MANDARINS VERSUS MALLARDS @ 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.
There are two hides at the reserve, Marsh Hide - which overlooks several feeders and a small pond and is enclosed by several large trees and the Lake Hide which overlooks a small lake with feeders to the left of the hide. As I approached the reserve I had to make a slight detour as the path I usually take through Golden Acre Park was flooded and this time take the path down the other side of the lake.
There was still some of yesterday's snow on the ground when I finally arrived at the reserve's entrance. I walked along the path through the trees to the Marsh Hide which still had a good covering of snow just in front of the hide. Half of the feeders were empty, but despite this the feeders were still quite busy with Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Robins and Dunnocks. On the far side of the pond in front of the hide a male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker were squabbling over one of the feeders.
A group of four male and one female Mandarins now swam along the narrow stream which leads into the pond and before long the female and one of the males flew up and landed on the open feeder just in front of the hide. Behind the feeders on the far side a pair of Nuthatches were chasing each other back and forth and barging each other off the feeders before disappearing.
The Mandarin Ducks were now joined by a group of six Mallards on the pond and one of the Mallards flew up and landed on the feeder currently occupied by some of the Mandarin Ducks. The Mandarins pecked at the Mallard to try and make it leave, but this only angered the bigger Mallard and as soon as it pecked back the Mandarins bid a hasty retreat and flew off and landed on top of the feeders at the far side.
On the snow below the feeders there were a few Dunnocks, Robins and Blackbirds making their way through the snow looking for food. They were joined by Grey Squirrels, Mallards and even a couple of the male Mandarin Ducks. The other Mandarin Ducks had now returned to the feeder in front of the hide but before long two male Mallards flew up to the feeder dislodging the Mandarin Ducks again.
Below the feeder, Robins and Dunnocks were still making their way through the snow on top of the wooden palettes and a Mallard made its way out of the water and over the palettes to the muddy ground just in front of the hide looking for food. I had been at the Marsh Hide for more than an hour now, so I decided to move on and see what I could spot at the Lake Hide.
The large expanse of water in front of the Lake Hide was very quiet with just eight Mallards and a couple of Moorhens on it. The feeders to the left of the hide were much busier however with Blue Tits, Great Tits and a lone Coal Tit visiting. On the ground and in the bushes, Robins, Dunnocks and Moorhens were picking up the scraps dropped from the feeders.
On the far left hand side of the pond a single Jay was calling from high up in the trees as a few Black Headed Gulls flew overhead. A group of Long Tailed Tits now visited the feeders going back and forth from the trees to the feeders and back. I watched the Robins and Dunnocks for a bit longer trying to get a photo of them in the snow, but as the light was fading I decided to make my way back to my car.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Adel Dam.