North Cave Wetlands & the Humber

Early atmospheric mist greeted eighteen of us at North Cave Wetlands for today’s field meeting, this cleared later and, though it was chilly, it was a glorious morning to be out. A good selection of common duck, farmland and hedgerow birds were seen, but there was no sign of the Bittern that has been showing recently. We recorded over fifty species with highlights being a flock of Siskin, Bullfinch, Cetti’s Warbler singing (and seen briefly by some), Redwings and a Fieldfare bathing. A second calendar year Herring Gull practised its agility by dropping and catching what looked to be a stone. Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk accounted for the raptors while Redshank, Lapwing and Snipe were there for waders and a skein of Pink-footed Geese flew south. It was interesting to see and hear how this reserve is developing and there looks to be even more great habitat and facilities being prepared.

Two Siskins in tree
Siskins at North Cave Wetlands © Akiharu Kitagawa

After lunch, many of us drove the 15 minutes south to Brough Haven to overlook the Humber mudflats and reed beds, adding Avocet, Knot, Dunlin, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Marsh Harrier to the day list. Several people walked along the path past the aerospace factory to view the estuary further and the wetland areas to the east, as far as Welton Waters. Though the latter was quiet, we heard Cetti’s and saw Stonechat in the reeds with Curlew on the marshy areas. Three Marsh Harriers, one a male, hunted over and a Peregrine flew in to have a dispute with the cream-crowns. However, the best was saved to the last when what must have been tens of thousands of Starlings came into roost in the reeds to the north of the path, treating us to a spectacle of flocks merging together and turning the sky dark in parts while they tried to avoid Sparrowhawks and the harriers.

Rob and Jane Chapman