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On Tuesday 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 was drizzling with rain when I arrived at High Batts and as I sat down in the Upper Pond Hide it started to rain harder before turning to sleet and then snow. After about ten minutes the snow and rain stopped and I was able to see Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Tree Sparrows and Coal Tits visiting the feeders. Among the bushes to the left of the hide Robins and Blackbirds were picking at the apples that had been left out.

On a large tree in front of the hide a male Great Spotted Woodpecker was making his way up the trunk and he was soon joined by a female. They chased each other through the trees and now that the Woodpeckers had departed a Treecreeper arrived at the base of the trunk edging part of the way up the tree before flying off to the bushes behind the hide.

On the feeders to the right of the hide Goldfinches, Marsh Tits, Blue Tits and Coal Tits were visiting and there were also three Siskins making regular visits to the feeders. During the Siskins visits to the feeder, a Goldcrest was also on the big tree in front of the hide just below one of the feeders. On the far side of the pond there were four Yellowhammers in the bushes with Pheasants and Moorhens on the ground picking up scraps dropped from feeders.

Siskin (Male)

Where the Robins and Blackbirds had been earlier just in front of the hide, there was now a pair of Dunnocks and in the pond there were a few Mallards. I now departed the Upper Pond Hide and headed for the River Hide looking at the thousands of Snow Drops on either side of the path that were all over the reserve. The River Hide was very quiet so I left and walked towards the Hotel Hide further up the river and as I did a group of about twenty Linnets were feeding on the ground and as soon as they saw me they flew up and landed at the top of a tree.

The group of Linnets flew overhead as I arrived at the Hotel Hide and when I sat down they had landed in front of the hide and had now been joined by a few Goldfinches. On the feeders a group of about eight Long Tailed Tits were present periodically flying off to a tree and then returning to the feeders. The river itself was quiet apart from the call of a Curlew from the other side of the river and the lorries at the quarry to the north of the reserve.

As I made my way back to the car park a Grey Heron flew overhead and in the field at the side there were about a dozen Curlews and then the rain started again. I have attached a few photos and my full sightings list from my visit to High Batts Nature Reserve.

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