KESTREL GOES HUNTING @ NORTH CAVE WETLANDS


On Thursday I went to North Cave Wetlands Nature Reserve

which is located a few miles south of Market Weighton in East Yorkshire. North Cave was formerly a sand and gravel quarry until the original forty hectare site was acquired by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in 2001. In 2008 an area to the south and west of the reserve began to be quarried and within the next twelve to fifteen years the one hundred hectares will be transformed into land for wildlife. During 2012 twenty hectares of land to the south of the reserve was turned into flood meadow and is now called Dryham Ings.


The reserve currently has six lakes, a flood meadow and five hides with four of them looking over the lakes and the other giving views of Dryham Ings and the area currently being quarried. It was a cloudy and cold day when I arrived at North Cave Wetlands and I headed along the path to the East Hide. In the bushes either side of the path were Great Tits, Blue Tits, Blackbirds and Chaffinches.


Out on the water in front of the East Hide were more than one hundred Black Headed Gulls as well as Mallards, Oystercatchers, Shovelers, Teals, Tufted Ducks, Wigeons, Coots and a pair of Avocets. A large group of Rock Doves / Feral Pigeons now landed on one of the exposed islands along with a pair of Herring Gulls. I left the East Hide and headed along the path to the Turret Hide which overlooks Island Lake. On here there were at least two hundred more Black Headed Gulls as well as Teals, Shelducks, Great Crested Grebes and a lone Pochard.


I stopped in the Turret Hide to eat my lunch and once I had finished I headed along the perimeter path round Island Lake. Sitting on top of a row of nest boxes was a Kestrel surveying the field in front of it for prey but after a few minutes it flew off northwards. As I reached the north eastern corner of the reserve I spotted the Kestrel again, sat on a post now watching a larger field and after a couple of minutes it took off fast across the field chasing a Lapwing.

I turned westwards, walking along the muddy path to a hide overlooking the Reedbed Lake which was quiet apart from a couple of Greylags, Great Crested Grebes and Gadwalls. At the far end of the lake there was a small patch of reeds and a Mute Swan was chasing a Greylag Goose through the reeds back to the lake. The reason for this was due to the Mute Swans nesting in the middle of the reeds with the Mute Swan biting the Greylags tail until it had moved far enough away.


In the field to the north of the reserve were several Greylag Geese as well as a couple of Lapwings and a sole Skylark singing high above the field. As I walked round Far Lake at the north west corner of the reserve I could see yet more Black Headed Gulls. I now headed south towards the Crosslands Hide and a couple of Tree Sparrows and Blue Tits were present in the trees as I went. When I reached Dryham Lane I headed west to the Crosslands Hide which overlooks Dryham Ings. On Dryham Ings there were Oystercatchers, Little Egrets, Mallards, Redshanks, Shelducks and a single Little Grebe.

I returned to Dryham Lane and walked east to the South Hide which looks out over the Main Lake where the Kingfisher is sometimes seen. Out on the water were Tufted Ducks, Gadwalls, Teals and Mallards. Over on the far side of the lake were a group of Cormorants and down the right hand side more than a hundred Black Headed Gulls were making a cacophony of noise. I now made my way back to the car, spotting a Marsh Harrier soaring over Dryham Ings, occasionally swooping down trying to grab a Lapwing or Duck.


I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to North Cave Wetlands Nature Reserve.

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