It was a lovely, warm afternoon as I arrived at Blacktoft Sands on the Humber today. Blacktoft has long been one of my favourite birding locations, and I was excited to be there once again. Next to Old Moor, (my local reserve), Blacktoft is the one I have visited most often.I decided to start at Marshlands Hide first today, as I usually do. There have been reports of lots of good waders and some Spoonbills on the reserve recently, and Marshlands is an excellent hide for seeing waders, so it seemed the obvious place to start.
Over the course of the next forty minutes or so I watched a variety of birds; a pair of Little Egrets having a noisy dispute; a Cormorant diving repeatedly for food; a juvenile Barn Owl leaving an Owl box and flexing its wings, and a possible glimpse of a pair of very distant Bearded Tits.
Next I moved down to Xerox Hide. From here I had an excellent view of two Ruff browsing the mud along the water’s edge. A couple of Greenshank and at least one Redshank were also present.
However, my real photographic thrill of the day was to come down at Singleton Hide, at the Eastern end of the reserve. This is normally the best hide from which to view the resident Marsh Harriers, and is usually the hide where I spend the longest time during my visits to Blacktoft. Curiously, the harriers weren’t much in evidence today, with only two very brief sightings, lasting only a few short seconds each. The thrill came instead from a number of Whitethroats which were flitting around in the tall weeds just in front of the hide. One individual, in particular, landed on a bush quite close to me and gave me time to rattle-off a good few frames, clear of any obscuring bits of reed or bushes (for once!). By the time the bird had gone, I knew I had captured some really good images.I hope it won’t be too long before I get back to Blacktoft again.