Wednesday, 14 June 2017

30 Days Wild day 12- North Cave Wetlands

We stopped off at North Cave Wetlands nature reserve on the way back up to York today. It's a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve just north of the Humber on the site of restored gravel pits, and it's still growing; as more gravel is extracted, more land is being restored and will be given over to the nature reserve. We were drawn there by the prospect of avocet chicks, and it didn't disappoint.

Three avocet chicks with a parent. In the background a larger chick and another adult.

The nature reserve is made up of a series of lakes and wetlands, with a path around the perimeter of the original reserve site. Walking down the track which splits the reserve, the air was thick with swifts and gulls screaming, and the distinctive 'peewit' call of lapwings. Common terns swooped low over the water surface.

The Village lake at North Cave Wetlands with scrape and islands in the middle and grassland around the edge.

We saw the first avocets at the second lake we stopped at. There were several families on a scrape or at the edge of islands. The little fluffball chicks were racing along the edge of the water, while the elegant adults were frantically trying to keep up. Interestingly, the gulls there (and there were lots of them) didn't seem particularly interested in the chicks. Perhaps they had already grown large enough to be relatively safe.

Pair of avocet chicks with an adult nearby, head under wing

There were certainly plenty of gulls there. Black-headed gulls formed a big, noisy colony, mostly on islands at the far end of the lake. They were interspersed with pretty little brown birds which, from a distance, looked like an oval with a beak rather than an animal with defined head and body. It was only when I used the zoom on my camera (the three of us had all forgotten to bring binoculars) that I realised they were gull chicks.

Two black-headed gull chicks at the water's edge with adults nesting nearby

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