After what has seemed like a continual blow and rain cycle it was great to be heading off on the first daytrip of the year. At last a sunny day but with a bit of wind, it greeted us as we set off northwards to an unnamed destination in Yorkshire, here we were hoping to see the first reptiles waking up after their winter slumber.
After arriving and taking a walk through the forest we arrived and carefully searched the heathland eventually being a given a tip off about a beautiful male Adder lurking under some Gorse. It truly was a stunner and as it woke a little more in the strengthening sun it stretched out and showed that wonderful zig zag pattern on its back. Managing to get photos from a distance even showed its brilliant red eye. Sadly it was the only individual we saw but it was enough to make a member of our party who was a very keen but amateur herpetologist very very happy.
By some very strange coincidence the tip came from a guy who once we had a chat about birds and other wildlife turned out to have studied in the same class, on the same course, at the same time as myself some 42 years ago, neither of us recognised one another but did a bit of catching up once we had.
Leaving this site we then made a cross county journey to North Cave Wetland, what a fabulous place it is, rapid expansion is taking place it really just astonishes me that there is so much life after mineral extraction. It was pretty busy with the refreshment van doing a roaring trade. Familiarising ourselves with the layout it was a walk down to Crosslands hide which overlooked the newer parts of the reserve under development.
It was a great vantagepoint for observing the various members of the waterfowl family with Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted, Mallard, Pochard, Teal, Goldeneye and Wigeon all being seen. A large roost of Redshank were seen numbering some 70 individuals. Moving to the central hide the star bird was a summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull along with Little and Great Crested Grebes.
"the local Rooks and Sparrowhawk put in an appearance. Overhead the odd Buzzard and a smattering of Red Kites added to the raptor count for the day."
Wandering down to the main hide views of recently returned Avocets and a rather sleepy Snipe increased our wader species for the day. It was such a pleasure to see Long Tailed Tits at close quarters on the feeders. At the east hide there was a great feeding station with up to 38 Tree Sparrows feeding mixed in with them were Green, Gold and Chaffinches, they did soon scarper when the local Rooks and Sparrowhawk put in an appearance. Overhead the odd Buzzard and a smattering of Red Kites added to the raptor count for the day.
A grand total of 48 species were seen without birding too hard, so it shows the potential of this site at migration times. Well done Yorkshire Trust for having the foresight to create this wonderful place.