Far Ings North Cave - 28th January 2018
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Despite the threatening skies and low swirling clouds as we crossed the Pennines, the day remained dry and mild with occasional glimpses of sunshine for our visit to these two interesting reserves. We arrived at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust reserve of Far Ings situated on the south bank of the Humber, under the shadow of the impressive bridge, just after 10.30am.

Our first challenge was to try and identify the bird on the feeder near the visitor centre, was it a Willow or Marsh Tit? Unable to hear any call this wasn't easy, but the consensus came down on the side of Willow. Moving onto the reserve most of the group went to the large double decker hide overlooking Ness Pit and reedbeds.

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We were greeted with the all too familiar words from two local birders, “you should have been here 10 minutes ago, the Bittern was showing really well”, and they had the photographs to prove it! Nevertheless there was plenty of other interest, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe and numerous Goldeneye. The males, some of which were engaged in their display ritual looked very impressive in the excellent light conditions. A lucky few spotted a Water Rail which put in a fleeting appearance in front of the hide, while most of us were able to spot a magnificently camouflaged Snipe after direction from Brian, only given away by the merest blink of its eye.

Moving on along the track towards the scrapes and Target lake a Male Reed Bunting was spotted and shortly afterwards we had a close view of a low flying female Marsh Harrier, its creamy head shining in the sun. A couple of members who stayed behind were rewarded for their patience by a brief view of the Bittern from the previous hide. The Target Lake held Teal, Shoveler, Little Grebe and a solitary Redshank, whilst out on the estuary there were a large number of Wigeon and a Curlew closer to on the beach. On our way back to the coach, a detour to a hide on the northern side of Ness pit was timed to perfection as we were greeted to a good view of Kingfisher posing for us on a reed in front of the hide.

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It was a short journey over the Humber bridge to the North Cave Wetlands reserve, run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust where we arrived just after 2pm. From the first viewing platform we had good numbers of Redshank and amongst them a single Ruff, together with Teal, Pochard and Wigeon. On the opposite side of the lane some members had a female Marsh Harrier. A feeding station a little further down the lane had a large group of Long-tailed Tits. In the hide overlooking the Main Lake we added a large number of Lapwings, Greylag Geese, a single Pink-footed Goose, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Shelduck and Little Grebe.A local birder kindly pointed out to us the rarity of the day, a Green-winged Teal swimming with a small group of our Eurasian Teal, its vertical white stripe the clear distinguishing feature. Moving on, the small Carp lake held a single Mandarin Duck whilst from the large hexagonal Crossfields hide we just missed another kingfisher but were compensated with a nice close view of a pair of Bullfinches, together with Little Egret and 4 Oystercatchers.

Time and the light were now against us as we headed back to the coach. Huge numbers of starlings could be seen in the far distance getting ready for the evening roost, completing a great day’s birding. Total number of species for the day of 65.

Photos by Robert D

STEVE McG

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