On Wednesday 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.
Upon my arrival I went to the Upper Pond Hide which is at the top of a set of steep steel steps and over looks several feeders and a small pond. On the trees in front of the hide there was a male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker edging their way towards a feeder hanging from one of the branches. They had almost made it when they noticed each other and proceeded to squabble over the feeder before they both flew off.
On the feeders in front there were Chaffinches, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Willow Tits and several Blue Tits. I moved to look out of the right hand side of the hide at the feeders situated there. Visiting the feeders were several more Blue Tits, a trio of Coal Tits and a few Marsh Tits. Every couple of minutes a lone Nuthatch flew in and perched on the wooden pole which the feeders were hanging from, it looked about for a couple of seconds before hopping onto the feeder sometimes barging another bird off to get to the food.
On the near and far banks of the pond there were several Pheasants (five male, 12 female) and around the edges of the pond a few Moorhens were making their way into the water and onto the reeds in the middle of the pond. I had been there about an hour when a group of approximately twenty five Starlings appeared and flew round in a circle about thirty to forty feet above the pond before heading west towards a tree in the distance.
I decided to head for the River Ure in search of the Kingfisher as there had been no sign of one at the Upper Pond Hide. The first hide on the river has in the past provided me with the best views of Kingfishers, seeing three together earlier in the year. I waited and waited but the Kingfisher did not pay a visit and after half an hour all I had seen was a couple of Blackbirds and a Wren, so I moved on to the Hotel Hide further up the river hoping for better luck.
Unfortunately my visit to the Hotel Hide did not prove successful either with just a single Robin, pair of Mallards and a few Greylag Geese present. After a few minutes I made my way back to the Upper Pond Hide which was still being frequented by Marsh Tits, Great Tits, Willow Tits and several Blue Tits. A Treecreeper landed on the tree in front of the hide and proceeded to, as the name suggests, creep up the tree and out of view. The light was now starting to fade so I went back to my car and made my way home.
I have attached a few photos and my full sightings list from my visit.