Sunday, 17 September 2017

More signs of autumn

I spent Saturday afternoon at Blacktoft helping Alex. In between spells in reception hide I visited some of the other hides. The first one I visited was Marshland, as with previous visits there were butterflies and dragon flies along the path.

There were not many birds on the lagoon and no sign a jack snipe or a white wagtail as one visitor had reported. A juvenile pied wagtail was busily feeding
One of the signs that autumn is gathering pace is the increase in the number of marsh harriers. This one was flying about today. Not brilliant pictures as I was trying to concentrate on its green wing tags.

Time to go back to reception hide and I had only just got there when we had a very heavy rain shower and then a rainbow.
As on previous visits once the rain showers started they continued for a while with brief sunny intervals. During these sunny intervals the bird life was a bit hectic as firstly marsh harriers and then peregrines kept disturbing the birds. From reception hide I could see bar and black tailed godwits flying from one lagoon to another along with redshanks, spotted redshanks, ruff and snipe. A kingfisher kept flying up the ditch in front of reception, so perhaps this winter it will perch on the posts in front of the hides and delight the visitors. A water rail kept running out of the reeds in Xerox lagoon.
The rain started again at 5pm when it was time to close reception. I had a walk down to Singleton hide where most of the waders were congregated and on the way lots of geese were flying overhead. I only saw greylags but earlier in the day visitors had reported seeing pink footed geese, another sign that autumn is on its way.
One last thing. The bridge in Goole will be closed for repairs for the next two weekends, so if you are planning a trip to the reserve you will need to find an alternative route.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Butterflies in the sun!

I had a meeting at Blacktoft yesterday, where we organised a series of events for the next year, and I look forward to seeing you at some of them.
After the meeting I went down to the reserve. I decided to walk down to Ousefleet hide for lunch. It was very pleasant walking along the path in the warm sunshine. Several butterflies were about

Some dragonflies were also about

Feeding on the insects etc. in the hedge were blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits

Some young chaffinches were also about
Curlews could be seen and heard in the grazing marsh, but there were no birds in front of Ousefleet hide. Whilst I ate my lunch there was a very heavy shower of rain and this became the pattern for the rest of the afternoon, a brief sunny interval followed by rain or on one occasion hail stones.
The bad light did not allow me take any photos of the birds.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Autumnal birding at Blacktoft

I am back working 2.5 days a week until Xmas as my "old school" needed a part time computer teacher. A spot of decorating on Thursday and Friday, followed by waiting for a bed to be delivered on Saturday, so today was my first chance for birding. I am attending a meeting at Blacktoft on Thursday so it was handy to be able to have a chat with a few members of staff today.
Not a good day for taking pictures as it was very dull with no sunshine and grey cloudy sky.
 Lots of mud for waders, but the birds were not close to the hide. A blacktailed godwit came a bot closer

only to walk into an argument with another blackwit
Lots of greylag geese flying about

which gave the reserve the autum feeling.
teal was busy feeding and a lapwing got closer.

I then spent some time in reception so that Alex could go back to the office for a while.
 A fox walked past the hide

A mix of waders on Xerox
When Alex returned I went to Towend hide
plenty of mud but no birds!
The bird activity had been very good during my stay despite my photos.
Swallows, sand martins, house martins and even 2 swifts were feeding above the lagoons.
Over 200 black wits on the reserve plus good numbers of ruff, spotted redshanks, redshanks, 40 curlew and 5 green sandpipers. However they were constantly on the move due to disturbance by not only the fox and the Red Arrows on their way to the Great North Run, but also on the reserve were at least 3 marsh harriers, a buzzard, merlin, hobby, kestrel, sparrowhawk and a peregrine.
The ducks are starting to get their new plumage which is helping with identification, although the juvenile male mandarin took some sorting out.
So if you visit the reserve you will get a good mix of summer and winter birds. 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Potteric Carr

RSPB York Local Group outing to this Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve in South Yorkshire.
A fine but cloudy day as we gathered in the visitor centre. Reported sightings from previous days included great white egret, osprey and hobby.
We decided to head for the blue trail in the hope of seeing some of the more unusual visitors to the site. Along the path we saw and heard willow warbler, goldcrest and blackcap.
 There were still lots of plants and flowers in the verges

From the hides we saw the great white egret flying to another part of the reserve. Swifts, swallows, sand martins and house martins were flying about and attracted a hobby to the site. Black tailed godwits were busily feeding on one lagoon and a two red crested pochard were busy feeding on another.
 Blue tits, great tits and a willow tit were feeding on the nuts etc. in the feeders.