Saturday, 1 November 2014

Eastern Crowned Warbler, Brotton

A family trip out to Brotton today for my second ECW. Who would have thought lightning would strike so close after the Trow bird back in 2009? T-shirt weather and blue skies in November. fantastic!

Working through the sycamore canopy, pausing at times momentarily.

A quick trip up to South Gare for a distant Grey Phalarope on the Coatham Sands side of the breakwater rocks and a flightly finch flock with this lovely Twite.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Hoopoe hurray!

I finally caught up with one of my UK bogie birds today - not eaxactly the rarest but undoubtedly splendid. My daughter and I caught up with this Hoopoe at a private site near Beverley which the gracious owner had been kind enough to release news and allow birders onto his drive to view the bird on the manicured lawn at point blank range.

We spent a good while watching it after an initial brief glimpse and a hasty retreat to the car during one of several torrential showers, which each sent the bird over a hedge out of site. Maybe it had found a gazebo?

Hoopoe, Beverley

Hoopoe, Beverley

Saturday, 15 March 2014


Owls have been a bit thin on the ground, but after locating a pair of Tawny Owls on Tuesday evening, I only have Little Owl left for the year list.

I saw SEO on Cowpen Marsh a few weeks ago and Barn Owl on Greenabella Marsh.

This LEO was taken at RSPB Saltholme recently.

One day I might see a Snowy Owl. I thought this winter might have been the one...

Prince Caspian

1W Caspian Gull will have been seen at Lingham Lake, Nosterfield Quarry for 4 months tomorrow. Quite an achievement for what would have been considered a rare bird not so long ago in this neck of the woods!

1W Caspian Gull, Nosterfield Quarry 15/03/14

A Chiffchaff was seen near Flasks lake.

A taste of spring on the reserve this morning with both Skylark and Meadow Pipit back, but I missed each. i did catch up with a sleeping Ruff though, so a three year-tick day.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Winter Swans, Sadberge

A party of four swans have favoured a field just north of the Dogs Trust in Sadberge since December.  The group is made up of 3 Whooper Swans - one adult and two juveniles along with one adult Bewick's.

Although the two species have extensive overlap, there are still no definitive cases of hybridisation in the wild. Hybrid offspring would be difficult to recognise due to the similar morphology and bill markings. The book 'Bewick's Swan' by Eileen Rees describes incidences of other Bewick's hybrids though.

Family party of Whooper Swans, Sadberge

Bewick's and Whooper together

Bewick's Swan, Sadberge

Whooper Swan, Sadberge

Great Grey Shrike, Bradbury

Following on from the Swans at Sadberge, I made the short trip to Bradbury where I enquired about the presence of the shrike.  A group of birders in a parked car had had no joy scanning the hedge north of the railway line, so I started scanning the general field boundary and picked it up near the farm at first.  It then flew to the hedge by the A1 - some distance hence the poor record shot!

Bert Mitchell, John Money and a few others turned up just as I located it.

Great Grey Shrike, Bradbury
3 January 2014

A nearby flock of gulls contained Black-headed, Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed.

Here's one I made earlier! Just a little bit closer :-)

Great Grey Shrike, Hartlepool Headland
10 October 2010

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Staveley YWT

A family trip to Staveley (a recently expanded YWT reserve near Boroughbridge) late this morning with the family was quite fruitful with views of Water Rail from one of the East Lagoon hides.

Water Rail

The other highlight was picking up a Marsh Tit when chatting with Maurice Local.

Surprisingly no Yellowhammer, Siskin or Redpoll before heavy rain put the dampers on things.

Foot It 2014 begins

We're off! The first bird of 2014 for me was a Woodpigeon...

Nothing earth-shattering, but the Foot It list is up and running and stands at 22 species:

Great Tit
Collared Dove
Blue Tit
House Sparrow
Carrion Crow
Tree Sparrow
Mistle Thrush
Long-tailed Tit
Black-headed Gull

A mixed winter thrush flock gorging on my neighbours' apple windfall was good to see, but couldn't match the 26 Blackbirds present yesterday. There were Redwings and Fieldfares in the mix though.