Today we visited the Hawk & Owl trust reserve at Sculthorpe Moor. We thoroughly recommend this reserve as it’s a great place to get close to some of the woodland species. It has great hides, especially for photography. The visitor’s centre is always welcoming and informative. We are always impressed at the continuous improvements that are taking place. The Whitley hide has been revamped over the winter. The building of a Sand Martin bank has also begun near the scrape. I think some of the other reserves around the country could learn a lot from what goes on here.

Sculthorpe Moor Chaffinch - male


Chaffinch – male

Reed bunting - male


Reed bunting – male

Although at first sight from the car park it looked very busy there always seems plenty of space on the reserve and in the hides. The volunteer warden told us that there were still a large number of Bramblings feeding at the hides and Redpolls had been seen at one of the feeding stations. Unfortunately no Kingfishers had been sighted at the scrape, due to the work on the sand martin bank.

Brambling - male in winter plumage


Brambling – male in winter plumage

On to the Reserve  

First we headed down to the Whitley hide where we were informed that we had just missed some great views of a Muntjac deer grazing near the hide. We had good views of the Bramblings, a male bull finch in breeding plumage and a female Bullfinch, plus Chaffinches, Great tits and Blue tits. A pair of Little Grebes put in a brief appearance before disappearing out into the marsh. Two Marsh Harriers where also flying low over the reeds.

Bullfinch - male


Bullfinch – male

Little grebe - breeding plumage


Little grebe – breeding plumage

Further along the boardwalk at the New Aerial Hide the Redpolls were still around. We also had some very close views of Nuthatch, Reed Bunting and a male Brambling showing signs of coming into breeding plumage. Goldfinches, Great Tits and Chaffinches were resting in the trees, which were full of catkins, before flying to the feeding station.

Lesser redpoll


Lesser redpoll

Nuthatch


Nuthatch

As we walked back along the boardwalk a large rat was foraging on the ground near a feeding station. In the river numerous frogs were busy mating and laying spawn.

frogspawn


Frog and frogspawn

Frog with toadspawn


Frog with toadspawn

After returning to the center for a drink and snack we walked back along the boardwalk to look at the scrape hides. It was as we expected, with the work and disturbance going on with the new martins sand bank there was very little to see. We returned to the other hides finishing at the woodland hide.

As we approached the hide a Muntjac deer crossed our path, far too close to photograph. In the hide we had some great views of a particularly colourful Brambling, before setting off home. Sculthorpe Moor is always a great place to visit.