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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 made my way to Adel Dam I walked through Golden Acre Park where the lake was full with Black Headed Gulls, Tufted Ducks and Mallards. There were also a couple of Mute Swans and at the far end of the lake a pair of male Goosanders.

When I finally arrived at Adel Dam I first went to the Marsh Hide which was busy and I had to wait my turn to sit at the front and look out. When I was finally able to look out at the pond and feeders I could see Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches in the bushes to the left of the hide making regular visits to the feeders. On the ground below the feeders Robins, Dunnocks and Blackbirds were looking for food, occasionally being joined by the Chaffinches.

Blue Tit

A group of Long Tailed Tits now arrived in the bushes before descending on the table feeder just in front of the hide. On the small pond in front of the hide a group of four male Mallards were preening themselves before flying off when a male and female Mandarin Duck swam up the narrow stream to the pond. A Nuthatch now made a visit to the far right log feeder, successfully extracting its food from one of the small holes in the feeder. As the Nuthatch flew off it was replaced on the feeder by a male Great Spotted Woodpecker which was then chased off by a second Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Long Tailed Tit

The pair of Mandarin Ducks were now mating underneath one of the Kingfisher perches and once they had finished a trio of male Mandarin Ducks were swimming up the narrow stream. The original male and female spent the next few minutes fending off and chasing the three newcomers. All the small birds suddenly scattered into the trees as a Red Kite soared high above the pond looking down before disappearing. The Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches started to return and so did the Long Tailed Tits with one of them briefly perching on the top of the log feeder.

Mandarin Ducks

Over on a dead tree to the far left of the pond a Treecreeper edged its way up the trunk usually occupied by Great Spotted Woodpeckers. The Woodpeckers now came back to the feeders squabbling as they went before continuing their argument into the trees and out of site. I left the Marsh Hide and made my way along the path to the Lake Hide. Out on the lake were Mallards, Teals, Coots and a pair of Shelducks whilst over to the left on the feeders were Great Tits, Blue Tits and Chaffinches.

Feeding on the ground and perched on the bushes were several Robins and Dunnocks as well as a pair of Reed Buntings. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker made regular visits to the feeders and I had only been there a few minutes when it started to rain. As the rain started to get a bit heavier a Robin flew into the hide and perched on the wall at the back of the hide sheltering from the rain. The Robin then dropped down onto the ground and moved along the hide floor looking for any scraps that had been left.


After searching the hide for food it flew up and landed on the bottom of the window opening to my right and had a quick warble before flying off to the feeders to the left. A Jay flew in and landed in the tree to the left which scattered all the small birds as they saw it coming whilst soaring high over the lake were a pair of Red Kites. The rain had now started to ease and I left the hide and made my way back towards the lake on Golden Acre Park.

When I reached the lake the Black Headed Gulls, Mallards and Tufted Ducks were close to the edge of the water as was one of the Goosanders. Once I had managed to get a few good pictures of the male Goosander I headed back to my car as the rain had now started to become heavier again.

I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Adel Dam Nature Reserve.

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