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High Eske/Pulfin Fen by Nick Upton
 

High Eske/Pulfin Fen consists of an excavated lake, grassy banks, scrubland and a flooded reedbed in a tidal bend of the River Hull. These two small reserves are owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Environment Agency and are surrounded by low-lying mixed farmland.

This spot has been one of my local birdwatching patches since 2005 whilst I studied for my degree.

 
How to get to High Eske/Pulfin Fen
 

To the northeast of Beverley; take the A 1036 towards Bridlington and Hornsea. Just before Hull Bridge, turn right into a dead end running parallel to the main road and park. Walk north along the public footpath along the eastern bank of the River Hull; access is along the frontage of the Crown and Anchor public house.

The River Hull is tidal at this point and their is access all around the lake at low tide. When the water is high it is not possible to walk around the lake.

Beverley is c. 10 miles north of Kingston-upon-Hull: it is served by train and is on the main bus route from York to Hull.

 
Birdwatching at High Eske/Pulfin Fen 

High Eske/Pulfin Fen has something to offer birdwatchers all year round, although winter and spring are the best for winter wildfowl and passage migrants.

Breeding birds at Eske include good populations of Reed and Sedge Warblers, Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap and single pairs of Oystercatcher and Common Tern usually manage to fledge some chicks. A small colony of Tree Sparrows exists in a nearby mature hedge and Cuckoos are common in May.

 
Eurasian Oystercatcher
 

1. Walking along the River Hull in order to get to the lake gives birdwatchers a chance to see some farmland species including Skylark, Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit, Little Owl and Grey Partridge and waterbirds often turn up on the river - Jack Snipe, Common and Green Sandpipers have been seen a number of times.

2. Damp pasture and set aside is worth a look for Teal, Shoveler, Green Sandpiper and Lapwing particularly during spring migration.

3. In winter, large numbers of Wigeon and other common ducks use the lake and have been joined by less common species including Goosander, Smew, Pintail, Common Scoter, American Wigeon and Ring-necked Duck.

The spring migratory period is probably the best time to visit this location when common migrants pass through in good numbers and almost anything can turn up; Slavonian Grebe in 2006 and Bewick's Swan, Little Gull and Egyptian Goose in 2007.

Also, see my Dartford Waffler blog where there are many entries for High Eske/Pulfin Fen.

 
Other Wildlife

High Eske/Pulfin Fen is also a good place for other wildlife and is quite botanically rich. In early spring Coltsfoot and Marsh Marigold provide a splash of colour and later on Bee Orchids and Pyramidal Orchids are numerous on the sunny banks with Common Spotted Orchid present also.

A number of bat species are present (although I don't know which) and Brown Hare is common in the surrounding farmland. Roe Deer, Mink, Stoat, Rabbit are fairly common in the area too and I am told that there are Otters in the river and on one occasion in May 2007 I saw a very confused Grey Seal swimming north along it!

 
Common Spotted Orchid
(Photo by Nick Upton)
 

For those interested in butterflies Eske is a good place with Small Copper, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Orange Tip and many other species present.

Finally, herpetologists can find something of interest here; Slow Worm seems to be particularly numerous with plenty of specimens over 2 feet long, in spring Common Frog, Common Toad and Marsh Frog are easily found. Most interestingly though, in a small pool to the northwest of the main lake there is a resident Red-eared Terrapin!

 
Birds Species recorded at High Eske/Pulfin Fen 
American Wigeon
Barn Owl
Bewick's Swan
Blackbird
Blackcap
Black-headed Gull
Blue Tit
Brambling
Bullfinch
Canada Goose
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Collared Dove
Common Gull
Common Sandpiper
Common Scoter
Common Tern
Coot
Cormorant
Cuckoo
Dunlin
Dunnock
Egyptian Goose
Fieldfare
Gadwall
Garden Warbler
Garganey
Goldeneye
Goldfinch
Goosander
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Crested Grebe
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Green Sandpiper
Green Woodpecker
Greenfinch
Greenshank
Grey Heron
Grey Partridge
Greylag Goose
Herring Gull
Hobby
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jack Snipe
Jackdaw
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Lapwing
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Little Egret
Little Grebe
Little Gull
Little Owl
Little Ringed Plover
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Harrier
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Mute Swan
Osprey
Oystercatcher
Pheasant
Pied Wagtail
Pink-footed Goose
Pintail
Pochard
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Redshank
Redwing
Reed Bunting
Reed Warbler
Ring-necked Duck
Robin
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon)
Rook
Ruddy Duck
Sand Martin
Sedge Warbler
Shelduck
Shoveler
Skylark
Slavonian Grebe
Snipe
Song Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Starling
Stock Dove
Swallow
Swift
Teal
Tree Sparrow
Treecreeper
Tufted Duck
Whimbrel
Whitethroat
Whooper Swan
Wigeon
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellow Wagtail
Yellowhammer
Yellow-legged Gull
 
East Yorkshire Wildlife Links
East Riding Dragonflies - Everything about Dragonflies and Damselflies in East Yorkshire.
Flamborough Wildlife Group - Bird Observations from Flamborough Head.
North Cave Wetlands - All about the reserve.
Spurn Bird Observatory - Recent sightings and visitor information.
 
 
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Bird Fact

(Photo by Marek Szczepanek)
Sedge Warblers are usually monogomous and nest in reed beds with small bushes, laying 3-5 eggs.

Bird Feeder


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