Just half an hour’s drive from Hull, this rapidly growing wetland managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust already has a big reputation for some impressive wildlife and plenty of great ways to enjoy it. The patchwork of habitats is key to North Cave Wetlands’ popularity with nature and visitors alike with deep lakes, wet grassland, gravel islands, reedbed and hedgerows all to be discovered. Leading the cast of more than 200 bird species found at the site is the iconic avocet, with marsh harriers passing through and colourful ducks brightening a winter visit. Summer sees the skies hum with more than two dozen types of butterflies and dragonflies too.
Five wildlife viewing hides, including an accessible cosy straw bale hide, offer excellent views across the nature reserve and a brand new viewing and picnic area (also accessible) offers great views across the main pools and feeding station. Hot food and drinks are available at the mobile Wild Bird Café at the entrance. There is no charge to enter the nature reserve; car parking is free.
Spring The nature reserve becomes a hive of activity, with breeding avocet, common tern, little ringed plover, lapwing and redshank. Reed and sedge warblers deliver their songs from deep within the reedbed, while sand martin and kingfisher nest in the sand cliffs of the quarry, and grassland areas are home to skylarks and lapwing.
Summer Butterflies – including a small colony of brown argus - are joined by dragonflies like the four-spotted chaser and the often inquisitive southern hawker, which will fly in close to investigate visitors! Their nemesis the hobby, a bird-of-prey, which visits in the summer from Africa, which may swoop in for a quick meal. The islands and wetland fringes play host to young birds finding their feet - and wings - for the first time.
Autumn: Dropping water levels prove attractive for passage migrant wading birds like the little stint and the chance of seeing rarer species; ask the local bird experts often visiting the site.
Winter: Another great time to visit as ducks such as goldeneye, pochard, shoveler, gadwall and teal gather on the islands alongside lapwings, redshank and occasional visitors like ruff. Barn owl, red kite and peregrine often pay a visit too, as do marsh harriers exploring from their summer haunts along the Humber. Hedges and crops support finches and buntings, and the feeding station is always busy.