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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.

It had been a wet morning but the sun was out when I arrived at High Batts hoping to see Siskins & Lesser Redpolls. I first went to the Pond Hide, which is usually the busiest and I wasn't disappointed as the feeders were awash with several Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches. When I saw the Siskins last year they visited the feeders to the right of the hide so I sat down there hoping they would do the same this time.

In front of the hide a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers where pecking at little balls of food which had been stuffed into thin tree trunks. Marsh Tits, Coal Tits, Blue Tits and Nuthatches were also visiting the tree trunks. Just then the Woodpeckers spotted each other and one chased the other off into the trees behind the hide. I then turned and watched the feeders to the right of the hide which had several birds visiting them, but no Siskin or Lesser Redpoll.

Just a couple of minutes later a group of three Siskins arrived at the feeders, two male and one female, squawking at any other birds that came near the feeder. After a few minutes the Siskins departed and a trio of Goldfinches swooped in and replaced them on the feeder. On a large tree in front of the hide a Treecreeper briefly perched on the tree trunk before disappearing as a group of Long Tailed Tits flew in and landed a little further up the trunk.

Siskin (Male)

On the far side of the pond a group of Rooks and Pheasants were pecking at the scraps dropped on the ground as were a group of Blackbirds and Chaffinches on the near side of the pond. In the pond itself were Mallards and Moorhens, occasionally coming out of the water to join the Rooks and Pheasants. A Nuthatch was now making regular trips to the thin tree trunks in front of the hide and a trio of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were quarrelling in the larger tree just to the right.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Male)

The Siskins returned at regular intervals to the feeders on the right of the hide and after I had watched them for a while I decided to take a look at the River and Hotel Hides before I left. I arrived at the River Hide to find that the River Ure was very high and not far off reaching the hide so I moved on to the Hotel Hide. Here the water was just as high and close to the hide as a Cormorant floated rather than swam by the hide.

As the light was now deteriorating I decided to head back to the car seeing several Blackbirds and Robins in the undergrowth and on the fence. I didn't manage to see a Lesser Redpoll, although there had apparently been one before I arrived at the reserve, I did manage to see the superb Siskins! I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit.

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