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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Otters and Ice at Tophill Low

Have to say that I've been struggling to get out of bed and get out there with the old binocs and camera of late and I'm not sure why to be honest . The weather has been good, the light 'brilliant' and for sure there's been things I've missed! ..... maybe its because I've been indulging a bit too much in late night cricket from India or maybe it's because wherever I choose to go lately I get turned back due to flooded roads .... maybe it's a seasonal thing, I don't know, suffice to say I haven't been at my 'up and at em best of late!

Ok, moan over!

Gull roost at TopHill Low
I took a trip out to TopHill Low nature reserve earlier in the week. Its a place I used to frequent fairly regularly when I was working out of East Yorkshire and having many a fond birding memory of the place I decided to pay a long overdue visit.

It's a bit of an odd reserve in that it's owned and I think managed by Yorkshire Water and with 2 huge reservoirs plus associated drinking water extraction plant on site it makes for an interesting juxtaposition with the surrounding wetlands alongside the River Hull. The reservoirs themselves hold many wildfowl and roosting gulls in the Winter, thousands of hirundines and regular tern species in Spring / Summer and when they drain the reservoirs every 5 years or so some spectacular numbers of waders in the Autumn. The surrounding reeds and woodland are complimented by several hides that overlook the half dozen or so well managed lagoons and both the river and surrounding fields are good for birds. Otters have been seen here very recently and even made the local news - Otters flooded out of home (a family party had been seen the day I was there) All in all it's a cracking spot and well worth a visit .... oh yes and one of my twin daughters, Sophie has worked there on and off for the past year or so as a volunteer and therefore contributed to it's marvellous upkeep!

Winter view of one of the Lagoons at Tophill Low (pic courtesy of Ian Traynor)

Drake Pochard

I only had a couple of hours there but managed a few good shots, especially of this drake Pochard as I peered over the reservoir wall. There were upwards of 800 Wigeon plus Tufted Ducks, Gadwall, Mallard and good numbers of Teal (c 400). A flock of about 60 Curlew was a good record and I also had a couple of Redshank. Plenty of Fieldfares and Redwings about busily feasting on the still abundant berries but still not got that 'gripper' of a shot of either - this is the best I could do before my fingers started to freeze up! (Fieldfare 1st pic, Redwing 2nd)

Of course it's much easier to take pictures of the berries that these thrushes were feeding on than of said birds themselves!!

If I'd been at the reserve a bit earlier I might have been lucky and got some pics of the Otters ..... here's some pics from the reserve's blog that I suspect were taken the same day I was there. It must have been some sight to see both adults and cubs slitherin across the ice!


1 comment:

  1. Cricket is a good cause not to get out too early Tim :)