Nosterfield Complex, Nicholson’s Lagoon, YWT Ripon City Wetands. Tuesday 7th January 2020
Leader: June Atkinson.
Amid an unsettled spell of weather, this trip took place on an unexpectedly dry day which was ‘ unseasonably warm’, whatever that means these days. At Nosterfield, we found the Lapwings were very unsettled and frequently put the Golden Plover flock up with them while the Curlews were more settled and the 4 Grey Herons stood quite unperturbed throughout. A Little Egret flew amongst the swirling flocks, but we could see no raptor to account for the flighty waders.
The water levels at the reserve were high and ducks present included Tufted, Shoveler, Mallard and Teal.
Unable to spot the long staying American vagrant, Lesser Yellowlegs amongst the Redshanks at Nosterfield we relocated to Lingham. Here we added female Scaup, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Pintail, Shelduck and Redwing to the list. Rumours reached us that the female Smew could be at Ladybridge Lake just down the road, so we went to investigate. On this site views are limited due to access, and unfortunately the Smew was not seen.
After lunch we parked at Ripon Canal and walked up to view Nicholson’s Lagoon. There were several Goldeneye and two species of geese, Greylag and Canada, amid the usual ducks. Determined to add the YWT Ripon City to our itinerary for the first time this year, we had a pleasant walk further up the canal and entered the wetlands at Renton Bridge. A splendid male Red crested Pochard, and a male Pochard for comparison, were located very quickly on the lagoon nearest to the canal side. A small flock of Linnets and Goldfinches were in the canal side trees.
This was a very good start to the year’s birding and enjoyed by all 11 members who attended, with 58 species seen. Thanks to June for her leadership.
PS. The Lesser Yellowlegs returned to the Nosterfield reserve on the following days and was subsequently seen by many lucky birders.