Today was ok till we came to put up the xmas tree and could not find two vital parts!!! Looks like it will have to be a new tree. So when in doubt go birding, and off I went to Blacktoft Sands. Hit a lot of traffic trying to get past the designer centre and then in Goole they have closed a road, but only put up signs to say road closed about 50 yards from the road works. By the time I had gone back through a very busy Goole, I arrived at Blacktoft some 90 minutes after leaving home.
I had driven through lots of rain showers but the sun was shining as I walked towards the reception hide. In the hide was Charlie, Masha and Emanuela. Masha and Emanuela had just arrived having been at North Cave.
Shortly after I arrived a strong wind started to blow and then a very heavy rain shower. There was so much rain beating on the roof of the hide that we could not hear each other talking. Eventually the rain stopped and Masha and Emanuela left for the first hide. Charlie and I had a chat, as it was her last day at the reserve today. I am on duty next Saturday, so Charlie was able to update me on a few changes, and then off I set for Townend Hide.
I had the hide to myself for quite a while and saw several marsh harriers, mute swans, mallard, magpies and moorhens. I was wondering what other bird I might see beginning with the letter m, when I saw some snipe.
They were sheltering from the wind on the nearest island and were not easy to see.
Karl Dutton and a couple of other birders came into the hide and we all tried to count as many snipe as we could.
We all kept getting different numbers as birds kept appearing over the top of the island. A redshank dropped on to the middle island, but soon flew off.
Marsh harriers kept flying by and as one of the birders said, "they're able to fly backwards and side wards" The wind was so strong that they had to battle to get anywhere. The light was not good for photographs and the harriers did not come very close.
A magpie walked past the hide.
Karl and his friends left to go to Singleton hide. Just after they left a grey heron flew by, but the light was so bad I could not get a photograph. I then went to Singleton hide where I joined Karl and Masha and Emanuela. A pair of shelduck were busy feeding and 4 goldeneye were diving looking for food.
As the light faded we were all concentrating on the reed bed watching the marsh harriers. We managed to see 11 in the air at one time, but sadly no hen harriers. A large flock of starlings flew around, too close to get a picture of them all.
It was now nearly half past four, so time to go as the gates are locked at 4:30pm.