Sunday, 14 September 2014

The marshland was alive with the sound of ping!

Teal - with 'Bill ring'

Well maybe not a lot of pinging but we found the beardies!  Another beautiful day dawned for our trip, a full minibus and our bake off champion Ann had made us a another strudel cake for the journey
Blacktoft away team

Blacktoft is the largest intertidal reedbed in England and an important wildlife area in the Humber estuary. 474 acres of tidal reedbeds, saltmarsh, mudflats and brackish lagoons. The reserve itself is easy to get round ad its linear, 3 hides to the left of the reception hide first. Townend and Singleton, 3 to the right Xerox, Marshland and Ousefleet.
On arrival at the reserve were greeted by small toadlets on the path, and a stationary hare on the adjacent field. The tree sparrows were on good form, hanging onto the reserves seed feeders. 
Goldfinch on thistle
A charm of goldfinches were picking over  the thistle heads in front of the reception hide, but alas no kingfisher.

We were advised by the warden the best place to see the beardies was the Townend  hide,
View from Townend Hide
so we went straight there,  initial birds noted on the mud and around the reed beds were blue tits, pied wagtails, reed warblers, dunnock, reed bunting  stock dove and moorhens . Swallows swooped over the waters. The red arrows display team soared over head as if to announce the arrival of the beardies, as shortly after they started to flit around the bottom of the reed beds on the left. 
Bearded tit
Up to half a dozen were observed; closest view was when a couple of adventurous birds came onto the mud for a drink, lovely.  

Our first views of marsh harrier followed; close enough to see its cream head plumage.
Marsh Harrier
Mission accomplished we moved onto the other hides, at the Marshland/Xerox hides we were treated to a further visits from a marsh harrier, joined later by a buzzard.   Other birds on the waters, reedbeds, around the island muddy fringes were lapwing, pintail, little grebe,
Pristine ruff
widgeon, mallard, gadwall, shoveller, gt created grebe, wood pigeon,  snipe, redshank, spotted redshank, starlings, ruff and well spotted ‘Manu’ a water rail .

Butterflies and dragonflies roamed the reserve, speckled wood, green veined white, small white, red admiral, tortoiseshell, emperor and migrant hawkers dragonflies
Migrant hawker female 

At the Ouse fleet hide we added golden plover to our list and our first gulls, common, herring, lesser and greater black back.

A little excitement was the observation of a teal with a ’bill ring' which were told identified the bird had been ringed in the Camargue, France
I must mention the Konik,  these ponies  graze their way through the reserve’s reedbed,
Konik ponies
opening up new pools and channels that attract fish and amphibians, which in turn, have provided a banquet for the reserve’s rare and secretive bitterns.
No bitterns today but we weren't disappointed.

We ended the day with Chris and Arnie showing us the best way of getting over a barrier, I’ll let you decide … 
Steeplechaser Chris
Steady Eddie Arnie


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