OBLIGING KINGFISHER @ HIGH BATTS


On Sunday I decided to head to High Batts Nature Reserve,

a members only reserve just north of Ripon on the banks of the River Ure. Yearly membership for this reserve is just £11. There are three hides on site, one raised up overlooking a pond with the other two on the river bank.


During the Summer months this reserve can be quiet but is still a very good spot for seeing Kingfishers. With the threat of heavy rain late in the afternoon I went a couple of hours earlier than usual and arrived just before midday and there wasn't a single person at the reserve.


I made my way to the members hide and on the feeders were several juvenile Blue Tits & Great Tits, the usual Pheasants and a Great Spotted Woodpecker inching his way up the trunk of the tree in front of the hide. During the next twenty to thirty minutes the feeders were visited by Tree Sparrows, Chaffinches, Coal Tits and one Nuthatch. Milling around the pond were quite a few juvenile Moorhens and a few Wood Pigeons flying over the pond.


At this point the feeders and trees in front of the hide went very quiet and I decided to make my way to the first river hide. Upon arrival the river and trees on the banks were deserted and I thought it was going to be a quiet day. After half an hour the only thing I had seen was a pair of Wood Pigeons flying across the river. A couple of minutes later a Grey Heron flew south along the river making an almighty racket.


I was about to give up when I heard the trademark call of the Kingfisher to my left and there it was flying at a rate of knots down the river towards the hide. It was then even more obliging as it came and perched on the branch right in front of the hide and stayed there for several minutes whilst I managed to get a few photos. Even the camera flash I had to use because of the dull grey weather didn't disturb it. After scanning the river for fish it dived unsuccessfully and flew off northwards up the river.


During the next 20 minutes the Kingfisher made several flypasts along the river. During this time there was a hive of activity to the right of the hide in the trees as several Willow Warblers, a pair of Treecreepers, a Wood Warbler, a Long Tailed Tit and a Wren moved through the trees. Sadly I was only able to get a partially blocked photo of the Treecreeper. As the weather was closing in and becoming even greyer I decided to make my way back to the car. As I travelled back through Ripon it started to pour down. I have added my full sightings list and also a few photos.


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