Friday, 23 March 2012

A Reason to Return

The recent launch of the Yorkshire Nature Triangle website made me decide it was time I visited Tophill Low Nature reserve . It has been on my list of places to visit and with the membership starting on April 1st I thought it a good idea to have a quick walk around to see if I wanted to join this year.

Having a bit of work to do over on the coast it seemed a good plan to call in on my way. With the sat nav guiding me it was not long before I was approaching the reserve. Things looked good as I drove along with fields at the side. Heading to the car park there was a sign warning of crossing toads but I did not see any. There was a hose over the road with a metal ramp - my car is very low and I think the underside of it made slight contact - a gentler ramp would be better.

Amazingly the sun had decided to join me but there were few cars in the car park. I bought my ticket and picked up the useful leaflet. I got the impression the place was well run.

With limited time I headed to what they call D reservoir and was slightly disappointed that it had a wall running around it but then I saw the good sized hides.

Entering one of the hides I saw what a good view of the reservoir it offered. There were plenty of Tufted duck about and some Goldeneye (a first for me  - it is one of those species that seems to have evaded me).

Coots seem to be everywhere and I was not surprised to see plenty here.

There was only a gentle breeze and it was very peaceful. The only sound was the regular noise of a pump. It seemed like the heart of the place beating with a regular and quite relaxing beat.

There were also a few Pochard about. This one needed a run for takeoff.

Leaving the hide I walked along the woodland path listening to the Chiffchaffs and a Comma butterfly fluttered past - it seemed a repeat of the other day.

At a feeding station there were Goldfinches and Greenfinches together with a pheasant that was mopping up the food on the ground.

I stopped at another hide but as time was short I headed back on the long straight section of the reservoir.

This Small tortoiseshell was basking in the sun.

An Oystercatcher was snoozing on the wall.

A few Pied wagtails flew over and I saw more Goldfinches in some of the bushes.

Reaching the car park I saw a few more people had arrived but I had hardly seen anybody.

I was told that a Bittern had been seen on the other side of the reserve so I think word had got around and everybody had gone to the nearest hide.

Time sadly did not allow me to go and see the Bittern but I always think that you should leave nice places with a reason to go back. The Bittern will be one of the reasons I return and I will be paying the annual membership come April 1st.

Driving out of the car park I had to stop for a Toad (and passenger) that was crossing the road. It decided to stop in front of me but a helpful birder encouraged it to continue.

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