The day started at Cliffe Pools with 10 hardy souls braving the cold weather. We didn’t move far spending the first 20 minutes at the car park end of Crystal Pool where happily everyone managed to get a good look at the frequently diving pair of Black-Necked Grebe.
On the ‘Pools’ were, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, a Greenshank and a sole Goldeneye amongst the many other usual species. The large flock of Avocets showing bright white in the dull day.
In particular we were impressed by the large number of Little Grebe – probably more than a hundred across the various pools. The other star birds were a pair of Stonechat doing what Stonechat do and sitting on the tops very proudly, resplendent in their full winter plumage.
After a long morning we decided it was time to make tracks to Northward Hill for a late lunch & loos. The day brightened up and we walked the woodland trail in late sunshine. We met up with another couple of group members including Paul, who suggested there may be Redpoll around. Rising to the challenge we set out towards the Ernie Hemsley viewpoint to find them.
On the way we had good views of Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest, and were well rewarded with views of several flocks of 30 or more Redpoll feeding steadily in the tops of the Silver Birch. They were brightly lit by the winter sun and several good photos were taken. From this viewpoint we also spotted a Great White Egret along with many Canada Geese and Lapwing.
The most questionable spot of the day was late in the afternoon, after having had our fill of several feeding flocks of Redpoll. 10 pairs of eyes trained on the top of a tree, could it be yet another tick for the day – – – ah no, just a leaf masquerading as a small bird. Sound familiar?
Our group list total was 64 species – not bad for a cold December day.
Claire and Jim
Thanks to Claire and Jim for leading and for the report. Thanks to Steve and Terry for the photographs.