Monday, 20 December 2010
Saturday, 13 November 2010
... and the afternoon getting boggy in Alnwick with a Great White Egret:
Who needs Cornwall with Green Heron and American Bittern, eh? Good to bump into PC wanderings and Foghorn who was back for seconds. Also Stef McElwee and Shaun . Good banter all day made up for the somewhat wet feet!
Saturday, 6 November 2010
More seem to be appearing closer now with reports in Middlesbrough and Strensall today.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
I had a little outing down to Derbyshire to see and hear the Great Reed Warbler that has been a long-stayer at Straw's Bridge NR near Ilkeston. A bit further afield than I would normally go, but I decided it would be worth the trip after seeing some footage online. What a loud call! Despite showing "like a porn star" according to one blogger a week or so ago, I had to make do with the occasional reed top perch and sway or the odd few seconds zipping in and out of the lower, greener reeds. No worthwhile photos and a rainy walk back to the car, but worth it.
I called in at Edderthorpe Flash on my way home and after working out the position of a report on Birdguides, I managed to come across four local Barnsley birders and see another lifer, again a warbler in the form of a Marsh Warbler, doing a cracking Song Thrush impression and again playing hide and seek GRW style! Good to hear a pair of Cuckoo here too and a drake Garganey by the roadside of the flash was the day's bonus bird. Always nice to see.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
A quick look in at Back Saltholme and Port Clarence to check for Stints and no joy there either.
Better luck on Saturday though with Little Stint being located on the A178 side of PC flood in the grassland. Quite a rufous back to it and quite flighty too. I'd just missed the Curlew Sandpiper though - this had flown north, possibly onto Back Saltholme. So that's where I headed next. Plenty of Yellow Wagtails still around on the path from the Visitor Centre to Back Saltholme hide and a Fox spotted on Wet Grassland too. The Curlew Sandpiper, in non-breeding plumage was swiftly picked up on a spit near the Clarence end on the pool and with a few Dunlin for comparison. Nice! Different to the sum-plum one I saw last year.
On Sunday we had a family trip up along the escarpmaent from Sutton Bank to White Horse Bank, which was full of walkers and dogs... until a heavy hail shower! English weather, eh? Highlights were 1 Peregrine hanging in the wind towards Hood Hill, 2 Kestrels and a Common Buzzard (unfortunately not a Honey Buzzard). Plenty of Siskin visiting the feeders outside the gift shop in the two minutes I was there.
I had a trip to Lingham water and Nosterfield NR on Monday. Very few waders except Oycs, Redshank and Ringed Plover. Avocet on each too, but nothing to match the Black Winged Stilt. Will there ever be? A pair of Goldeneye seemed to be a late departure, in amongst the Tufties, Pochard and Shelduck (with little humbug shelducklings).
Saturday, 8 May 2010
Red Grouse female
On the way up/across I took time to check Sleddale. Again, plenty of Wheatear on the Commondale side of the cattle grid uphill from Percy Rigg. Also Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Curlew, Meadow Pipit and not a single raptor...
Finally, on my way home, I took an excursion via Swainby, Osmotherly and Hawnby, stopping off in the Arden/Hawnby estate following a tip-off from Lapland for Pied Flycatcher, which was exactly where I'd been told. No Redstart though, so perhaps I'll try Ashberry YWT again this year or Garbutt Wood YWT soon.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
Kept things a little more local with a trip around Flitton Moor, which runs into Flitwick Moor BNCPWT reserve. As I passed Flitton Church, I noticed a Kestrel perching on the De Grey Mausoleum. There were plenty of warblers along the river and around the pond with Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff all noted. A Grey Heron was taking a break from nest building on the moor itself. Two Grey Partridges were accidently flushed and seen in flight. The main highlight was a Cuckoo calling and with a little patience, seen in flight then perching in trees and on wires nearby, always a little too distant for a decent photo frustratingly!
Sunday 2 May 2010
A return to Rookery Pit, in the hope of seeing more Hobbies and perhaps catching up with a long staying RC Pochard. I was unlucky on both counts... Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and GC Grebe all seen as well as Coot, Moorhen and several gull species: GBB, BH etc. A couple of Common and Arctic Terns, but no Black today. Again a Cuckoo heard towards Stewartby chimneys.
No sign of the Turtle Doves along Green Lane between the station and Scrapyard Corner, but I did see a Weasel crossing the road in the cul-de-sac by the yard.
A quick check around the Millbrook side of MVCP for Whinchat or any other seasonal arrivals and empty handed again... All in all though, some very enjoyable birding and great to meet a few Beds birders including Lee Evans, Martin Palmer and Neil Wright.
Friday, 30 April 2010
GC Grebe, Common Tern, BH Gull etc. on the water and a good showing from the warblers in the trees around the lake. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and a year tick in the form of Garden Warbler. Always a pleasure to hear. Three Hobbies were seen from MVCP towards Rookery Pit. Nice!!
Reports came in of three Black Terns, first at Broom GP, then at Bedford CP. After returning to Stewartby in the afternoon for another shot at the elusive Turtle Doves, I headed to Brogborough Lake for a quick scout about and caught up with the Black Terns, fishing at the Sailing Club end and pausing for breath on the buoys. GND still surviving and GC Grebes aplenty.
Next stop, Willington after a tip off for Nightingale, which was found in due course, competing with Chaffinch, Blackcap and Blackbird in the singing stakes. A Mistle Thrush and a Muntjac Deer rounded things off as I headed past the Dovecote and back to the in-laws. A good day all
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Rookery Pit North to check for the 11 Hobbies reported on Birdguides.
I was lucky enough to spot one gliding overhead towards Stewartby
Brickworks chimneys as I walked down from where I parked near the
station. That was to be it as far as Hobbies were concerned though.
Careful checking of the reedbeds revealed no more hawking for insects.
Only a few Cormorants and Coots for company and a few common species
like Goldfinch, Collared Dove, Jackdaw etc. otherwise.
Next stop, Stewartby Lake. Plenty of common passerines for a
soundtrack, with the highlight of another year tick in the form of
Common Tern. Perhaps five or six present, with some fishing and some
loafing on the Sailing Club jetty. One Arctic Tern alongside them for
comparison, which I didn't have the benefit of at Nosterfield on Sunday.
Finally, a couple of stops at Brogborough Lake after the A421
roadworks and the final year tick of the day, Great Northern Diver.
For how much longer this individual will be around is hard to say as
it had fishing lind wrapped around its bill. Help may be on the way as
a local birder made a few calls. Again, some Common Terns for company
as well as 21 Great Crested Grebes and several Tufted Ducks and
Cormorants. A few Blackcap, Common and Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub
and a male Cuckoo calling from the SW corner, but unseen.
A chance encounter with Lee Evans, who used to live a mere 2 miles
from the in-laws and another local birder, Neil, made for good company.
Hopefully, I will be picking up Whinchat and Common Redstart this
week. I'll keep you posted!
Monday, 26 April 2010
At Flamborough we had a walk from the Lighthouse to North Landing, past the Golf Club and checked all the bramble and gorse bushes along the way. A good fall of ten Yellow Wagtails and more Wheatears, with plenty of males - a nice change after connecting only with females at Saltholme on Friday and juveniles in Northumberland in September. Plenty of Tree Sparrow and Linnet around with the odd Kestrel and a constant Skylark soundtrack. We were literally tripping over Meadow Pipits today too.
The grass by the overspill at the Lighthouse held a pair of greyish Yellow Wagtails, one Pied and one White. I was a little disappointed to run out of time, meaning we missed the Pied Flycatcher at Old Fall, found this morning...
So, the Wheatears were my highlight of the day... at least until the Black-winged Stilt returned to Nosterfield! This time to Lingham Lake at the Quarry, rather than the LUCT reserve. I managed to dodgyscope it too.
1 Ruff, 1 Greenshank and 2 Avocet also present at Lingham.
Wheatear (photo from Craster, September 2009)
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Friday, 16 April 2010
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
I had a brief flit around the Common yesterday lunchtime and I was going to have a walk around the Flaxton end of the reserve to see which butterflies were around. So far this year I have only seen Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. However, both the layby areas were full of caravans, horses and their owners etc. so no stopping for me. I turned the car around a little further up the road and stopped to view three Greenland White-fronted Geese in the wet grassland by Wilks Plantation. An unexpected find! I have seen Common Buzzard circling above the plantation on a number of occasions here and a good variety of passerines at this end of the reserve plus Curlew and Kestrel, but this was a little more out of the ordinary.
Back to the main woodland end of things, the summer migrants are becoming more apparent, with Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler noted, in addition to the usual tit and finch population. No Treecreeper or Nuthatch today though.
Still no joy with Woodlark here this year. Patience...
Sunday 11 April 2010
A quick march about Ashberry YWT and the neighbouring woodland revealed good numbers of tits as well as Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, but no Common Redstart yet.
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
After having house guests over the weekend, I decided to make a quick dash to Teesside for a shot at the Great White Egret, but alas too late to connect. I had a good scout around Dormans Pool and had a good crack on with Tim Dredge, who also missed the GWE. We did however get Peregrine and Kestrel and a Little Egret towards the fire station. Plenty of Tufties, Pochard and Coot about as usual. A good number of GC Grebes as well. Curlew in the field towards the railway line and a few overflying Shelduck.
I couldn't locate the BN Grebe on Rec Pond but did find two redhead Smew that seem to be enjoying their residency here.
Recorded my first Avocets of the year, with one on the newly refurbished island on the Saline Lagoon and a further nine on the pools to the north of Greatham Creek. Plenty of Redshank and Shoveler around but no sign of the LRP, well not for me anyway. There had been three sighted at Back Saltholme, but they were invisible to my eyes at distance in fading light. I always enjoy seeing the parties of grey and Common Seals around the Creek, hauled out to the west of the bridge on this occasion. The odd Oystercatcher and teal on the Creek itself and a few Canada Geese and Redshank, plus the occasional BH Gull.
Well, the flooding may have subsided and the Derwent is back in its banks, but there seemed to be no respite from the rain over a lunchtime visit. The Natural England end of the reserve still limited to the viewing platform only as the disturbance from the construction work continues. A scan from here revealed a single Stock Dove on its own, not associating with the sparse number of Woodpigeons around and a Little Gull in winter plumage, dwarfed by the LBB and BH around it. Plenty of Wigeon, Shoveler and Tufties, the odd Teal and Mute Swan to finish things off here. Some singing from the Dunnocks and some menace from the Magpies.
At the YWT site, I could finally drive into he car park after what must have been three months of flooding. Good to see a variety of birds on the newly drained grassland including Curlew, Lapwing, Carrion Crow and Pheasant. A scout about from the first hide revealed more Shoveler, a really good number in fact, probably more than 20. A few Tufties, several pairs of Teal, more Wigeon and a few pairs of Canada and Greylag, although no Egyptian today. Plenty of Coot and a few Mute Swans sleeping in the vegetation and that was about it on the water.
The riverside path and surrounding trees held Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Robin and that sure sign of spring, Chiffchaff! Get the sunscreen ready...
Saturday, 27 March 2010
Well, as I haven't been out this week, there's a little time to catch up on last week's outings. I had a bit of a trip out to Scarborough, Wykeham Forest and Langdale Forest.
First stop, Wykeham Forest for the raptor viewpoint, hopeful of a Goshawk, Buzzard or Hen Harrier, anything really! After an hour or so, zip zero. Well, excluding the usual suspects like Greenfinch, Siskin, Coal Tit and so on.
Then I called in at Hackness to check for Mandarins. I was in luck hear with a single pair although distant, with the added excitement of viewing from a narrow, soft roadside verge, through established, dense trees. A few Canada Geese, Mallards and the odd Moorhen and Pheasant were present. A good range of Tits too, with Coal, LT, Blue and Great seen. A pretty little village and far easier access than Wykeham Lakes (fishing) with their welcoming "Absolutely no birdwatching!" sign. At least it's not as pretentious as the one at Ripon Fishing Club, sorry, Piscatorial Association...
After battling through the convoy/roadworks of West Ayton to get to Hackness, plodded on to Scalby at the coast. Good numbers of Oystercatcher, Redshank, Ringed Plover and a Curlew on the beach of Jackson's Bay. BH, Herring, LBB, Common and a single Little Gull seen along the shoreline too. A good number of RB Mergansers in North Bay. A pair of Stonechat and a good sizeable flock of Woodpigeon along Scalby Beck kept me entertained heading back to the car.
So on to Maw Rigg, up past Langdale End in Langdale Forest, hoping for the highlight of the day... a Great Grey Shrike, which had been reported on Birdguides, Scarborough Birding and by Steve Race.... After a good walk along Forestry Commission tracks, I finally arrived up at Maw Rigg, in the clear-felled areas, with their strategically left perches for Nightjar etc. and after a good scan around, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just as I was about to head home, a car approached at slow pace (bearing in mind the gates were locked) and I was greeted by the customary birders greeting, "Any joy yet?". It was Andy Malley, recently appointed chairman of Flamborough Bird Observatory. He was kind enough to give me a little tour of Maw Rigg, but after perhaps another hour, still no GGS. WEll, you win some, you lose some. A good number of Common Crossbills were passing through at this point and occasionally dropping down to drink from the puddles in the tracks.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Friday, 12 March 2010
Thursday, 11 March 2010
There is a lot of work to control water management of the reserves at present, so the Natural England section of the reserve, which normally has two hides accessible and a viewing platform, only had the platform accessible. This section has been flooded for months, with the hides inaccessible. Wigeon, Tufted Duck, BH Gull, Common Gull and several crow species on show. Mixed tit and finch flocks passing through the trees around the car park. Relatively quite though compared to the 300+ gulls seen on Tuesday last week there.
The main Yorkshire Wildlife Trust site held Water Rail, heard sharming by the bridge, but not seen and a brief view of a Barn Owl passing through. Waterfowl-wise: 2 Pintail drakes, a pair of Goosander, a pair of Gadwall, a pair of Goldeneye and several Wigeon and Tufties. Only a few Canada and 2 Greylag Geese counted plus a pair of Shelducks. A Grey Heron remained motionless for a good hour, before flying off over the convent and a few Curlew mingled amongst 6 Black-tailed Godwits.
I managed to access the first two hides and walk as far as the windpump, hence the wellies. Got a cracking rash for my troubles, thanks to my latex allergy!
A mixed tit and finch flock visited the feeding table in the woodland by the access road. Not a single wintering swan on the day, just a pair of Mutes.
Monday, 8 March 2010
A good show for the waders around Parton Rocks with Redshank, Oystercatcher, Purple Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and Turnstone all abundant. A few Curlew, 2 Sanderling and a Knot finishing things off.
The usual gulls on show: BH, Herring, LBB, GBB and a single Med Gull on the rocks inside the pier.
As one of the last to get off, I was lucky enough to get a herd of 50 Whooper Swans flying north at 1145. The same flock spotted over Saltholme, Cleveland and Terrington., N Yorks earlier I would guess. A cracking end to a good morning.
A quick stop at Newburn Bridge revealed plenty of Redshank and a few Oystercatchers in the bay; 3 Rock Pipits and two Pied Wagtails on the rock armour. The Med Gull flitting around and favouring its regular lamp post. Otherwise mainly Herring Gulls. A surprising absence of grebes and ducks on the sea.