A quick call past Tyzack's Dam, Sheffield to see Mandarin Duck provided some of the best views I've ever had of the species. The males are an absolute riot of colour, distinctive as opposed to garish, with a lot of subtlety thrown in at close quarters for good measure. A single female, whilst comparatively drab, nonetheless carries, again, a subtlety of pattern and colour shades that is equally as absorbing and impressive.
On to Hatfield Moors, always a favourite venue, although not producing too much on this occasion. A singing Chiffchaff heralding summer contrasted with frantically feeding Redwing and Fieldfare preparing for their migration northwards after their winter sojourn with us. A loud Green Woodpecker nearby, Buzzard overhead, and both Grey lag Geese and Canada Geese on the "first" lagoon contrasted against the virtual absence of birds on the remaining part of our walk.
A transfer then to the RSPB's reserve at Blacktoft Sands on the nearby southern shore of the mighty River Humber and its confluence with the Trent. A chat with the warden outlined the extent to which the recent floods had affected the reserve and the damage inflicted, particularly at the Visitor Centre where the flood level had come as high as the entrance door handle !! Due to water levels being high species other than waterfowl were a bit thin on the ground. Good views were had of Marsh Harrier at various points along with Pochard, Tufted Duck, and Little Grebe. A relatively quiet but, nonetheless, interesting day.
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