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Monday, 11 April 2011

A day at Tophill Low

Trip to Tophill on Sunday as an adult Purple Heron had been found there on Saturday, it was rather misty when we arrived and when the mist finally cleared there was no sign of the bird on North Lagoon where it had been the previous evening, we decided to have a wander round the reserve seeing the usual selection of Passerines and Wildfowl to be expected at this time of year although single Pink Footed and White Fronted Geese and a Whooper Swan on South Marsh East were late stayers, Spring migrants included our first Sedge Warbler of the year, Grass Snakes have been showing well lately and we staked out a grassy mound by the O Reservoir for a while eventually seeing a small male although it didn’t hang around long enough for a photo, a couple of Bee Flies were more obliging though, as we got round the O Reservoir we had become split up and Mark was already on his way back to the car when I decided to have a look at South Lagoon, as I got sat down I soon noticed something going on in the North Lagoon hide and a phone call from Mark who had gone in when he noticed people rushing there confirmed the Heron had been flushed from along the river by walkers and had flown into the trees at the far end of the Lagoon, realising I might be able to see it from where I was I started scanning the trees but the walkers who had carried along the bank flushed it again and I just saw it as it flew out of the tree and away over the river, Andy unfortunately missed it. Me and Mark left Andy staking out North Lagoon, had some lunch, found the drake Scaup on D Reservoir and then carried on to North Marsh on the off chance the Heron might be there, it wasn’t although a Water Rail showed well, a Roe Deer ran along the bank and a Sparrowhawk flew across and perched briefly. A bit later we met up with Andy back at the car as he wanted his lunch and up to six Buzzards entertained as they soared above the car park, we then went back to the North Lagoon hide in the hope that like yesterday the Heron would eventually return there, as we waited we were serenaded by some very loud Marsh Frogs then just before 3pm it flew in landing directly opposite the hide although it soon moved to the far corner but then showed very well as it fed there, we watched it for an hour or more then headed back home calling in at the new University Campus Lake at Heslington as a Water Pipit had been reported from there this afternoon, plenty of Yellow, White and Pied Wagtails but the only Pipits we saw were Meadow.

Arty shot as the mist was lifting

first Red Admiral of the year

Bee Fly

the Roe Deer heading for cover

swimming Water Rail

Buzzards over the car park

Marsh Frog

the star bird, and a Yorkshire tick

rubbish shots of a couple of the Wagtails at Heslington

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