Trip reports

Field Trip to YWT North Cave Wetlands

Field Trip to YWT North Cave Wetlands
Paul Barrett

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Despite the inclement weather in many parts of the country, once again the weather gods were kind to our group. Setting off from Shipley in light rain, as we headed east the sky got continuously brighter - arriving at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust North Cave Wetlands Nature Reserve, the ground was dry and not a drop of rain fell all day.
Our delight at the dry conditions was tempered somewhat by two things: very strong gusts of wind; a notice informing us that the mobile café would not be there that day. The latter caused most consternation as the usual form for the group is to spend the first part of any visit topping up the caffeine levels (see previous reports!).
We all set off, at various speeds, on an anti-clockwise tour of the site. The site currently covers about 150 acres with land to the west currently under development (which will eventually increase the site to 340 acres). There are four hides on the reserve and much time was spent in these, sheltering from the wind.
The Tower Hide gave us great views of the huge numbers of teal present on the site and, in the distance, a lone greenshank was seen feeding in the mud. The one disappointment of the day was the general lack of passage waders - perhaps we were a little too early for this year's migration.
A viewing screen (no windows) on the northern perimeter enabled us to view the huge flock of greylag and pink-footed geese on the reedbed lake but with the wind blowing directly at us, we quickly moved on.
The most comfortable hide is the Crosslands hide, overlooking Dryham Ings. A well camouflaged snipe was sighted, and a kestrel hunkered down nearby.
At the end of the day, whilst viewing the lakes from the seating area near the entrance, one of the party commented, "Pity we haven't seen a marsh harrier." Ten seconds later the said bird flew in front of us. For the next ten minutes we kept repeating names of birds we wished to see (kingfisher, yellowhammer, wagtails...) but to no avail!
For many of the group, it was their first visit to the reserve. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable day and return visits will soon be happening.
Species identified: blackbird, black-headed gull, blue tit, carrion crow, common gull, coot, cormorant, curlew, dunnock, gadwall, great tit, greenshank, grey heron, greylag goose, jackdaw, kestrel, lapwing, linnet, little egret, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, marsh harrier, meadow pipit, moorhen, mute swan, pheasant, pink-footed goose, pochard, robin, rock dove, rook, shelduck, shoveler, snipe, song thrush, teal, tufted duck, wigeon, wood pigeon.