QUARRELING NUTHATCHES @ ADEL DAM
On Wednesday I went to Adel Dam Nature Reserve which is owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. This reserve is a particular favourite of mine as it affords you great views and picture opportunities of Nuthatches, Jays, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 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. Adel Dam opened as a nature reserve in 1968 and was operated by Leeds Bird Watchers Club until 1986 when it was taken over by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
Upon my arrival I went to the first hide which is called the Marsh Hide and overlooks a small pond and several bird feeders and is enclosed by woodland on all sides. Sadly the feeders right in front of the hide which usually attract the Nuthatches, Jays and Woodpeckers were empty. There were however plenty of Chaffinches, Blue Tits and Great Tits visiting the other feeders on the far left hand side of the pond.
After a few minutes a Coal Tit started coming to the table feeder in front of the hide, grabbing some food and taking it into the bush on the left to eat it. The Coal Tit kept repeating this every couple of minutes as the first of the Nuthatches arrived at one of the log feeders which, much to it's disappointment, was empty. It moved on to the other log feeders and finding them also empty, flew onto the table feeder and after a few seconds it flew to a tree about fifty feet behind the hide to store the food for winter.
The Nuthatch then returned to the feeder closely followed by another Nuthatch flying in from the other side of the pond. They proceeded to argue over the bird seed on the table feeder, continuing the argument on the nut feeder at the back of the pond and then into the trees behind it. On the ground immediately to the left of the hide several Chaffinches were feeding on the ground with a lone Robin hopping from branch to branch and then joining the Chaffinches on the ground.
One of the Nuthatches then returned to the table feeder and then headed back behind the hide to cache some more food for the winter. As I was watching the Nuthatch go to one of the trees I noticed a Treecreeper inching its way up a tree trunk about ten feet away, sadly it was out of view before I could get a photo. A Nuthatch then landed on the tree next to the hide and I was able to get a good photo of it. As the bird made its way to the feeder it was joined by two more Nuthatches and they proceeded to have a three way argument before they all flew off into the trees a few seconds later.
After I had been at the Marsh Hide for about an hour I left and headed towards the Pond Hide. As I made my way along the path through the trees, I saw a pair of Buzzards flying and calling to each other in the fields next to the reserve. Arriving at the Pond Hide I had missed the Kingfisher by about a quarter of an hour as it had departed south behind the hide and not been seen since. The feeders out to the left of the hide were busy with Blue Tits, Great Tits & Dunnocks, but the pond was completely empty apart from a few Moorhens.
After a few minutes a Sparrowhawk flew in over the trees and landed behind the hide and for a minute or so all was quiet. Suddenly the Sparrowhawk flew in over the hide, dived at the feeders, snatched an unsuspecting Blue Tit from the feeder and flew off into the woods to feast on its victim. After half an hour very little had happened so I left and headed back to the Marsh Hide. Upon my return to the Marsh Hide the Nuthatches were still quarrelling, as were a trio of Jays at the top of a tree. A male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker briefly perched on the feeders before being scared off by a group of Magpies and at this point I packed my camera away and headed home.
I have attached my full sightings list and a few pictures from my visit.