On Wednesday I made the trip to one of my local reserves Adel Dam. This reserve is a particular
favourite of mine as it affords you great views and picture opportunities of Nuthatches, Jays, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and occasionally the always dazzling Kingfisher.
Adel Dam is on the north west outskirts of Leeds, near the airport. To reach the reserve you have to park in the main car park for Golden Acre Park and then walk down to the bottom past the big lake to access the reserve. Upon reaching the reserve I made my way to the Marsh Hide hoping to finally see the Kingfisher and after getting my camera ready I settled in to see if the Kingfisher would oblige me and which birds would make an appearance.
Sadly the feeders right in front of the hide which usually attract the Nuthatches, Jays and Woodpeckers were empty. At the start there were four female Mandarin Ducks on the pond in front of the hide with Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches regularly visiting the feeding tray to the left. I asked some fellow birdwatchers in the hide whether they had seen the Kingfisher, they had twenty minutes before my arrival. They had also seen a Mink catch, kill and drag off three Grey Squirrels.
A few minutes later a Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker arrived at the far feeders and preceded to have a good feast on the nuts. The Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker is different from the adult as it is born with a full red cap which it loses completely if it is female and changes to a thin red band on the back of the head if it is male.
The Nuthatch then appeared on the feeding tray, completely ignoring its usual haunt of the nut feeders. It was closely followed by a Jay which perched in a tree high above the feeders.
During the next hour several birds visited the feeders including 3 Magpies who squabbled with each other whilst feeding. The Mandarin Ducks also made their way on to the feeders pecking at each other if they got too close to each other. Several Stock Doves also came into view hopping from each feeder also pecking at each other.
After I had been at the reserve an hour and half a Juvenile Grey Heron flew over the hide and settled down in the pond, slowly moving through the water and even mistaking a submerged reed for a fish. It then made its way under the far feeders up a little stream, posing for a while before turning on to a path in front of the hide. The Heron made its way round the path until it was just eight feet in front of me, the closest I've ever seen a Grey Heron. I took a few close ups of its head and beak and after a couple of minutes of watching it, the Heron turned and looked at the people watching it for a few seconds before it flew off.
A trio of Great Spotted Woodpeckers then arrived at the feeders (2 juveniles and 1 adult male), inspecting the near feeders for nuts before arguing over the nuts at the far feeders. The Jay then paid a new visit to the feeders before settling in the trees behind them and after 2 hours I had given up hope of seeing the Kingfisher. I decided to give it 10 more minutes before I would leave. Those 10 minutes came and went, still no Kingfisher, I waited an extra five minutes and thank goodness I did because just as I was about to pack up and go, a female Kingfisher arrived!!
It spent a good 10 minutes perched on a stick at the back left of the pond, diving halfway through to catch and eat a small fish. It then disappeared back down towards the main lake. There are currently 5 Kingfishers on the reserve - 3 juveniles & 2 adults. A cracking end to my visit, but an even better sighting at a new reserve would come tomorrow! I have attached my full sightings list and a few pictures as well.