Five members left Wharfedale in sunshine to visit this YWT reserve near Hull only to find that Autumn seemed to be starting. There was full cloud cover, a very chilly wind, some fallen leaves and ripening apples and sloes. Nevertheless we had some good bird spotting. The star was a Kingfisher which flew past 3 times as we had our lunch.
One of the hides provided few birds as volunteers were nearby thinning out willow and grasses. The most productive area was the tower hide overlooking the Island Lake. Here were many waders on the exposed mud and we were fortunate in that some very friendly local birders gave us a lesson in identification of some which looked very similar. These were : Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and Ruff. We also spotted several Snipe and lots of Lapwing.
Although at some distance, it was possible to distinguish the two sandpipers; the Wood with its distinctly spangled back and obvious eyestripe, the Green with a less noticeable eyestripe and a clear demarcation between its more uniform back and white underparts, and with a relatively longer and slimmer bill.
Of the more familiar water birds there were plenty of duck : Mallard, Pochard. and Tufted; Greylag geese, Heron and Little and Great crested Grebe and a good number of Little Egret, Coot , Moorhen and Cormorant.
We spotted noticeably fewer passerines compared with our last visit in Springtime. They had either started their migration back to Africa or were keeping to themselves while moulting into winter plumage.
In all, the group spotted 36 bird species, but botanists were also catered for.