Our visit to North Cave and Calley Heath was very much enjoyed by a small group of 9 people. North Cave is a favourite reserve and it has developed tremendously since our first visit. It has attracted a wide range of birds who have settled and bred there. We were able to view the new developments which include the creation of an extensive lowland grassland area which will attract waders such as snipe and lapwing also new species such as wigeon and curlew. A visitors centre will shortly be opening.
The party completed a circular tour of the reserve, initially calling in at the East Hide then moving to the Turret Hide. We viewed a bonanza of birding activity. It was lovely to see the birds with their young broods moving around the lakes in convoy. Numerous species had bred including avocets, lapwing, shellduck, mallard, gadwall and greylag geese.Other birds seen were little grebe, red shank, ringed plover, reed bunting, swifts and swallows not forgetting the black swan - a total of 43 species for the day.
The botanists were equally pleased with their findings. Conditions were somewhat dry however 73 plant species were recorded for North Cave including fiddle neck, storksbill. weld and celery leaved buttercup amongst many more species.Although conditions were windy and somewhat dull 6 species of butterfly were seen including common blue, green veined white, speckled wood, orange tip, small skipper and meadow brown.
We moved onto Calley Heath to consider the special flora of a recently restored lowland heath(a nationally scarce habitat).The YWT volunteer group has been recently involved in conservation work including hedgelaying and scrub clearance. A flock of hebridean sheep have been introduced to eat the harder grasses of an enclosed field thus encouraging the more interesting plants including common storksbill, sheep sorrel and common centaury.The rarities shepherd's cress and heath cudweed were not seen athough their location was pointed out to us by John from the YWT who we met on our return to the entrance gate.
The weather had been kind to us although windy it was nevertheless a fine day with some sunshine. It had been a full if pleasantly tiring day .
There should be lots of pics from Janet, Stuart and Margaret.
SparrowhawkToday's weather forecast was for overcast conditions, but 13 happy birders enjoyed constant sunshine for their trip to the Old Moor RSPB reserve. Unfortunately a problem with trichomonas has led to the temporary removal of the bird feeders, but in spite of this we had a birding bonanza of a day. We explored the trails and hides amidst the pools, reedbeds and grassland, and recorded 50 birds between us. The highlight of the day was the sighting of a barn owl from the Wath Dearne hide, both perched and in flight. (I can't believe I missed that!) From the tree sparrow farm we saw brambling, yellowhammer and tree sparrows. A kestrel posed at the entrance to a bird box and a sparrowhawk seemed unruffled as an audience gathered to watch it perched in a tree. OystercatcherOther sightings included linnet, reed bunting, gadwall, lapwing, oystercatcher, little and great crested grebes, cormorant and bullfinch.Coltsfoot was seen in flower, and there were lots of catkins on the trees. Some of our party enjoyed refreshment in the gannets cafe before we headed off to Broomhill Flash, where we added sightings of red-legged partridge, goldeneye and ruddy duck. What a fabulous day - 53 bird sightings in glorious sunshine. Sue