water or exploited the sheltered conditions behind lines of trees hunting out what one suspects were limited food supplies.

Lots of Chiffchaff and Blackcap around , but only a single Garden Warbler and Sedge Warbler sang from otherwise favourite areas.  Later a single Lesser Whitethroat gave its distinctive rattle from a tangled hedgerow nearby to where a feeding area was still attracting good numbers of Tree Sparrow and a single male Yellowhammer. It's fascinating to see how time has seen a site change in some respects, hardly at all in others. The amount of tree and shrub cover has extended or thickened enormously and undoubtedly attracted more breeding birds than previously. From 1960 to the late 1970's/early 1980's it was my favoured birding site, probably still is in terms of memories!. Created long ago as a balancing reservoir for the nearby canal system, it's now exclusively given over to recreational use, but with its wildlife value being high on the agenda too. The nearby Anglers Lake, developed after the cessation of opencast mining, has more of a focus on wildlife conservation and these two areas provide an absolute plethora of first class birding sightings. Since the early 1970's when we created the Wintersett Ringing Group  the concept has been kept alive,  primarily by Peter Smith,  friend and colleague, rumoured only ever to be at home during the hours of darkness!!

A great place, which even provided a good bird on this occasion too in the form of a Blue-headed Wagtail. It had been there a couple of days and , along with a single nominate "flavissima", that was an absolute belter and showed up as a bright yellow "blob" at  a fair distance, gave some good views. Incoming Common Tern   and Redshank showed migration to be in evidence ( we missed a Hobby by five minutes !) and a good chat to PS made the morning all the more worthwhile.

On to the Old Moor RSPB Reserve, where we discovered it was colder in most of the hides than outside due to the channelling effect of the cold wind through the viewing apertures, we had good views of a resplendent male Garganey,  heard  a couple of Reed Warbler chattering away, had absolutely mind boggling views of a singing Lesser Whitethroat and took in the wide variety of many other species present. Moving on to Wombwell Ings and Broomhill we enjoyed further views of the many birds which the area has on offer and which can provide a very full day of good birding at any time of year.

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