BRAMBLING & WATER RAIL MAKE RARE VISIT TO ADEL DAM
On Sunday I went to Adel Dam Nature Reserve which is ownedby 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.
It was a cold and cloudy day when I arrived at Adel Dam with some snow still on the ground making it a little slippery on the paths. I headed along the path to the Marsh Hide where visiting the feeders were Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and Coal Tits. On the small pond in front of the hide there were a few Mallards and after a couple of minutes a Nuthatch flew in and landed on the table feeder to my left, closely followed by another which visited one of the log feeders right in front of me.
As I had got close to the hide I had heard the drumming of a Woodpecker and a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew in chasing each other through the trees and round the feeders before disappearing out of sight. A Jay flew over the pond and landed high up in a tree over to the right and over to the left, amongst the Chaffinches, I spotted a Brambling in the bush. After a minute or so it flew from the bush and visited the table feeder and the Jay now made its way down to the ground below the far right hand log feeder.
The Jay flew up and landed on one of the log feeders before being scared off by somebody approaching the hide. Three Nuthatches now descended on the feeders with two heading for the table feeder and the other to one of the log feeders and on the other side of the pond a pair of Moorhens emerged from a small clump of reeds. A quartet of Robins made their way towards the feeders with two landing on the table feeder and the others preferring to hunt for food on the ground in front of the hide.
The Robins then had a spell of chasing each other through the reeds, past the feeders and into the trees before one returned and landed on one of the Kingfisher perches over the partially frozen pond. Whilst Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits were taking it in turn visiting the log feeders, a pair of Long Tailed Tits were tucking into one of the feeders on the far side of the pond before being scared off by a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
A second Woodpecker landed on one of the log feeders, extracted a nut and flew off over the hide and a Coal Tit flew in and replaced it on the feeder. A pair of Robins flew past the hide as a third again landed on one of the Kingfisher perches. The Brambling now re-appeared in the bushes to the left of the hide after a brief spell on the ground. After a couple of minutes looking around from the bushes it flew across to the table feeder.
A short time later all the birds suddenly scattered in all directions away from the feeders and into the bushes. The birds had just started to return to the feeders a few minutes later when they disappeared again as a Sparrowhawk flew high over the pond. One of several Grey Squirrels now made its way to the edge of the far side of the pond for a drink as several Mallards now made their way up the narrow stream back on to the pond.
One of the Robins landed on the boardwalk in front of the hide as the Brambling made a third visit to the bush to the left of the hide before moving across to the table feeder again. I had now been there just over an hour and emerging from the reeds at the far right hand side of the pond was a Water Rail. It crept along the far side of the pond moving back and forth along the waters edge for several minutes before disappearing back into the reeds.
A Robin landed on one of the Kingfisher perches yet again and this time appeared to be looking right at me. Some of the Mallards now made their way onto the frozen half of the pond, slipping and sliding across it to the near side of the pond as a quartet of Mandarin Ducks turned up the stream towards the pond. There were two female and two Male Mandarin Ducks, but after a few minutes they turned and went back down the stream, leaving the pond to the Mallards.
I left the Marsh Hide as it started to spit with rain and followed the path round to the Lake Hide. The lake was entirely frozen over with a few tracks across some of the snow which was laid on top. Making regular trips to the feeders to the left of the hide were Blue Tits, Great Tits, a single Coal Tit and a trio of Robins and on the ground below the feeders were Blackbirds and a pair of Dunnocks.
As a Pheasant emerged from the bushes to feast on the food dropped from the feeders above, a Robin flew across and landed inside the hide right next to me. It then moved across and landed right in front of me and fed from the seeds I had in my hand before flying off. The Robins continued to queue up with the Great Tits and Blue Tits to visit the feeder. Over on the far left hand side of the lake I spotted a male Sparrowhawk perched about six feet above the water.
A minute or so later it left the branch it was sitting on and flew across towards the feeders and at the same time all the birds flew away from the feeders and out of sight. By the time the Sparrowhawk arrived at the feeders, which was only a couple of seconds later, all the birds had disappeared and after a quick pirouette over the feeders it flew off across the lake and over the trees.
I left the hide and headed back along the path towards the Marsh Hide where, in the bushes outside the hide, was a Wren. It was quite quiet on the feeders in front of the hide with just the odd Blue Tit or Great Tit visiting with no sign of the Brambling. A few minutes had passed when the Water Rail emerged from the reeds again, but this time making a far briefer appearance at the far side of the pond before darting back into the reeds.
About ten seconds later it reappeared from the reeds and made its way down the right hand side of the pond before turning and heading straight across the ice to a small clump of tall grass at the left hand side of the pond. It disappeared into the tall grass before slowly making its way along a small tunnel within the grass and then turning back and disappearing from view. It was flushed out of its hiding place one more time by a trio of Mallards before returning to the tall grass and disappearing again. It was now starting to get dark so I left the hide and headed back along the path where most of the snow had now melted and headed home.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Adel Dam Nature Reserve.