Monday, 24 February 2014

Saturday's Birding Exploits

With the weather deemed far too windy for ringing it was decided that a day of birding was on the cards to make the most of the dry conditions. An early start out on the bike to Otley where I then became passenger on 4 wheels for the rest of the day. First stop, the RSPB's Blacktoft Sands Reserve, a first time visit for me. Arriving for 8.30am we were treated to cloudless blue skies and sunshine, the contrast of blue against the soft tones of the reeds were a real treat. Gadwall, Shelduck, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Snipe and flocks of Linnet were the main highlights. Great views of both male and female Harriers,  stunning birds.

Wigeons with their blonde mohicans
A fuzzy Marsh Harrier

Next stop, YWT's North Cave Wetlands for a welcome breakfast butty from the Wild Bird Cafe Bar which came highly recommended and lived up to expectations, yum. While there we checked out the female Smew that had been around for a little while and was causing much excitement in the hide from a large crowd of elderly twitchers! A Little Egret and a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes among my favourites, I love these striking grebes and they were looking their best ready for the breeding season so always a treat.

View from the Turret hide
Good numbers of Shelduck
Spot the Smew!
Then back on the road to a very breezy Hornsea Mere where Long-tailed Duck and Red-crested Pochard were bobbing about on the choppy water, amongst many other water fowl. Great time for my homemade cake and a coffee I thought...I went in my bag only to find I had somehow mislaid my cake tin - with said cake! I was a disappointed bunny, I realised I'd taken it out of my bag to get at my camera back in a Blacktoft hide and forgotten to put it back someone has had a right treat on Saturday morning, I hope you enjoyed the banana, coconut and chocolate cake ;) I would like my tin back though!

Next stop, Filey Country Park for a spot of sea watching. Gannet, Redshank, Common Scoter, Guillemot and a solitary young Mute Swan were the main spots.

Last stop was Holbeck, Scarborough where at least 4 Mediterranean Gulls were wandering about the car park with a few Black-heads. Fantastic views and a great way to finish the day. By now it was knocking and a long way back so we set off back. Bike picked up and I was home for half 6, a very full day. Not my usual approach to birding but I certainly learnt a lot. Plenty of miles covered, that's for sure!


  1. A good day out at good locations and some nice birds.

    1. Cheers Brian, it was certainly a long day but lots of good birds seen :)