Friday, August 26, 2011

Blacktoft Sands Nature Reserve. 22.8.2011

After getting through some personal business I spent the whole day at the RSPB Blacktoft Sands Reserve on the south bank of the Humber. I'd transferred up to East Yorkshire on the Sunday evening and was now within striking distance of a few important sites in that part of the County.

Blacktoft is the largest intertidal reedbed in England and has saline lagoons too, which are quite a rare habitat in Europe. Plastered with different designations it demands extremely careful management which has ensured its key species have prospered over the years. Last year 12 pairs of Marsh Harrier nested there and produced 27 young. This year 12 pairs have been present and the outcome of their breeding efforts are eagerly awaited. Other species like Bearded Tit, Bittern, Avocet and up to eight warbler species can breed on the reserve. Other claims to fame include a list in excess of 300 moth species, 75 species of fly, the rare Marsh Sow -thistle and Harvest Mice, Water Voles and water Shrews. A great site!

At this time of year waders are flooding through in numbers and that was my main reason for visiting. Seven hides ensure you can work your way through the feeding birds in comfort. I wasn't disappointed as Redshank and Spotted Redshank fed side by side, Greenshank and Green Sandpipiers appeared tucked away on every pool and a couple of Wood Sandpiper were present for comparison with their near relatives. A couple of Water Rail probed furtively within the very edge of a reedbed showing off their striped flanks, a bonus arising from this time of year when water levels recede a little. Additional members of this wader extravaganza ranged from Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Lapwing and lots of Ruff. Duck were here too with Mallard, Teal and Shoveler present , although as yet their usual plumages were still obscured by them being in eclipse. As I left several Tree Sparrows were present in the feeding area along with a selection of other passerines adding another pleasant dimension to a worthwhile visit.

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