Trip reports

Far Ings and Blacktoft Sands

Far Ings and Blacktoft Sands
Black-tailed godwit - Jill Islam

Saturday, 11 November 2017

After our early meet at Birch Services on the M62, we set off for the journey across the Pennines and across the Humber Bridge to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust's Reserve at Far Ings on the south shore of the Humber.

On the feeders next to the centre we saw willow tit, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, goldfinch, bullfinch, and tree sparrow.
We then walked along the raised banking of the river. On the river there were plenty of black headed gulls, with some lesser black backed gulls and herring gulls, but nothing else, until we reached the far end of the reserve, where there were some redshank and dunlin on the exposed mud,

We then moved more into the reserve to view the pools. The hedgerows contained common birds like house sparrows, dunnocks, and blackbirds, along with a few redwings, and a great spotted woodpecker.

On the pools the wildfowl present were shoveler, tufted duck, wigeon, goldeneye, gadwall, and teal.

There were plenty of moorhen, coot, and little grebe, and the visiting Slavonian grebe was eventually located.
and a few dozen curlews in an adjacent field.
A reed bunting flitted around the reed beds and then a bittern flew out of one reed bed across the pool into another,

taking quite a while to eventually disappear from sight. Cormorant and grey heron fished in the open, and a kingfisher posed for a couple of minutes in one of the channels through the reeds.

As we left a single mallard flew over.

We then headed further up the Humber Estuary, and parked in one of the lay-bys next to Read's Island. Here we could see the avocets we had stopped to look for. Also present were shelduck, with waders in the form of bar-tailed godwit, sanderling, and lapwing. Though the most impressive sight was when, the what looked like a grassed over sand bank, suddenly took off, in the form of 7-8000 golden plover, circling for a bit and then landing in a more dispersed form

A skein of about 60 pink-footed geese also flew over.

We then headed for Blacktoft Sands RSPB Reserve.
Here, first thing was lunch in the car park. We had expected to be surrounded by lots of chirping tree sparrows as we ate. But nothing, just a robin after a bit of food. Not to worry, as soon as we set of to the visitor's centre, the tree sparrows were found massed round the feeding station with a few other finches.

Because of the tide timing, there weren't a great deal of waders present with black tailed godwit, snipe, and a solitary green sandpiper being the only ones present.
Little egret, and a common gull were also on the scrapes, with meadow pipit and pied wagtail on the grassy margins.
A kestrel hunted over the fields, and a common buzzard likewise over the reeds. A sparrowhawk drifted through. But as the afternoon drew on, the marsh harriers began to return in readiness for roosting, with us seeing about 10 before we decided it was time to go.

6 attended, 61 species seen.