A grand Yorkshire day out

We started the day at Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve. It was a beautiful morning. We had gone with the purpose of seeing the common crane – I’d seen it the day before by my companions hadn’t seen it yet. The crane wasn’t showing when we arrived so we had a little walk on the reserve. We had brilliant views of cuckoo, lesser whitethroat and common terns and the place was buzzing with warbler song and bird activity. One of the best moments was watching a heron contemplating a raid on an occupied coot nest! Seeing the coot transform from being completely relaxed to becoming an inflated, menacing, black balloon and witnessing the tension of the moment was really something to remember.
We gave up on the crane at around to grab a bite to eat and went to check at the visitor centre to see whether anyone had reported any sightings there. No one had seen it since earlier that morning. By this time, it was beginning to rain so we traveled to North Cave. It rained heavily all the way there but, by the time we had arrived, it had stopped and the sun had come out again.
At North Cave there were around 40 of avocets; both ringed and little ringed plover (both in the scope for comparison); a singing corn bunting; more lesser whitethroats; potential Caspian, Mediterranean and little gull (my gull ID isn’t very good); all 3 species of wagtail and, as we were leaving, an osprey flew low overhead being mobbed by many of the avocets.  Priceless!
We went back to Fairburn on the way home to have another try at the crane. Some RSPB friends saw us and watched with us – after about a half hour, the crane walked out from behind a bush on the stacks and everyone got a good view.
Thanks to all those birders that we shared our day with – it was great meeting you.

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