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On Sunday 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.

The main purpose of my visit was due to an exhibition from the East Dales Bird Ringing Group. The previous two times the event had been scheduled at High Batts heavy rain had led to the postponement of the event. I arrived at the reserve about an hour before the bird ringing demonstration was due to end and they were just in the middle of ringing and documenting some birds caught in the mist net. I was able to see Tree Sparrows, Reed Buntings, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Dunnocks and a very noisy Great Spotted Woodpecker.

After the bird ringing demonstration had finished I made my way to the Upper Pond Hide. Visiting the feeders in front of the hide were Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Tree Sparrows, Dunnocks and Robins. On the feeders to the right of the hide there were Marsh Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and a male and female Greenfinch. On the ground around the feeders there were several Pheasants and a lone Collared Dove and out on the pond there were Mallards and Moorhens.

Greenfinch (Male)

After about twenty minutes I headed for the first river hide which was very quiet apart from a single Marsh Tit and some Rabbits chasing each other on the far side of the river. I left and headed for the Hotel Hide, spotting a group of Rooks in the tree next to the path as I went past the pond. The Hotel Hide was almost as quiet but there were Great Tits and Blue Tits visiting the feeders as well as a male Great Spotted Woodpecker.

I had been there just five minutes when there was a flash of blue flying up the river and just a minute or so later it flew back down the river. The Kingfisher then flew across and landed on a branch at the far side of the river and a couple of minutes later it flew across the river right towards me and perched on a branch about fifteen to twenty feet in front of me.

Kingfisher (Male)

It spent the next couple of minutes looking down the river for fish but it gave up and flew off down river. I made my way back to the Upper Pond Hide and making its way down the large tree to one of the feeders was a male Great Spotted Woodpecker. There was now a male and female Reed Bunting on the grass around the feeders and the Greenfinches were still in the trees to the right of the hide.

In a bush over to the right of the hide a male Blackcap made a brief appearance before flying off out of sight. A Blackbird flew from behind the hide and landed on a branch overhanging the pond. In the sky, flying high overhead, were a group of four Buzzards and as I left in the field to the left of the path there was a lone Jackdaw.

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

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