Tophill Low – 22/02/2018

A morning to early afternoon visit to this Yorkshire Water Reserve, with mainly bright conditions and a little cloud. A light south-easterly breeze blowing with temperatures around six degrees C. Started off by checking out ‘D’ Reservoir, where a pair of Goldeneye Bucephala clangula were showing close to the hide. The male was displaying to the female, who appeared to like what she saw, with the pair finally mating, not something I’ve ever witnessed with this species. Highlight of the reservoir however, goes to the 1st winter Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus which has become a bit of a feature here, now into its seventh week of residence. Timing for getting into Hempholme Meadows hide was exactly spot-on, a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis already perched up with the sun out, and from the right direction, perfection! After leaving the hide I managed to connect with a Stonechat Saxicola rubicola showing well on the edge of the meadows, as I headed towards Top Lock. Not a lot to see at the top end, 17 Mute Swan Cygnus olor in the field to the north-east the only thing of note. Heading back down the long straight, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta was in Barmston Drain, before I finally caught up again with the Glaucous Gull L. hyperboreus on ‘D’ Res. It showed extremely well, before flying off and relocating back on the wall to the north of me. Best view I’ve had of this species. The south end of the site was a little quiet, a lot of work taking place on South Marsh East. Main attraction at this end of the reserve was Watton Nature Reserve. A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa was present here, along with 38 Curlew Numenius arquata. Other waders noted included a single Dunlin Calidris alpina, Redshank Tringa totanus, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus and several Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Good numbers of Teal Anas crecca and Wigeon Anas penelope present, at one point several hundred being flushed onto the water by a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus passing over. Four Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus also put in a brief appearance at the rear of the reserve. All in all a good few hours spent on the reserve, with a great selection of birds present along with photographic opportunities. Full set of photos from this visit can be found on my Flickr site, with highlights shown below.

Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreusGlaucous Gull – Larus hyperboreus

Goldeneye - Bucephala clangulaGoldeneye – Bucephala clangula

Kingfisher - Alcedo atthisKingfisher – Alcedo atthis

Stonechat - Saxicola rubicolaStonechat – Saxicola rubicola

Black-tailed Godwit - Limosa limosaBlack-tailed Godwit – Limosa limosa

Roe Deer - Capreolus capreolusRoe Deer – Capreolus capreolus