Saturday, 14 October 2017

The birds come in 7's

My duty day in reception at Blacktoft today.
I arrived just before 8am and had a walk around the different hides. Marshland was the first hide and I saw 7 magpies. Xerox hide was next where I saw 7 different birds, teal, wigeon, mallard, shoveler, black tailed godwit, snipe and lapwing.
First and Townend  lagoons  had no birds but Singleton had 7 redshanks!
I opened the reception and one of the first visitors was a chap I last saw at a wedding about 20 years ago. It was his first visit to Blacktoft and he was hoping to get some pictures of marsh harriers. I pointed towards Singleton lagoon and lo and behold there were 7 marsh harriers in the sky.
Lots of visitors came during the day and several of them were paying their first visit to the reserve and they all left having had a brilliant day. After 5 pm I had a walk around again. Lots of pink footed geese were flying over towards Witton Sands.

 From Singleton hide I could see lots of lapwings
Some spotted redshanks were busy feeding
Then suddenly all the birds flew off as a sparrowhawk flew across the edge of the lagoon.

It was very quiet then for a while until a barn owl flew around.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Rose coloured starling, red backed shrike and slavonian grebe

A day out with Chris in the Spurn area on Friday. We arrived in Easington about 11am and joined a couple of birders looking for the starling. Plenty of ordinary starlings but no sign of the rose coloured one. So we ventured a little further and joined more birders looking at a red backed shrike. The bird was sat in a bramble bush some distance away but it did fly closer to us.

Ater a brief visit to the nearby cemetery we returned to the bungalows and managed a bried glimpse of the starling.From there we went to Kilnsea Wetlands.
The birders in the hide had found a wader that they could not identify which after some speculation turned out to be a little stint. We walked up to Beacon Ponds to look at the slavonian grebe.

We then drove down towards the entrance to Spurn and parked whilst we had a short walk looking for birds.
This is the new visitor centre which has caused a lot of conflict. Work is still going on which may have accounted for the lack of birds in the area. Chris drove back to the Crown and Anchor whilst I walked. I saw a pair of stonechats and a large charm of goldfinch but nothing else bird wise, lots of red admiral butterflies and dragon flies.

We could not locate any yellow browed warblers or a firecrest in the area so decided to set off for home. On the way we called in to Sammy's Point where a redpoll had been reported. Lots of goldfinches and a family of mute swans but no redpoll.
A good day two ticks for my year list to bring me to 200 and a lifer (rose coloured starling).
Thanks to Chris for the planning and driving.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Birding round Hartlepool

A day out with Chris. I drove for a change and we headed for Hartlepool/Saltholme as I wanted to check out the site for a proposed school trip. We drove through rain but as we approached the area the weather improved.
When we reached the area where you used to be able to watch the seals I was able to see what Chris had  said. The area is undergoing major work to return it to saltmarsh and at the moment it is not suitable for a school trip.
We then headed for Newburn Bridge, only to be diverted due to a running event. After a short detour we arrived in the car park. The tide was coming in and a few birds could be seen on the edge of the water. This oystercatcher did not look very well, had it been in contact with oil?
Chris spotted some sandwich terns on the beach

We then headed for Hartlepool Headland where we added shag, curlew, turnstone to our list.

Hartlepool Marina only had a few gulls so we headed back to Newburn Bridge. The tide had come in a bit more and the sun started to shine.
Oystercatchers, sanderling and ringed plover were closer in as was a bar tailed godwit.

We then had a walk out along North Gare road where we added sparrowhawk , stonechat, goldfinch and skylark to the list. It was now 1330 so we headed for Saltholme and ate our lunch in Phil Stead hide. We added little egret, teal moorhen and coot to our list. Saltholme pool was our next and last stop.On the way to the hide we saw a kestrel and a stonechat. Greylag geese, dunlin, lapwing, snipe, redshank and pied wagtail brought our list up to 40.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Askham Bog

Woke up this morning to discover lots of wasps in the bathroom! So after work I popped to the supermarket to get some spray etc. I then decided to call in at the nature reserve next door. It was very cloudy and it had started to rain. Not a lot of bird life to be seen or heard as I entered the reserve.
  There is a variety of colour to be seen in the vegetation.

 I could hear something falling onto the board walk and when I looked up a woodpigeon was flapping about in the top of an oak tree causing lots of acorns to fall down.