Sunday, 7 April 2013

YWT Staveley Nature Reserve - 7 April 2013

A visit to Staveley is always a delight and in early spring this nature reserve lying between Boroughbridge and Knaresborough is full of birdsong. In a couple of hours we did a gentle walk round the village side of the reserve, with lunch in the brand new hide overlooking the west lagoon. Sadly the site's Otters evaded us again but we did enjoy a number of good sightings. Several Teal were enjoying the new scrapes and flooded ditches near the east lagoon and Sol had a quick sit on a large dumper truck which had been doing work on site (don't tell anybody!). Through the copse and we found a few early insects and plenty of Dog's Mercury. We didn't find any Sand Martins today but spring migrants were represented by a couple of hardy singing Chiffchaffs and several noisily piping Oystercatchers, which displayed around the marshy edges of the lagoons. High overhead a Buzzard mewed as we admired the golden glow of Colt's-foot one of the earliest flowering yellow composites. Best of all was to come as a flash of chestnut heralded a Stoat checking out the Rabbit holes along the edge of the wood. We made a few squeaks and sure enough a Stoat head popped up and eyed us curiously. I managed a photo but it was partly obscured by vegetation. A great view of this fantastic little animal though. At the new hide overlooking west lagoon, lots of wildfowl were present including a pair of Shelduck, several Gadwall, Wigeon and Shoveler plus c20 Teal and c20 Tufted Ducks. On the walk back, 50 Meadow Pipits took off from the field behind the hide, birds congregating waiting for the weather to improve on their upland breeding grounds no doubt, and several late chacking Fieldfares flew over. With much of the new infrastructure now in place Staveley really is one of the jewels in Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's crowns.

 A singing Chiffchaff

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