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.
The weather today was meant to be fairly bright with a couple of light showers, but they turned out to be very heavy! As I was travelling down the quarry road that leads to the reserve entrance a Kestrel flew along the road and perched on a road sign on the left side before flying off as I drew level and landing at the top of a tree to the right. As usual when I arrived I went straight to the Upper Pond Hide, also known as the Members Hide.
As I sat down a Grey Heron was flying way from the hide up the stream and several female Pheasants were hanging around the feeders picking up the scraps dropped by the birds visiting the feeders. On the far side of the pond a few Mallards were sat on the grass bank below a table feeder. Coming to the feeders were several Blue Tits and Great Tits, a pair of Marsh Tits and a lone Coal Tit. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in from the right and landed on the trunk of the tree in front of the hide and proceeded to slowly make its way up the tree before disappearing.
A Nuthatch made regular visits to the feeders and the feeders were generally quite busy but after about half an hour all the birds apart from the Pheasants and Mallards disappeared very quickly. The reason for this became apparent a few seconds later when bursting out of the trees to the left a Sparrowhawk flew over the pond to the trees at the back. The Sparrowhawk made several raids close to the feeders, through the trees and over the pond without success and resulted in the feeders being completely devoid of birds so I left and headed for the River Hide.
The river was quite high and not long after my arrival it started to rain and then instead of the forecast light shower it started to rain very heavily. A few minutes later a Kingfisher flew up the river and disappeared into the trees on the far side to shelter from heavy rain. A few times it looked like the rain was going to stop only for it to get heavier again a minute or so later. Twenty minutes later as the rain finally stopped a Grey Heron flew south down the river towards Ripon.
As the rain had stopped I made my way to the Hotel Hide which also overlooks the River Ure. I spent fifteen to twenty minutes in the hide, but having seen nothing at all I made my way back to the Upper Pond Hide. It was still quite quiet on the feeders but after a couple of minutes a Nuthatch appeared on the tree in front closely followed on the feeders by several other birds.
Just a couple of minutes later a Treecreeper arrived near the bottom of the tree and started to edge its way up the trunk stopping occasionally to allow me to get a photo. At the edge of the pond in front of the hide there are three branches positioned for the Kingfisher to perch on. As I looked at the middle of the branches a Pheasant had made its way out on to the branch hanging over the water. It was then joined by two more Pheasants on the branch and after a while it looked like they were not sure how to get off it.
As the Pheasants one by one moved back down the branch to the safety of the grass bank the heavens opened again, but this time it was just a short, but heavy, rain shower. Once the rain stopped I decided to make my way home.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list.