Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Blacktoft Sands RSPB

We visited Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve earlier in the week. Its the largest tidal reedbed in England and is located on the Humber Estuary. Views from the hides overlooking the lagoons provided some real treats. Andrea has kindly offered her photos to illustrate our finds.

Early on in our visit this Water Rail appeared from out of the reeds & quickly flew across to conceal itself amongst the vegetation on the opposite bank. We've spotted Water Rails on two other occasions, one at Fairburn Ings on a cold and icy afternoon and the other at Rutland Water, neither occasion were we able to get a pic so I suppose you can consider this a photo first.

Then from the same hide we had our first of many sightings of Marsh Harriers ! We watched three birds at one stage!!! A friendly birder pointed out the initial bird and once we'd got used to their flight behaviour we spotted them from each of the hides we visited.

Lots more sightings of the three Marsh Harriers

Back on terra firma, I'd never seen Snipe before and here are two on an island in the lagoon, three others fed in the shallows on another pond. Wonderful looking waders. The distinctive stripe extending down over the eye accentuates the length of the beak & gives them a fascinating slightly out of proportion look.

I've just noticed that Paul was at Blacktoft Sands earlier today & has some lovely pics over at his blog Little Brown Job.


  1. The first photo of the Water Rail is a beauty.
    I have never seen a Marsh Harrier.

  2. Harriers are great. Had not realised that the head of the female was so light coloured at this time of year

  3. Looks like you got the same view of Marsh Harriers we had, I've got loads of pictures of those houses!

    We're hoping to return to Blacktoft in the next couple of weeks and see if we get as lucky when I've got the big lens with me.

    Never seen a Water Rail, will have to keep a lookout and for the Beaded Tit which evaded us.

  4. What a great collection of pictures from your visit. I saw a water rail at Blacktoft years ago - probably the best view of one I have ever had. Your marsh harrier pictures are super and I love those snipe which are typically hard to see.

  5. Thanks all, it was a great day out & a fantastic reserve to view less common birds. The generosity of fellow birders in sharing their sightings was very helpful, that was how we managed to catch sight of the Water Rail.
    The Marsh Harriers were a wonderful.
    Paul, I did manage a miniglimpse the Bearded Tits through a scope & unexpectedly they were near the waters edge. Unfortunately they only stayed for a millisecond later, maybe next time? Good luck.

  6. Really enjoyed your blog, I will definetly be following from now on. I have never seen a Marsh harrier let alone photograph one.
    Cheers Colin.

  7. Thanks Colin, that's really kind of you. Linda


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