Monday, 21 May 2018

Mappleton and Flambro

Geography field trip today. A bit cool at the coast as we measured pebbles on the beach.

There was another school on the beach as we carried out our measurements.
Then it was time to go to Flamboro.

I managed to get a quick shot of nesting kittiwakes
House martins were gathering mud from one of the cliff tops.

and I will be doing it again tomorrow!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Mrs Montagu draws a crowd

On duty at Blacktoft yesterday. My journey there was very straightforward until I got to Goole docks. A ship was going into one of the inner docks and I had to wait 20 minutes. Once on the reserve the change in the vegetation since my last visit some weeks ago was remarkable.

My first job was to lead a walk for people who are new to birdwatching and wanted help identifying bird song. We could not have wished for a better start. Just outside reception a cuckoo was calling, and a few yards further on a cetti's warbler was sat in the open singing. On the other side of the footpath sedge warblers were in full song and we saw several in flight. At Marshland we saw avocet, shelduck, gadwall and black headed gulls.
Our walk to Ousefleet was rewarded with views of garganey and 163 black tailed godwits and a single bar tailed.From the other hides we had excellent views of marsh harriers hunting and doing food passes

 This caterpliiar was crossing the path hoping to avoid cuckoos etc.
From reception visitors were able watch a water vole.
The star attraction however was the female montagu's harrier. Several times during the day she had a fly around. This is my best "worst" shot. She was a long way away but you can see the tail .

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Glen Rosa

A sunny day but the wind had a cold edge to it. Glen Rosa is mentioned in various articles as a good place for raptors so off I set. Not a long journey from Lamlash where I am staying and there was still space in the small car park. Other people in the car park were putting on their walking gear as they were going to climb to the top, I was just going for a ramble. Lots of people along the path and not much bird life, a kestrel and a golden eagle over the top of the highest hill. A cuckoo was singing from some trees in one of the high valleys. The biggest surprise was to find a colony of sand martins nesting in the bank of the river. No more text just pictures.

Just one more stop today as I continued looking for a stream with dipper. The stream at High Dougarie looked possible but again no sign of dipper or wagtail. However as a bonus at the sea end of the stream there were a pair of mergansers and goosander.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018


The weather forecast for today was for rain about lunchtime so I got up early and drove over to Blackfoot. This is where the hotel we will be staying at is situated and I wanted to sort out a couple of walks.
I walked south from the hotel along the coastal path. Linnets and siskins were in the bushes. On the beach were some waders.
Common sandpipers were busy chasing each other around, and one of them was raising its wings in what I presume was their courtship display.

Ringed plovers and turnstones were also on the beach.
According to the local bird guide dippers and grey wagtails frequent this area but not today.
This sign shows the various footpaths etc. I took the right hand one but will not be taking the group that way as it runs through a golf course. The path eventually took me back to the coastal path.
As I walked down the path I heard a stonechat singing and saw it perched on some brambles.

The path is not easy to walk along due to the rocks and stones.

There were plenty of flowers along the way.

Fulmars were nesting on parts of the cliff.
The path then comes close to the golf course.

As I walked back towards the hotel on the beach, common gulls were nesting on the rocks.
Someone had installed a metal guide.

Gannets were diving into the sea.
Pipits and ringed plovers were also on the beach and the edge of the golf course.

I just got back to the car as it started to rain. I then drove north along the road stopping in various places to watch birds. Red breasted mergansers were fishing as were black throated divers.
I was watching one diver when I noticed a black guillemot.
One flew towards me and landed on some nearby cliff face.
According to brochures etc. red deer can be seen in the streets of Lochranza. On previous visits I did not see any but today.
I stopped in the first layby and looked for golden eagles but only a buzzard was out in the rain and a male hen harrier. It has now 7pm and it has stopped raining!