REED BUNTINGS APLENTY @ YWT STAVELEY
On Wednesday I visited Staveley Nature Reserve which is located a few miles west of Boroughbridge at the village of Staveley. There are three hides at the reserve with two overlooking the East Lagoon and one the West Lagoon with the River Tutt serving as the reserve's northern border.
It was a cloudy day when I arrived and the water levels were significantly higher than normal with all the recent rain. I left the car park and walked across the field to the reserve entrance and turned west along the path, spotting a Chiffchaff singing away in a tree above me. The path continues on for another few hundred yards before it turns to the right into a small wooded area which was full with Blackbirds, Wrens, Blue Tits and Great Tits.
Once you reach the end of the wooded area you are presented with a choice as the path splits in two. The left path takes you down to the west lagoon and the West Lagoon Hide, whereas the right hand path takes you to the east lagoon and the Members & Public Hides. I took the right hand path and headed towards the members hide and had a look at the viewing screen located just to the left of the hide. From here I could see Chaffinches, Tree Sparrows and Reed Buntings visiting the feeders.
As I continued on to the Public Hide a Skylark rose up from the field to the left singing as it went hovering overhead whilst still singing. At the Public Hide the water level was much higher than usual covering the muddy area usually frequented by Reed Buntings and a Water Rail meaning they were sticking to the reedbeds in front of the hide. Out on the water beyond the reeds there were Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Greylag Geese and Mute Swans.
Visiting the feeders to the left of the hide were Blue Tits, Great Tits, Tree Sparrows and several Rats were picking up the scraps dropped from the bird feeders. After a while the Reed Buntings started to leave the reeds and visit the feeders and a couple of Moorhens and Pheasants joined the Rats in hoovering up the scraps on the ground. I left the Public Hide and headed back towards the Members Hide and the Reed Buntings were now in the trees to the left of the hide.
In the reeds to the right of the hide I could see the heads of two Greylag Geese looking at me with the rest of them covered by the reeds. In the field behind me there were Jackdaws and more Greylag Geese and Pheasants. I went back to where the path had split in two and this time took the left hand path and headed towards the west lagoon. In the field to the right of the hide were a big herd of Hebridean Sheep and in the field to the left several Jackdaws were pulling the grass trying to extract bugs from the ground.
On the water in front of the hide there were Wigeons, Shovelers, Coots, Mallards, Tufted Ducks and Black Headed Gulls. Also flying low over the lagoon, occasionally dipping to scoop up water, were a group of six Sand Martins and as I was watching them a lone Grey Heron flew in and landed at the far side of the water. I headed back towards the car park, spotting a few Chiffchaffs singing away from the trees as I went.
As I walked back through the small wooded area a Robin flew across the path and disappeared amongst the bushes. In the field next to the car park were several more Jackdaws and a pair of Mallards which flew off when they saw me walking through the field.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Staveley Nature Reserve.