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Tophill Low Nature Reserve

From Opus

Photo by Chris3871) D reservoir as viewed from Car Park Hide
Photo by Chris3871)
D reservoir as viewed from Car Park Hide

England, Yorkshire


[edit] Overview

This Yorkshire Water owned reserve is made up of two large reservoirs and a series of other pools at the Tophill Low Pumping Station. The reserve records around 150 different species each year, and is well-known for its large numbers of overwintering waterfowl.

[edit] Birds

[edit] Notable Species

As mentioned, huge numbers of ducks take up residence in the winter months, predominantly on the D reservoir. There are many Eurasian Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Mallard, Gadwall and often Ruddy Duck or Northern Pintail. Smew visit the reserve every winter.

Several different wader species visit the lagoons in summer, and include Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and Common Greenshank, and Garganey are seen most years.

In the spring and autumn the reserve can turn up some interesting migrants that move to the UK from Europe.

[edit] Rarities

Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ferruginous Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, White Stork, Spotted Crake, Black Kite, Red-footed Falcon, Amur Falcon, Baird's Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, Pectoral Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, Franklin's Gull, Caspian Tern, White-winged Tern, Whiskered Tern, Little Auk, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Wryneck, Red-rumped Swallow, Horned Lark, Richard's Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Savi's Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Parrot Crossbill, Common Rosefinch, Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, Rustic Bunting, Ortolan Bunting.

[edit] Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck, Smew, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Red-legged Partridge, Common Pheasant, Water Rail, Moorhen, Common Coot, Spotted Crake, Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe, European Curlew, Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Stock Dove, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker,Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Eurasian Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Treecreeper, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common Crossbill, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Eurasian Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting

[edit] Other Wildlife

Red Fox and Roe Deer are often seen, particularly by the Watton Borrow Pits. The reserve is known for it's thriving population of hybrid Pool Frog/Marsh Frogs, seen most commonly in the North and South Lagoons. Grass Snake are also frequently seen as are Water Voles. Otter have been observed on the reserve in recent years.

[edit] Site Information

[edit] History and Use

The reservoirs were completed in 1959 and have since been declared as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

[edit] Areas of Interest

The D and O reservoirs, so named for their shapes, are the best place for waterfowl in the winter including. The scarcer Grebes are annual and Divers aren't unusual. A large roost of mostly smaller gulls occur in winter on D reservoir which often has Yellow-legged Gull & Mediterranean Gull present.

In Summer, South Marsh is good for waders and the Spotted Crake. The scrub surrounding South Marsh provides profitable hunting for Hobby in late summer and held Britains first Amur Falcon. In winter the occasional Bittern spends time in the reedbeds around the marsh.

Watton Borrow Pits, the furthest pools from the Visitor Centre provide views of a range of birds, including Cormorant, large numbers of Greylag Goose and in winter this is where the Smew are usually found. The walk to the borrow pit hides leads through pine woodland and thorn bushes which can be good for finding warbler species.

The woods through which the path towards North Marsh lead are a good site for woodland birds like Goldcrest, Eurasian Woodcock, Eurasian Treecreeper, Common Crossbill and Brambling.

The visitors centre offers views of the birdfeeders where Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Water Rail are regularly present.

[edit] Access and Facilities

The reserve offers 12 viewing hides and has a visitor centre with sightings board, a display on reserve history, birdfeeder viewing and toilet facilities. Around half of the hides are accessible by wheelchair users.

The reserve is normally closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but is open on Bank Holiday Mondays. Summer: 9am - 6pm Winter: 9am - 4pm

Entry to the reserve costs £2.45 for adults, and £1 for concessions, and tickets are purchased from the machine in the carpark.

Directions: Travelling along the A164 between Beverley and Driffield, visitors should turn off into a layby between Hutton and Beswick which should be signposted Watton and Tophill Low. From the layby a small road leads through the village of Watton and over a railway line, becoming narrow and winding. Stop with this road for it's entire length and the Tophill Low reserve entrance is found at it's end. The drive will lead you around the pumping station, over speed bumps, and to the carpark.

[edit] Contact Details

01377 270690

[edit] References

[edit] External Links

Tophill Low Website

Tophill Low car park on Streetmap


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