Tophill Low 7th April

13 of us assembled in the car park at Tophill Low this morning for what turned out to be some great birding despite some very gusty strong winds whipping up big waves on the reservoirs.

I have 58 species on my list but may have missed recording a  a few, My personal highlights were:

  • Good numbers of newly arrived summer migrants: Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Willow warblers, Sand martins, Swallows
  • A pair of Marsh harriers with the male giving a spectacular ‘sky-diving’ display and both he an the female dropping in and out of a potential breeding area – all at a range of about 300 yards
  • A beautiful male Smew in fill breeding plumage on one of the lagoons
  • A single male Garganey on another of the lagoons
  • Unexpected numbers of Pintails still lingering
  • Cetti’s warblers are now well established there with several ‘singing’ male. A few lucky members were able to watch a Cetti’s sitting in full view 

All these species seen (or at least heard – Cetti’s) by everybody. I personally missed a Great egret passing down the river, but there were plenty if Little egrets. Superb views of fishing Kingfishers were had by some later on.

We also had our first Tortoiseshell and Speckled wood butterflies.

Yorkshire Water are doing a great job here creating a first-class nature reserve. Pity about their abysmal record on sewage discharge into rivers.