A JAR OF NUTHATCHES @ ADEL DAM
On Sunday 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.
From the car park I walked through Golden Acre Park where I saw a Jay moving through the trees and several Squirrels on the ground as I reached the entrance to Adel Dam. It was a cold and cloudy day and as I approached the first hide I saw a couple of Robins singing from the trees above me. The first hide is the Marsh Hide which has several different feeders around a small pond and visiting the feeders on the far side of the pond were Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches with a male Great Spotted Woodpecker also present.
In the bushes just to the left of the hide there were Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits and a single Coal Tit queuing up to visit the table feeder just in front of the hide. Feeding on the ground just between the pond and the hide were a pair of Dunnocks and a trio of Squirrels. On the pond there were three Mallards and six Mandarin Ducks with a seventh underneath the feeders at the far side of the pond.
The male Great Spotted Woodpecker now moved up onto the wooden bar holding the feeders up on the far side of the pond. It was only there briefly before it was chased off by a female Great Spotted Woodpecker as a pair of Jays landed in the trees over to the far right hand side of the hide. After a brief argument the Jays disappeared through the trees and out of sight.
To the left of the hide a Nuthatch edged its way along a thick tree branch before flying through the bushes to the table and it was soon joined by a second Nuthatch. A third arrived at the feeders on the far side of the pond and the collective name for a group of Nuthatches is a "Jar of Nuthatches". A pair of Jackdaws now flew down and landed on top of the feeders as a pair of Stock Doves looked on from the trees above. On a tree trunk just a few feet to the left of the hide there was a green nest box with the number ten painted on in white.
A Blue Tit was making regular visits to the nest box, occasionally disappearing into it, but mostly just perching on the outside looking through the hole to the inside. It now perched just inside the nest box looking out through the narrow circular hole looking right at me before making its way out and flying off. It returned a few seconds later and after a quick look around it went back in and it then kept returning to the nest box with more nest material for several more minutes before perching on a branch just behind the hide.
I left the Marsh Hide and followed the path round towards the next hide which looks over a large pond. But a short distance before I reached the hide I spotted a Nuthatch making its way along the trunk of a moss covered tree that had been felled before it perched at the end and then flew off. I now walked the short distance over a stream and up the steps to the Pond Hide where out on the water there were Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Teals and Mallards.
On the feeders just to the left of the hide I could see Chaffinches, Great Tits, Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits visiting the feeders . Sat below the feeders there was a male Mallard asleep with a pair of Robins and Dunnocks picking up the scraps dropped from the feeders above. The male Mallard was now joined by a female Mallard and they made their way down the slope and into the water as one of the Greylags took off and flew away over the trees only to return a couple of minutes later and land back on the pond.
The Robins now perched on a small bush next to the feeders as several Blue Tits and Great Tits descended on the feeders. I now left the hide and followed the path back round to the Marsh Hide where a male Pheasant was slowly making its way across the front of the hide and the Mandarin Ducks were now further back at the edge of a stream beyond the pond. A Rabbit now hopped out from the undergrowth and made its way across to the area between the pond and hide.
The feeders were still busy with Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches as well as a male and female Great Spotted Woodpecker. The trio of Nuthatches were also making regular trips to the feeders as a Red Kite soared overhead high above the trees. A Jay appeared in the bushes to the left of the hide and after a minute or so it flew out of the bushes, over the pond and into the trees on the right and out of sight. I left the hide and headed back along the path, through Golden Acre Park, back to my car and headed home.
I have attached a few photos and a full sightings list from my visit to Adel Dam Nature Reserve.