SUPER SISKINS @ ANGLERS COUNTRY PARK
On Thursday I made the trip to Anglers Country Park which is located close to Wintersett Reservoir just a few miles south east of Wakefield. It was a bright sunny day when I arrived and it was now midday so I paid a visit to the Café for lunch before heading out into the park. The first hide is a short walk from the visitor centre, accessed through a gap in the hedge on the left-hand side of the path leading towards a lake. On my last visit this had been a very busy hide with several Yellowhammers visiting, today they would not be the only colourful birds present.
The feeders and the bushes surrounding them were awash with Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Robins, Dunnocks and a large number of Goldfinches. Over to my far left I spotted a male Siskin perched high up in a tree and a few seconds later a second male Siskin landed at the base of the bushes at the other side of the feeders. Several Chaffinches were feeding underneath the bushes, slowly making their way closer to the feeders and they were joined by a pair of Yellowhammers and a lone male Brambling. Only a few seconds later a female Lesser Redpoll perched near the top of a bush in front of me as a Coal Tit landed below the feeder.
After a minute or so of looking around the Lesser Redpoll made a brief visit to the feeders before flying off and landing over to my right. A Yellowhammer perched at the top of a bush for a short time before dropping down to the ground near the edge of a small pond. There were so many birds it was almost difficult to know where to look, so after few minutes I decided I would see what was at the other hides and then return here before heading home. I returned to the path and as it turned to the left I spotted a pair of Bullfinches in the bushes, just the other side of the hedge, pecking at the buds before they flew off towards the first hide.
A little further along the path I reached the lake where on the grass bank were Canada Geese and at the edge of the water there were Coots, Wigeons and Mallards. The next hide is a few hundred yards further along from the first and again off to the left via a short boardwalk. You get a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree view from this hide but it was very quiet with just a couple of Wood Pigeons present so I decided to continue on to the final hide which overlooks the lake and on my previous visit I had seen Goldeneyes. There are two ways to reach this hide and with the first one looking very wet and muddy I continued on to the second path which was much better until I got near the hide!
On the grass in front of the hide were several Canada Geese, whilst on the water were Black Headed Gulls, Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Lapwings, Herring Gulls, Tufted Ducks, Teals, Mallards and Shovelers. About forty to fifty yards out there were small rocky islands in a line going from right to left with several Cormorants and Gulls on them. In the water beyond the islands there were at least five Great Crested Grebes spread across the water. In between the rocky islands and the shore were several mudbanks and on two separate ones an Oystercatcher had landed. After a few minutes one of the Oystercatchers waded into the water and swam across to one, briefly probing the ground before they both began preening.
Over to the right-hand side, a fair distance out on the lake, were two male and one female Goldeneyes, constantly diving for food. After a few more minutes I left the hide and waded back through the mud and water on the path back to the main route round the lake. I followed the path back round the lake to the first hide to see if I could get any better pictures of the winter visiting Brambling, Redpoll and Siskins. As I returned to the hide it was still very busy and just to the right one of the male Siskins was perched, waiting for the right moment to swoop down onto one of the feeders.
Over to the far-left hand side I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker slowly making its way up a narrow tree trunk and on the feeders as well as in the bushes around me, there were at least twenty Goldfinches. The female Lesser Redpoll had now replaced the Siskin over to the right and on the feeders a male Lesser Redpoll had arrived. There were still several Chaffinches underneath the bushes with the Brambling making regular visits with them as well as a couple of Yellowhammers further into the bushes. A Yellowhammer landed on a branch, which was on the ground, just behind the feeders to my left. It spent a few seconds there before flying off behind the bushes and out of sight whilst in the trees to my left a female Brambling appeared.
There were also several House and Tree Sparrows now present as the Siskins continued to regularly visit the feeders with a Nuthatch now appearing on a small dead piece of wood beyond the feeders. The Nuthatch now dropped down onto the ground, picking up seeds dropped from above, moving closer and closer to the hide until it was just three or four feet away. It spent a couple of minutes before flying off to the left and into the trees as a Yellowhammer replaced it for a few seconds before it too flew off. The Nuthatch returned and landed on a large tuft of grass to my left, but was scared off by the Great Spotted Woodpecker flying in and landing on a square wooden post from where the feeders hang.
A Red Admiral butterfly now flittered through and landed on the blossom at the top of the bushes as a Robin perched on a pile of rocks to the right. At regular intervals Rats were emerging from underneath these rocks, hoovering up what food they could before scurrying back under. The feeders were still very busy with the other birds vying for position against the vast number of Goldfinches as I left to head back to the car where a Robin was singing in the tree above.
I have attached a few photos below from my visit to Anglers Country Park.