|The River Hull,taken from Hempholme Lock.|
|Bittern,Watton Nature Reserve.|
|Scarlet Elf Cup.|
|Candle Snuff Fungi.|
|Drake Red-crested Pochard,D-Res.|
With the prospect of a full day out today as Trace was sleeping after her nightshift,i decided to head over into the home county again and pay the excellent Tophill Low a visit.It was a tad frosty as i made my journey over the bridge and through Beverley and as i arrived at the car park at Tophill the car thermometer read a bone numbing -5.
Plenty of layers on and the kit together,i planned to do my routine as i always do when visiting,by heading around the edge of D'res,into D'woods and up to North Marsh hide.
This first section of the walk saw a few nice sightings being seen and included a drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker and 6 Siskin in the car park area and 2 lovely Marsh Tit near to North Marsh hide.
A very brief visit to North Marsh saw it being frozen solid and it was far too cold to hang about in their anyway and i carried on towards Hempholme Lock and the River Hull.
As i quietly watched from the lock,a single Kingfisher patiently fished from its riverside perch and 2 Grey Heron fished from the riverbank.A few Tufted Duck and Goldeneye were seen on the river itself along with 7 Little Grebe and while scanning the adjacent area the best bird of the day was seen hunting the fields,a cracking Merlin.The Merlin briefly perched on a nearby hedgerow before carrying on its hunting sortie,a great record for the reserve recording area and the first i have seen here.
A few mammals were noted in this area also and included 4 Roe Deer and a couple of Grey Squirrel.
After spending some time in this excellent area i wandered back in the direction of the car park and down the side of D'res adding only the superb resident white morph Common Buzzard along the way.
A quick stop for a bite to eat at the car saw me then carrying on to the southern areas of the reserve.A Grey Wagtail around North Lagoon was a nice sighting to add to the days list of birds.
A search of 'O' res for the long staying Velvet Scoter drew a blank and it must have moved on,but a good mix of Wigeon,Teal,Tufties and Goldeneye had 3 female Pintail in amongst the flocks.
After a tip off that the Bittern which had been present for a short while was still present on Watton Nature Reserve,it was a sad sight to see the bird with an injured leg,hopefully it will survive the winter,but it doesn't bode too well sadly for a bird that relies on stealth as its hunting strategy.
Heading back to the car again to meet up with Tophill stalwart Martin Hodges,we changed tack and went in the search of winter Fungi.Some interesting species were found and included the striking Scarlet-elf Cups,Candle-snuff Fungi and the coral-like patterned Split Porecrust.This latter species was a new one for both of us and belongs to the Hyphodermataceae,this particular one being found on the dead wood of an array of deciduous trees.
As the day wore on it was time to take part in the bum numbing pastime of watching the gull roost.As we waited for the numbers of gulls to begin to arrive the reported drake Red-crested Pochard from earlier in the week,positively glowed in the afternoon sun.
After scrutinising the arriving flocks,no rares or scarcities were found,but a stunning leucisitic Black-headed Gull certainly made up for it....what a beauty!!.
As the sun went down to the amazing sound of hundreds of chattering Common Gulls it brought to an end another cracking visit to this brilliant little site in rural East Yorkshire.