CURIOUS JAY @ 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. It was a warm and sunny day when I arrived at Adel Dam and I first headed for the Marsh Hide. It was a little quieter than usual but there were still a few Chaffinches, Blue Tits & Great Tits making regular visits to the feeders.
A Moorhen and Mallard now made there way up a narrow stream to the pond as a pair of Red Kites soared high above the trees. A Great Spotted Woodpecker now descended on one of the log feeders and after an unsuccessful attempt to extract some food it flew over to the nuts feeder at the back of the pond. A Nuthatch now replaced the Woodpecker on the log feeder and was far more successful and made repeat visits.
Four Stock Doves now flew down from the tops of the trees chased off all the other birds from the feeders. The Mallard was now preening itself at the near side of the pond as a Mandarin Duck made its way up the narrow stream to the pond. Once it reached the pond it climbed out and started to pick up the scraps dropped from the feeders above. The Mandarin Duck was soon joined by two more males alongside three male Mallards.
As the Mallards took off and headed towards Golden Acre Park I left the hide and followed the path through the trees to the Lake Hide. On the lake in front of the hide there were several Mallards, a pair of Canada Geese, Greylag Geese and a single Mandarin Duck. On the feeders to the left there were Robins, Dunnocks, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Chaffinches and a lone Coal Tit. On the far side of the lake there was a pair of Shelducks and after a few minutes they flew off westwards over the tall trees.
As I left the Lake Hide the Red Kites were soaring overhead again and I headed back to the Marsh Hide. When I arrived back at the Marsh Hide there were now two Great Spotted Woodpeckers visiting different feeders and in the trees above the hide Nuthatches were calling out. Over to the left, hidden amongst the bushes was a Jay and it soon flew down to one of the log feeders and then flew over and landed in a small tree to the right.
The Jay preened itself in this tree, occasionally pausing to look over at the feeders, before flying over to the log feeder again. It managed to extract a nut and after briefly clasping it in its beak it tossed it up in the air and swallowed it. As the Jay flew off the Mandarin Ducks returned to the pond via the narrow stream as a pair of Blackbirds searched for food in the ground just in front of the hide.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Adel Dam Nature Reserve.