RETURN OF THE SISKINS @ HIGH BATTS
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.
It was a nice sunny day when I arrived at High Batts and as I drove down the track to the reserve I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and a pair of Curlews. Once I had parked my car I headed for the Upper Pond Hide where a group of bird ringers had just finished so there were very few birds about. After a few minutes the birds started to return with Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and Tree Sparrows visiting the feeders in front of the hide.
Over to the right of the hide a pair of Goldfinches made their way through the branches to the feeders. A short time later two female Siskins arrived and after a brief squabble with the Goldfinches moved across to the feeders. On the ground below the feeders there were a trio of Dunnocks and several Pheasants feeding on the scraps dropped from the feeders above them. A Nuthatch made a brief appearance at one of the feeders before flying off whilst back round on the feeders to the right of the hide a Marsh Tit paid a visit.
On the large tree at the edge of the pond in front of the hide a Great Spotted Woodpecker had flown across and was now making its way down the trunk to the feeders. All the birds suddenly disappeared and the reason for this became apparent when a Fox made a brief appearance over to the right before retracing its steps and vanishing into the bushes. I now left the hide hoping that I might catch another glimpse of the Fox and get a photo but it was nowhere to be found.
Next I visited the River Hide where as I opened the door a pair of Kingfishers flew past down river and out of sight. I waited twenty minutes to see if the Kingfishers would return but they did not and just before I left a Sparrowhawk flew over the river and into the trees on the far side. I now made my way up towards the Hotel Hide and as I got near a group of around twenty Redwings were feeding on a berry tree but flew off across the river before I could get a photo.
The Hotel Hide was very quiet with a pair of Little Grebes in the distance up river being the only thing I could see. After a few minutes a large group of around one hundred Greylag Geese flew over the trees at the other side of the river whilst in the bushes on the near side I saw a Blackbird, Robin and Wren. At the far side of the river a Pheasant edged its way down to the edge of the water and began to have a drink before making its way back up river bank and walking off.
I now headed back towards the Upper Pond Hide and as I walked along the path a large group of around sixty Crows flew overhead. From the Upper Pond Hide I could now see a Collared Dove and several Long Tailed Tits and the Crows again flew overhead. It was now starting to get dark as the sun disappeared over the horizon and a group of around five hundred Starlings flew overhead heading north. I left the hide and headed back to my car and as I walked along a large group of Greylag Geese flew south as another five hundred Starlings flew north following the others.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to High Batts Nature Reserve.