After our frankly disappointing trip to Old Moor we decided to call in at Potteric Carr. Since we have only ever been to this site once before we still don't really know much about it. When we arrived the species reportings was frankly very short considering, but we set off anyway. We headed for the field center initially, the only thing we saw along the way was a pheasant which was sat by the side of the path. We decided to go round the main area of the reserve, and area that we had not really looked at before and see what was around there. We tackled it in a clockwise direction since the first hide on the left was meant to have nesting kingfishers...
We did not see a kingfisher, but there was plenty of stuff in the hides, though in smaller quantities than those at Old Moor. However, after a short while of watching I got a big surprise when a Barnacle Goose decided to swim out from behind the reeds. It was my first of the year but it does seem rather late, the reason for my surprise. Either way, it was a good surprise and a stunning bird to add to my year list.
Other significant birds at this pool were a family of young Canada Geese and a singing cettis warbler, but as per we did not see it.
Following on down the path we reached the first hide that overlooks the main, central, lakes and scrapes. There was a small selection of birds, including Teal, Gadwall and Redshank. As we watched however my dad noticed 2 small waders along the near island, and called them as ringed plovers. However, when I got down to look I realised that they were Little Ringed Plover, a charming little bird that I am really starting to see a lot of I now notice.
It was during this time that we were joined by another birder. We got chatting and he mentioned that there were a pair of black necked grebe at the far hide, the last one we would reach. It was in this moment that my second year tick appeared in the form of a Common Sandpiper which flew across the pond and alighted on the bank right where we could not see it. After we left the hide we back-tracked in order to get a better view and check that it was indeed a common sand. It was indeed.
We skimmed over the remaining hides, partly due to the BNG's and partly due to the fact that we were running out of time regarding the car park closing time. We eventually arrived at Duchess hide, having only really picked up Little Egret and a booming bittern, seen but not heard, along the way.
And so I began my search for the BNG's. After an initially excitement and disappointment in the form of a female pochard I tracked them down to the reeds at the far side of the pond. They epitomize the term 'stunning bird'. They really were, with their yellow ear tufts and stunning black bodies. They were a joy to watch as they drifted in an out of the reeds and fished around the back. I only really wish that they would have come closer, as my photos were really poor. Not only are they a year-tick but they are also a Life for me, how exciting is that?
-Black Necked Grebes
We decided to finish off our walk along the top of the reserve. There was not much going on there, but a couple of shellduck did drop onto the reserve pools while we were there. They seemed to have beef with the shoveler as the male bird would not relent in his pursuit of the male shoveler. However, his efforts were in vain, as there seemed to be an increase in the numbers of shoveler for his efforts, not a decrease.
I was very impressed with the reserve, more than what I had expected. 1 lifer and 2 other year-ticks is a great result for the day, bringing my total up to 137 for the year, surpassing all the other years that I have records for, and its still only April. What a year I am having.
Potteric Carr YWT: Pochard, Gadwall, Blue Tit, Graylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Coot, Black-Headed Gull, Magpie, Tufted Duck, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Shoveler, Starling, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Woodpigeon, Long-Tailed Tit, Redshank, Teal, Common Sandpiper, Sand Martin, Little Ringed Plover, Cormorant, Great-Crested Grebe, Herring Gull, Moorhen, Little Egret, Black-Necked Grebe, Blackcap, Grey Heron, Dunlin, Reed Bunting, Shellduck, Robin, Magpie,