Its been a rainy few days in our neck of the woods but thankfully it hasn’t really affected the reserve too much apart from the odd puddle here and there. The reserve only really floods when we get a series of really high tides which inundates onto the reserve. All the trails are accessible and no need for wellies at the moment.

What is affecting us slightly is the road closures in the area. Just to clarify a little we are open as usual.

Travelling from M62/Goole/A161 via Crowle etc please ignore the road closed signage and proceed as normal. The road closure at the moment is the other side of the reserve at Adlingfleet.

Travelling from M180/181 Scunthorpe direction – please follow diversions. The road is closed in this direction – there is no access to the reserve through Garthorpe/Adlingfleet.

The wildlife is completely oblivious to the road situation and have no issues travelling to the reserve!

There’s been some fantastic stuff around, especially in the wooded carpark area. Across the hides has had its fair share too.

A quick scout round the reserve this morning threw up a Scaup that looks a little different from the one I’ve seen previously. It could be the same one in a different phase of moult.

Scaup on Townend.

I was looking for a green winged teal but sadly dipped out.

To soften the blow of not seeing the GWT I did spy this golden eye on Ousefleet lagoon through the viewing screen.

Golden Eye

The water fowl were still favouring Ousefleet with good quantities of teal, widgeon, gadwall, shelduck and shoveler.

Shoveler on Ousefleet.

While I was down at that end of the reserve I had a peek at the grazing marsh to check out the Koniks ponies. Such beautiful creatures. Here’s one sporting it’s developing winter coat. It was a fresh morning and I wish my coat was as thick as his!

Other birds seen as I was bumbling around (but escaped my lens) include stonechat and bullfinch as well as 4 kestrels. One of them was mobbing a Buzzard perched on the grazing marsh gate post.

Today I decided I’d walk through the car park area and take a bit more notice! I’m pleased I did – I threw up some great sights.

Fieldfare continue to show well (especially in the early mornings). It’s great to see flocks of them using the reserve.

Fieldfare near the toilet block shot around lunch time.

Little flocks of chaffinch have been appearing as well. Mike informs me they are Britain’s second most common bird but we don’t see masses of them. Here’s one taking advantage of the windfall food around at the moment.

Chaffinch in carpark area.

Puddles on the drive make excellent Chaffinch baths.

Other nice sightings include this green finch. Of course Blacktoft comprises great habitat for them. These common countryside birds are found in woods and hedges but perfectly at home in lowland farmland areas. Something we have plenty of in the area.

They also appear in gardens and around feeders. Although quite sociable they may squabble amongst themselves or with other birds at the feeders.

Here’s one exerting its size with a tree sparrow. They both carried on eating next to each other quite happily.

Standing still and quiet for a few minutes never does any harm when looking for bird life. This ploy payed dividends after a few minutes when this song thrush appeared to take advantage of the hawthorn berries.

Song Thrush.

The harrier roost continues to provide thrills and spills. Carl, an RSPB Conservation Officer no less, regularly visits us here. He witnessed 15+ marsh harriers, 2 buzzards, a peregrine, 2 kestrels and a barn owl. What a fantastic spectacle!

He also captured this brilliant photo. (if you detect a hint of jealousy you’re right – I do wish I’d taken it.)

Marsh Harrier across the moon (Photo courtesy of Carl Cornish)