INQUISITIVE JAY @ ADEL DAM
On Thursday 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. The water levels had receded slightly and all the snow had melted from my last visit so I was able to take my normal route to the reserve dodging the Muscovy Duck which had been biting people when they walked past it!
I first went to the Marsh Hide which was very busy and took a seat at the back and waited for one at the front to become available. After a few minutes someone left the hide and I was able to move to the front and on the small pond in front of the hide there were several Mallards. Visiting the feeders on the far side were Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits. Trying to get nuts out of the log feeder immediately in front of the feeder was a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. The difference between a male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker is that the male has a thin red stripe on the back of the head, whereas the female does not.
Once the Woodpecker had departed a Nuthatch landed in the bushes to the left and at the same time one landed in a bush to the right and the Nuthatch on the right proceeded to start singing. Whilst the Nuthatch was singing Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits and Chaffinches continued to visit the feeders as Dunnocks, Robins and Blackbirds fed on the ground below. A lone male Mandarin Duck now swam up the narrow stream leading to the pond before flying up and landing on top of the far feeders.
The first of two Jays now swooped in and landed on the right hand of three log feeders as the second Jay watched on from high up in the trees. Over on the middle of the three log feeders a Blue Tit landed and proceeded to get its head stuck in one of the holes on the feeder. The Blue Tit tried desperately to free itself, frantically flapping its wings before appearing to give up. Thankfully only a couple of seconds later it managed to pull its head free and fly off after this stressful ordeal.
I now left the Marsh Hide and headed for the Pond Hide and upon my arrival the pond was quiet but the feeders to the left were busy with Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long Tailed Tits. On the ground Dunnocks and Moorhens were picking up the scraps dropped from the feeders above, whilst over to the right of the hide a Robin was perched in a tree and a Blackbird was foraging through the leaves looking for food.
Blue Tits and Great Tits made several journeys back and forth through the bushes in front of the hide. To my right I saw the trademark flash of blue as a Kingfisher flew to the bottom right hand corner of the pond before working its way up the right hand side of the pond, eventually reaching the top of the pond and then disappearing up the stream towards the Marsh Hide. Soaring overhead was a single Red Kite, making several circles of the pond just above the tree line before disappearing west over the trees and out of site.
I headed back to the Marsh Hide for a little while before going home and within the first five minutes of being back at the Marsh Hide the number of Mandarin Ducks had swelled to five males and two females. Stock Doves were visiting the table feeder before a Wood Pigeon flew in and landed, pecking the Stock Doves until they left. Jays, Nuthatches and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were still making regular visit to the feeders with a pair of male Great Spotted Woodpeckers arguing over the feeders at the other side of the pond.
The light was now starting to deteriorate so I started to head home and as I walked round the lake in Golden Acre Park I spotted a male Goosander amongst the Gulls and Mallards. I went round to the edge of the water to try and get a photo and the male Goosander swam closer and closer to me, allowing me to get a few good photos before I continued my journey back to my car.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Adel Dam.