Saturday, 1 March 2014

Frosty Findings

Today we decided to head of to Allerthorpe Common to see what we could find and then afterwards go to North Cave to see what was around. The weather wasn't very good as it was really misty so we could hardly see anything.

As we were setting of to go to Allerthorpe we noticed something down our street in the distance, my first thought was a Cat but as it came closer I noticed it was a Fox! We tried to creep closer but then sadly it went into someone's garden. What a start to the day!

When we arrived at Allerthorpe we almost immediately spotted a stunning Great Spotted Woodpecker making its way up a tree. After a little while of watching this cracking bird we decided to have a walk through the woods. While we were walking through the woods we saw tons of Robins, a few Wrens and we also heard a Green Woodpecker. We decided to have a check on the spot where we had found Adders in the past but sadly we didn't see a single Adder. On the way back through the wood we saw a bit more this time such as a stunning Yellowhammer, a Linnet, Reed Buntings, a small flock of Common Crossbills and lots of Goldcrest! After about 2hours of walking through the wood we decided to have a drive over to North Cave.

As we arrived at North Cave I went straight over to some bushes where House Sparrows usually gave brilliant photo opportunities. Within a few seconds I was enjoying great views of these fantastic little birds!

House Sparrow
Afterwards we decided to head of to the Turret Hide in search of the Smew which has been hanging around North Cave for quite some time now. As we arrived we could only see half of the lake as the mist was covering the other part. We searched the part of the lake that we could see for the Smew but we couldn't find it. We then decided to have a walk around the reserve then come back to see if the mist lifts a bit.
On our walk we spotted a fantastic pair of Great Crested Grebe! We were hoping to get to see them displaying but we didn't see them do it in the end despite waiting for over an hour. Although we didn't see them do it they were still great to watch. Afterwards we had a walk up to a hide at the far end of the reserve. When we arrived we got a superb surprise, there was a Grey Wagtail feeding right in front of the hide! We managed fantastic views of this stunning little bird, it was really nice getting so close to a bird I haven't see for quite a while, I really enjoyed watching this little cracker!

Great Crested Grebes

Grey Wagtail
After all the excitement we noticed the mist had cleared up quite bit so we decided to head back of to the Turret Hide. On the way we saw loads of birds flying around in amongst the trees, most of them were Dunnocks, Long tailed Tits and there was also a few Wrens feeding in some bushes but then my Dad spotted something different, I then saw the bird land on a branch just behind a small tree I managed a shot of it before it flew of and I then looked at my shot and then saw that it was a Chiffchaff! This is the earliest I have ever seen one! We found the Chiffchaff again a few mins later but it was right at the back of some trees.

As we were about to step into the Turret hide a man quickly informed us that the Smew was showing right at the back end of the lake! We rushed into the hide and within a few seconds we were enjoying decent views of a superb little Smew!!! This little beauty eventually came a little closer to the hide but still was quite distant. I was really pleased to have finally seen a Smew as I have pretty much always wanted to see one of these stunning birds. Just as we were about to leave I saw the Smew take of and then I couldn't believe it, it had landed right in front of the hide!!! It was amazing! It eventually flew to its regular corner at the far end of the lake. I was really happy to have seen it so close!

After a superb days birding we had to go home.


  1. Excellent day out you guys have had , some cracking birds and great photos , well done on getting the Smew .

  2. Some brilliant shots Ellis, well done.
    Great to share a fantastic morning.

  3. Really lovely blog post. And what a great Smew performance you got.