For the pre-Christmas visit, the Bird Group chose this local spot, just a ten minute drive from Grassington. We drove slowly from the B6265 along the access road to the reservoir hoping to see any resident raptors or owls in flight or perched on posts, but only saw dozens of Pheasants feeding from the food hoppers sited in the adjacent woodland !
Fourteen members gathered in the car park and enjoyed a warming drink of sloe gin, accompanied by Christmas “nibbles” brought along by the “old hands” in the group.
The area of Grimwith Fell, above the sailing club, was scanned, again for raptors or owls but only a few Red Grouse were visible. However, the picnic area of woodland below the car park contained an active group of finches, mainly Goldfinch, feeding on the ground ; two Goldcrest were also seen in the conifers surrounding the car park.
The broad walkway across the dam gave a good panoramic view of the surrounding hills and moorland, but no wintering water birds were present on the reservoir itself. As we approached the shallow marshland of Well Hill, below Three Mires, a skein of Greylag Geese flew in to join others resting there. These geese were the major species seen, with just a single Wigeon and a single Redshank amongst the Mallard. In the small group of trees alongside the wetland area, we saw a few Fieldfare and Redwing, and the occasional Blackbird, Robin and Woodpigeon, to give a total of about 20 species.
Two more members joined us at the end of the morning for a festive lunch,with crackers and paper crowns provided, at The Black Horse Hotel in Grassington.
Leaders: Colin and Sheila Ginger