Friday, 17 January 2020

A Walk at Alkborough Flats.

I had long wanted to visit Alkborough flats.  Like Donna Nook, the water authority have breached the river bank (in 2006) in a managed realignment scheme at the confluence of the Rivers (Trent Falls)  where the Trent and the Ouse join to form the Humber Estuary.  The breach allows water to reclain the land in times of flooding.  The project created 2 square km of new intertidal habitat in the inner part of the Humber Estuary.  The area has been managed to provide reedbeds, lagoons and grazing areas.  The wetland attracts thousands of wintering waterbirds including significant numbers of golden plover, lapwing, ruff, black-tailed godwit, curlew, redshank, avocet, shelduck, teal and wigeon.  Other frequent sightings include marsh harrier, little egret, spoonbill, bearded tit and otter.

I had hoped for a bright day and when Brian and I turned up and looked from the top of the cliff out over the reserve, the light was superb.  By the time we had parked, however it had clouded over and the weather became increasingly gloomy, eventually

turning to heavy rain by midday.  As it was largely a walking and exploratory visit we decided on a 3 mile round walk finishing via the large reed beds and hide.  What I should have take more notice of were the notices warning of flooded paths.  I have neglected to take wellies and the results can be see in a photograph further down.  On our way out towards the river back we had excellent views of a huge murmyration of a mixed flock of lapwings and golden plover over towards Blacktof Sands RSPB reserve.  Water fowl were plentiful with curlew and redshank calling as well.  We had good views of mute swans, shelduck, mallard. pochard. pintail, wigeon and teal.  Despite the poor weather we had excellent views of a pair of marsh harriers, the male's cream head showing clearly.  A little egret lifted off from the lagoon near the hide and we saw wren and reed bunting.  Sadly we weren't lucky enough to find the bearded tits but I have now located where people are taking photographs so perhaps next time.

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