Water­works has a great re­cent record of rar­i­ties

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES

TOPHILL LOW NA­TURE Re­serve is an ac­tive York­shire Wa­ter Treat­ment Works built in 1959. One of its main func­tions is clean­ing the wa­ter of ni­trates brought in from the rich sur­round­ing farm­land. It opened as a Na­ture Re­serve in 1993 and fea­tures 12 hides spread across a 300-acre site that flanks the River Hull. The two con­crete reser­voirs - ‘D’ and ‘O’ – dom­i­nate the re­serve and have Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est (SSSI) sta­tus for their mas­sive wild­fowl num­bers. Around the perime­ter a net­work of marshes, ponds, hay mead­ows, wood­lands and grass­lands re­sult in an an­nual 160-plus bird species count out of the 269 found from 1993. Win­ter sees large num­bers of wild­fowl, with Wi­geon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Smew, Goosander, Scaup and Gad­wall worth look­ing for. One bird that put the re­serve on the map was first re­ported as a Red-footed Fal­con but later found to be an Amur Fal­con, new for Bri­tain! There are many com­mon birds to look for over a 12-month pe­riod, with war­blers mak­ing a great at­trac­tion in the sum­mer months with Cetti’s a great bird to hear from a dis­tance, but much harder to see close by. This makes nine breed­ing war­blers with pas­sage Wood, Ic­ter­ine and Yel­low-browed War­blers pos­si­ble. Spot­ted Crake are an an­nual visitor along with a mixed bag of waders, with some ex­cel­lent finds like White-rumped and Pec­toral Sand­pipers, Lesser Yel­lowlegs and Long-billed Dow­itcher. Lit­tle Ringed Plover breed while lo­cal fields can have large flocks of Golden Plover and Lap­wing in win­ter, as you drive onto the re­serve. Tern rafts add to the breed­ing birds and wag­tails are a joy to find at any time. try the North scrub for mi­grants and North Marsh for Bit­tern, Wa­ter Rail and ducks.

Back south of the car park are the la­goons and O reser­voir to look for even more duck and grebes.

4The South­ern Marshes are a flood de­fence scheme and at­tract many waders and reedbed birds.

5Make an evening visit to hear Spot­ted Crake TA 072 485 YO25 9RH Tophill Low Na­ture Re­serve is sit­u­ated four miles from Wat­ton vil­lage on the A164 Bev­er­ley to Driffield road. It is sign­posted from this road onto mi­nor roads The car park is next to the visitor cen­tre. Ad­mis­sion is £3.30 for adults and £1.50 for con­ces­sions (16 and un­der / 65 and over / reg­is­tered dis­abled). Un­der 5s go free. All year round. No dogs Driffield and Bev­er­ley Ser­vices via bus only along A 164 with trains from Hull. Trav­e­line, tel: 0870 6082608 tophill­ York­shire Wa­ter PO Box 52 Bradford BD3 7YD; tel: 0345 1242 424 Tophill Low Na­ture Re­serve, tel: 01377 270690 email: richard.hamp­shire@york­shire­wa­

Email: ge­off­ OS Ex­plorer 293/5, OS Lan­dranger 107

Cetti’s War­bler Lit­tle Ringed Plover

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