MANDARIN DUCK INVAISION @ 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 arrived at Adel Dam there was still a thin covering of snow on the trees and I first headed for the Marsh Hide. Upon my arrival Blue Tits, Great Tits & Chaffinches were making regular visits to the feeders with Blackbirds, Dunnocks & Robins feeding on the ground below the feeders.
On the small pond in front of the hide several Mallards were preening themselves, occasionally flying up and landing on one of the feeders in front of the hide. At the feeders on the far side of the pond the first of three Great Spotted Woodpeckers arrived and went straight for the feeder full with nuts. This first Woodpecker was a male and it was soon joined by a female and they proceeded to bicker and chase each other through the trees.
At the same time another male Great Spotted Woodpecker arrived at one of the log feeders just in front of the hide and after a couple of minutes it flew across to the feeders at the far side at the same time as the other two Woodpeckers and the bickering and chasing started again. At this point the first of the Mandarin Ducks made its way up the narrow stream to the pond. It was soon joined by several more pushing the Mallards to the edge of the pond.
A male and female Mandarin Duck flew up and landed on the square table feeder in front of the hide. They pecked at any other Mandarin Duck trying to join them, forcing them to either fly back down to the water or over to the feeders at the back of the pond. Over to the far left hand side I spotted a Jay perched in the bushes and just a few yards behind it there was a Treecreeper inching its way up a tree trunk. The Jay moved down to the undergrowth behind the far feeders and the number of Mandarin Ducks had now swelled to fifteen (9 male, 6 female).
There were now Mandarins in the pond, under the feeders and sat on top of the feeders with a few Mallards still present. A female Sparrowhawk made a couple of flyovers at the tops of the trees but did not swoop down to try and snatch a bird from the feeders as it had done on my previous visits. I now moved on to the Lake Hide, but the lake was completely frozen over apart from a very small portion in the bottom left hand corner which was currently occupied by three Teals.
The feeders immediately to the left of the hide were busy with several Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins and Dunnocks visiting both the feeders and picking up scraps dropped onto the floor. Groups of Crows and Wood Pigeons flew over the trees and lake as a group of four Long Tailed Tits descended onto the feeders with one even dropping to the ground looking for food.
A male Great Spotted Woodpecker then flew in to the feeders forcing the Long Tailed Tits to take evasive action and move to the tree behind the feeder. As it was now beginning to get dark I decided to make my way back to the car and head home. I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Adel Dam.