Unlike the previous week’s trip to Spurn, my meeting at North Cave allowed me to build in a lunch break in which I strolled the site and grabbed a few photos.
It is always a great one to visit, and doing it in a context of thinking about the next 5-10 years of the reserve as it expands was fantastic.
Here and now the reserve is in between winter and spring, with many wintering birds still around, but residents and breeding birds starting to display.
So, for example, in the trees there were vocal flocks of siskins, as well as a few redwing still hanging on.
On the lakes, there are few waders around at this time and it is mainly the ducks that are bobbing and displaying, such as tufted duck, wigeon, teal, gadwall, and our old friend the Pochard.
Amongst the common ‘Eurasian’ teal, there was also a green-winged teal, a North American visitor. While it was there and spotted, it wasn’t in range for a photo. Suffice to say it is in many ways indistinguishable unless you are looking for it!
You’ve got to get good at identifying all angles of a duck, as divers and dabblers can both restrict your views sometimes. For instance, what is this? Fairly easy I think, but the answer is at the bottom of the page.
There were a few waders around, mainly lapwing, redshank and oystercatcher, all of which kept taking to the air in vocal and mobile flocks.
There are feeders out too, and at one station in particular the birds were extremely busy, with goldfinch, chaffinch, various tits, robins, Dunnocks, and the odd pheasant cleaning up.
One of the pheasants, possibly recognising my YWT fleece and assuming I had the food, even followed me for a while down the path. I hadn’t realised this until some fellow walkers enquired ‘who is your shadow?’, turned, and saw this suspicious character.
In summary, the cold was growing which tells us winter isn’t over yet, but the blue skies and signs of friskiness from the birds means spring is around the corner.
So, did you get the dabbling duck?
And it is of course a Shelduck.