Newsletter Spring 2016
Next to the Reserve is the River Aire and it attracts some interesting visitors. Whenever the river is in flood, there is a better chance of seeing a Kingfisher fishing on the lake especially when the conditions are better than on the river. The same applies to Goosanders and, to a lesser degree, Little Grebe. This winter, at times up to four Goosanders have been searching for sticklebacks and they are often accompanied by Black-headed Gulls who try to snatch the fish from the ducks as the bird surfaces with its catch.
At the back end of last November, we endured days of heavy rain, which brought about local flooding. However, inside the hide you could remain dry thanks to the work undertaken by a BOG member from Baildon, Peter Riley. The roofing work he did has kept water out and also saved BOG a large bill for the work.
Due to the heavy rainfall, the two islands almost disappeared (see picture). This in fact was nothing compared to the rain that fell at Christmas as both islands disappeared, the fencing was all submerged and the feeder next to the willows was under water.
Once the berries had dropped the hawthorn hedges were cut and you can see the effort given by John Tyson in the photograph. The willows are not cut until January. Some pruning of trees and bushes has provided material, which is then piled up in the wetland area. Hopefully, this will provide potential nesting sites for Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Wren and (with a bit of luck) Grasshopper Warbler. I mentioned this in the last edition of Lapwing so its now, wait and see. The photograph shows the heap constructed. The wet weather mentioned in the previous paragraph, dislodged the pile and it floated away down river. Another pile will need to be constructed.
On the 4th October, a special visitor was at the Reserve. A small bird was spotted at the far side of the willows as it worked busily looking for food. The constant movement and fluttering at it searched made the observer consider it to be a Goldcrest but it looked slightly larger. Fortunately the bird continued towards the open area of the willows where the sun was shining and when it could be viewed completely, a clear pale stripe was seen over the eye along with two creamy wing-bars on the wings. The size of the bird was about in line with a Chiff-Chaff but those wing bars proved the species to be a Yellow-Browed Warbler. Amazingly, this warbler breeds in parts of eastern Russia, China and other parts of Asia. It spends the winter in India and south-east Asia.