Blacktoft Sands trip report – 23/11/15

The attraction of the possibility of seeing Hen Harriers wasn’t enough to woo members away from Derbyshire and so in the end only three of us went.  Arriving at mid-day with the intention of staying until last light, Blacktoft delivered the goods.  The weather was calm and mild but rather depressingly overcast. Undeterred, we started at the most westerly hide and then worked our way eastwards arriving at the last hide in time to watch the raptors returning to the reed bed to roost for the night.

In all we saw 35 different species which in itself, doesn’t seem very impressive.  However, many common birds seemed to be absent, so we didn’t ‘clock’ a single coot or mallard, non of the tits were present and there were few waders.

The highlights of the show were a roost of 51 Common Snipe, a Ringed Tail Hen Harrier which gave us good views as it circled the reed bed at about 13:30 (in good light) and then towards evening we saw up to 13 Marsh Harriers at any one time and also had wonderful sightings of a hunting Barn Owl, which, on one occasion, flew very close to the hide.

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