Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A wooden experience

Visitors to the Reserve today managed to obtain excellent views of the Wildlife Centre woodcock. With Michael Flowers group in today I decided to have a quick scan using my special woodcock vision to see if they were in residence - and sure enough behind pegs 4 and 14 was one showing well in the sunlight:

After further viewing it became apparent there was a second bird present too - unfortunately not the greatest photos - but excellent views through the scope:

If you want to view the woodcock yourself the centre will be open every day til Sunday this week.

In addition were at least 10 brambling, willow tit, treecreeper and a quick visit by the sparrowhawk:

Unfortunately no smew or pintail present, but the little egret put in a late performance over D reservoir. The snowdrops are continuing their emergence:

Other news is the return of song thrushes - during the bad weather they were near absent in the reserve and wider area. A chat with one of our visitors revealed apparent reports of thousands of song thrushes in Pembrokeshire.

Further news on the barn owl front is that our nest box team have surveyed all our 6 boxes now - turning up only the one male alive we had been feeding. Whilst no further bodies have been found - parts of a second casualty have been brought in to the centre by visitors over the last week - like Martin has here. Heartening reports are of a sighting by Michael Flowers group of an individual near Sleights Farm last week, and the nest box team found a relatively fresh rat with talon wounds in the Watton boxes. For further grim barn owl news Robert Fuller's blog is well worth a look.

The Watton Hide is now up and completed - thanks to all those who have helped and volunteered in developing the project and preparing the site:

We are often asked how to get to it - there are three ways:
- From the reserve walk out the main gate and head South along the east bank of Beverley and Barmston Drain to Wilfholme before coming back up the west bank over Watton Beck.
- From the car park at Wilfholme landing cross Watton Beck and follow the west bank of the drain up.
- From Easingwold Farm on the Tophill approach road follow the public footpath across Watton Carrs and enter the NR via the new galvanised kissing gate.

Finally a new internet forum has been started up by Hull birder Robert Jaques with a view to discussing all aspects of East Yorkshire birding and wildlife. Have a look here - a link will be up top right too.