RSPB Airedale & Bradford started the new season of walks at Rodley Nature Reserve on 14th September, with guides Peter and Barbara Murphy. A small group of us made the walk, which was on a cool sunny day, perfect for spotting birds.
The Rodley Nature Reserve site was previously a sewage works and is now a man-made habitat for attracting wildlife to the Leeds area. We started out at the lagoon, which was dug on a flood plain. A kingfisher was spotted and he was obviously in the mood for showing off. He posed on a perch before doing an aerial display and some diving for us.
The duck marsh hide was our next stop. A family of mute swans were in this area: however, trouble was brewing, as a black swan turned up to disturb the peace. Lots of squabbles and fighting ensued, causing a lot more drama than watching the soaps.
Next we received exclusive access to the fish pass, which we were told was the best place to spot grey wagtails and dippers. The fish pass has been built for fish migrating upstream so that they can bypass the weir. Some of us spotted one of the dippers and we also saw our second kingfisher of the day. There were fresh otter tracks in the sand banks, but the nocturnal mammals were not about when we were there. We were told that they have only been seen on the cameras at night.
No grey wagtails were seen in the fish pass area, although one of the elusive birds flew over as we made our way around Tim’s field. This was previously a sunken field: however, it is now level, as all the soil removed when digging the lagoon was placed here. The field is now planted with flowers to attract birds.
We then moved on to the dragonfly ponds, was a tranquil area. As the name suggests, there were lots of dragonflies to be spotted here, as well as other pond life.
Our next stop was the visitor centre, where we were able to have hot drinks and refreshments before we ended our walk in the manager’s garden. There were lots of feeding stations to attract the birds, so we were able to add lots of finches to our “birds spotted” list and finished off our walk by seeing a female pheasant, which brought our total of birds spotted to 28.
Birds seen: mute swan, mallard, gadwall, moorhen, black swan, kingfisher, black headed gull, little grebe, magpie, wood pigeon, teal, jay, grey heron, great tit (pictured), blue tit, robin, chiffchaff, dipper, cormorant, grey wagtail, dunnock, crow, goldfinch, greenfinch, swallow, chaffinch, bullfinch and pheasant.