A group of 8 members of the Bird group enjoyed a perfect summer’s day outing to this reserve East of Leeds.  It covers a very large area of what was an open cast mine and has a variety of habitats – lakes, grassland and woodland.

The most obvious birds were the very noisy Black Headed Gulls with their newly fledged young.  There were plenty of other water birds around also with young – ducks, geese, grebe, Coot ,  Moorhen and Common Tern.  We did not, however, spot the site “specials” – Bearded Tit and Bittern which we were told had bred.  However we were delighted to see a family group of Black-necked Grebe, another one of the “specials”.

Black -necked Grebe and young by Ann Shaw

Black -necked Grebe and young by Ann Shaw

The reed beds at the water’s edge were also very noisy with the rattling calls of Reed Warblers though very difficult to see.  Reed Buntings were much more obliging as the males sang from the bush tops.

Woodland birds like Whitethroat and Blackcap were also spotted.  In total 40 species were recorded.

As well as all the birds, this reserve has much of interest to botanists as the paths and hillsides were a colourful carpet, containing some plants that are not too familiar to us.  Insects were of interest too – lots of bees, butterflies and dragon and damselflies were spotted.

We will definitely be returning to this well maintained and interesting site.

Win Clements

Further images by Marg Smith are to be found in the News post