Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Black-throated Diver & a Wolds walk

Black-throated Diver
On Sunday evening I learnt that the Black-throated Diver which had been at North Cave a couple of weeks ago had unexpectedly returned and after missing it last time I was determined to not miss out again. With this in mind we made our way across the Wolds as soon as possible on Monday afternoon, and arrived at the nature reserve on what was a grey and murky kind of day with temperatures hovering around 6C. The awful light didn't promise much photography wise but to be honest I was not to bothered about this as I was more keen to simply see the bird as it would be a new one for me and take my Yorkshire bird list up to 210 species.

Another distant and very, very, very heavily cropped pic of the BT Diver

A wider view of the Diver and colourful reflections on the Main Lake

There is still plenty of autumn colour down here on the lowlands (at least compared to the Wolds)

Arriving in the hide we found it to be pretty much full up with some chaps and their giant lenses taking up the prime positions, but eventually we found a free corner and made ourselves comfortable and began to look for our target. It didn't take long to find it, with the kind gentleman sitting beside me pointing it out on the far side of the lake, and after taking a few distant record shots he showed me a few photos he had taken earlier when the Diver had been much closer to the hide. His shots, taken on what looked like the Canon superzoom bridge camera, were superb and he also showed us some excellent pics of a Kingfisher he had also captured earlier (see the pics here).

Great Crested Grebes (& a BH Gull) on Main Lake

The Tern raft has become a Cormorant and Lapwing raft now (plus the obligatory BH Gull)

A little Wren outside the hide

In the hope that the Black-throated Diver would come closer again we spent a couple of hours in the hide and though it did come somewhat nearer at one point the views remained disappointingly distant. We also had another ago yesterday around midday but again it remained pretty distant though I would later learn that shortly after we left it did drift by the Main Hide with good views (and excellent photographs) to be had by members of Michael Flowers birding group.

Some of the remaining crab apples in the hedgerows at North Cave

Colourful reflections

More autumn colours and reflections

Meanwhile on Sunday and during much better weather we had a nice walk above Kilnwick Percy and Nunburnholme with fine views to be had across a misty Vale of York and down towards the seemingly fog bound upper reaches of the river Humber to the south. This made for some nice photographic opportunities with the Drax power stations even looking quite picturesque, though the best views were of Holme-on-Spalding-Moor with this church topped inland island rising above the mists.

Holme-on-Spalding-Moor with thin mist hanging over the Vale of York below

Drax power station with the Pennines beyond

Another view of Drax. Call me strange but I think it actually looks quite attractive and adds interest to an otherwise flat and uninteresting landscape.

With December now upon us the countryside is now decidedly more wintry, though plenty of lingering autumn hues can still be found in the more sheltered woodlands, especially the Beech woodlands which dominate the area around Warter and Nunburnholme. The aforementioned Michael Flowers birding group had also been up this way recently watching the Kites and had seen lots of Bramblings while doing so, but sadly I failed to see any on Sunday despite the fact that the upper reaches of Bratt Wood is often one of the best places to see these winter visiting finches in the Yorkshire Wolds (Wayrham being another favoured spot). However a few Marsh Tits amongst a flock of mixed tits was good to see and a Buzzard also showed well for a time. However apart from an incident involving a friendly dog trying to eat our picnic the morning passed with little event but again the lovely views more than made up for it :-)

A couple of Pheasants in the fields

The beech woods of the Nunburnholme/Warter area

Someone's lost shoe

The War Memorial in the village of Warter (this was taken from a moving car so forgive the fuzziness)

A view of Warter from the top end of Bratt Wood