I have had another two walks through Denso Marston Nature Reserve this week, Wednesday and Thursday.
After a Wednesday talk with Steve, the nature reserve Warden, I decided to go to the reserve earlyish on Thursday, so I was down by the pond around 6:45. Does that count as earlyish? Or is it “stupid” o’clock for sensible people? I wanted to get a decent sight of the Water Rail that was reported to still be there. Morning and evening are the times they are most likely to be seen.
The photos above show some of the birds that were around during the morning. But note – NO WATER RAIL. The Mallards on the large pond seemed quite happy to drift around in the wind. On the smaller pond were a couple of female Mallard and in that pond the males were continually chasing and trying to drown each other. A Rabbit on the reserve was a first for me. Later I also saw what was either a Stoat or a Weasel, another first on the reserve for me. I didn’t see its tail but I initially thought Stoat – I have seen those before, but I am now starting to think that perhaps it was on the small side (comparing the glimpses of Stoats peering around stone walls on Baildon Moor to this little thing peering over a mound of leaves and twigs) so I am happy for someone to say that it was probably a Weasel. Sorry, no photo, they are just too quick, they might seem to look at you, but if you move they are simply no longer there – gone.
About mid morning I saw a small muddy grey-brown bird with longish legs pass between a couple of clumps of Bull Rushes (?) and then I caught sight of a small thing paddle towards the “island” and disappear. It was too small for a Moorhen but looked too muddy to be a Water Rail. But I hung around. And eventually at about 11:30 I caught a glimpse of movement on the far bank. Yay! A Water Rail.
Just before spotting the Water Rail, and after, this little Redpoll was feeding around the edges of the small pond. Another first on the reserve for me. These are normally Winter visitors I believe.
I didn’t spend all the time hanging about near the ponds, I did go for the occasional walk about and on one of those spent some time watching Goldcrest there seemed to be quite a few about. Lots of Long Tailed Tits too.
I would say the most common bird around was the Dunnock with plenty of Blue Tits, noisy Robin, Great Tits, Blackbirds, Thrush, Magpie, Jay, Wood Pigeon and others.
So far I have just mentioned things from Thursday but these Roe Deer were from Wednesday. At one time there were 5 in the same area. One was chased away and another soon followed. It was during this visit that Steve said I needed to be around early in the morning to get sight of the Water Rail.
Wednesday’s visit also included these. The Buzzard is very blurry but the fact that it was in the frame at all is surprising. I heard a commotion and saw several Crows and Magpies flying about seeing this Buzzard off. I watched it but at the same time pointed my camera in the general direction and pressed the shutter a few times without even lifting the camera up to look through the viewfinder. The reason for including it is to show the wing tips. Normally a Buzzard has extended fingers as it drifts around but this one has slightly swept pointed wings. I assume this is due to it trying to escape.
If you are a new visitor to the reserve at this time of year, while the ground is so wet, please wear suitable walking shoes/boots or wellies and stick to the paths. This will mean paddling in places but the paths will dry to their normal hard surfaces whilst walking off the paths will churn up the ground that will then take a lot longer to recover if at all. Some of the routes to the liftable wildlife boards are not hard surface paths but the same applies. In fact it is a nature reserve managed for the wildlife so it is always suggested that visitors and their dogs keep to the paths especially at this time of year when birds are starting to investigate nest sites. Denso Marston Nature Reserve is not a big area so birds disturbed from one nest site may leave it and not find another suitable site.