Friday, 31 May 2013

Spurn Point--end of the road!!

Chris was as usual on time, and for once I was ready so off we set for Spurn. The weather was sunny in York but by the time that we reached Spurn it was cloudy and misty. I was in for a shock as I did not realise that the road down to the point was closed, and repairs were under way. I was once on the council of the Y.W.T. and remember the deliberations we had about the future of Spurn should the sea breach the peninsular. Lets hope that the repairs are done soon and that we can get down to the point again.
Car parking is a bit of a problem at the moment, but Chris managed to find a space. The first chap that we spoke to, pointed out a red backed shrike to us, a good start for the day.
Our previous two outings at Hartlepool and at Lakenheath had been remarkable, so we were not expecting anything fantastic, but you never know, and shrike for starters was a good omen. After donning coats to keep out the cool breeze, we went to the seawatching hide. We could see the sea, well some of it, it was quite misty, so we were only able to see about a mile off shore, and only saw 3 gannets and a possible little tern flying north.we decided to move on to the Canal scrape, to see if things would improve. However on the way to the car we were entertained by swallows and sand martins sitting on the wires.

At canal scrape we met another friendly chap, who informed that a long eared owl had just flown over and landed in a hedge. We did not see it, but had good views of a spotted flycatcher and three jays flying over. Just outside the hide, two swallows landed on the barbed wire, had a bit of a preen, then mated and flew off, as you do!!

as we left the hide a male reed bunting was singing from the top of a bush.
Our next stop was Kilnsea wetlands and as we got out of the car we could see a shelduck an oystercatcher and a deer in the field opposite.
From the hide we could see, greylag geese, mute swans, shoveler, tufted duck and avocets.
We walked to Beacon Ponds, where in the mist we just managed to make out sandwich and little terns. On the way to the ponds and back to the car we had a fantastic time photographing butterflies, and as you can see from my pictures I struggled with the orange tip.

we then went to Sammys Point in the hope of seeing a nightingale, but did not see or hear it. However we saw several spotted flycatchers. Another great day out with Chris.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Sanderling, then Turnstone-- what next!!

Domestic chores all done, time for a spot of evening birdwatching. I decided to go back to North Cave Wetlands.
I parked near the entrance and walked to the first hide. A quick scan with my binoculars revealed a strange looking bird along the waters edge. A look through my telescope confirmed my original thought, it was a turnstone. This is a bird I always think of as living near the sea, turning over stones etc. looking for food, I did not expect to see it here. But then yesterday we had another bird I think of as a shore bird, 3 sanderlings. Perhaps this strange, cold spring weather is having a greater effect on birds that I imagined.
Nice views of avocet and common terns from the Crossland Hide. The black swan was busy chasing away another mute swan.

I spent a few minutes watching the swifts, swallows, sand and house martins chasing insects and managed to get a "record" shot of a swift.
Time for bed, an early start tomorrow, going to Spurn Point with Chris.

Yorks Bonding Warehouse

Had to pop into town to get a drive belt for the vacuum cleaner.
Saw this art on the Bonding Warehouse, plus one picture of Shambles.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What a lark

Domestic duties done, time for birding.Picked Chris up and we went to Skipwith Common in the hope of seeing woodlark and tree pipit. We walked across the common until we came to the fenced off part. The red flag was flying to indicate that firing was taking place so we could not go any further. We walked along the fence from gate number 3 towards gate number 4. In parts it was very boggy and I managed to get my shoes and socks wet by walking into a wet ditch. Chris on the other hand decided to use his commando skills!

As we approached the gate we saw a lark flying across the open gound and landing near the flag post.
We walked slowly towards the area, and when we got within a few yards a couple of birds flew up from the ground. We could see that they had short tails, a good pointer to show that they were woodlarks. We walked further on and found a singing reed bunting. It then started to rain, so we made our way back to the car.

We decided to head for North Cave Wetlands, where we could sit in a hide and escape the rain. A s we drove down Dryham Lane we could seelots of swifts flying over the road. The rain must have brought the insects down to a low level. From the south hide we could see little grebes having a row, inbetween diving for food.

We then went to the Crossland hide from which we had great views across the new part of the reserve.

We were able to watch 3 sanderlings busily feeding along the waters edge, along with avocets, ringed plover and little ringed plover. Common terns were sat on the ground, possibly on eggs. Shelducks had a large clutch of young, possible a creche, and these were soon joined by a large family of greylag geese and goslings.Two mute swans and a black swan were on the far side of the reserve, which brought my total for the reserve to 55 birds.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Blacktofts noisey neighbours

A change on the domestic scene for a Tuesday meant that I could go out birding. Where to, Fairburn, Blacktoft or North Cave. Blacktoft was the winner in the hope of seeing a new bird or two.
Arrived at 6.20pm to find myself there alone!! Perhaps it was due to the fact that it felt more like the back end of September not nearly the end of May.
The usual tree sparrows at the feeder, a little grebe from the first hide, a mallard and a shoveler from the second, the birds were also voting with their wings. The end hide produced a bit more activity, some male mallards who were looking very drab as they were starting to moult. A couple of cormorants swimming about and 5 marsh harriers in the air at the same time. At the far end of the scrape lots of swifts, sand and house martins were chasing the insects at reed top height, a few swallows were also feeding.
To quote a line from "Albert and the Lion" seeking further amusement... I decided to try the other end of the reserve. From Xerox and Marshland Hides there was a lot of noisey activity. The small islands were very popular with the black headed gulls and the avocets. The gulls kept chasing each other away and the avocets were doing lots of head bobbing etc. Several black headed gulls had chicks and were keeping a watchful eye on them. A male shelduck chased away all the mallards, and even the ponies were chasing each other in one of the far bits of the reserve.

Then three birds flew by and I thought, they are different. But they landed just out of sight and I only got quick glimpses as the black headed gulls chased them.

Monday, 27 May 2013

York Cemetery

On June 21st I am doing a talk and a walk about the birds etc. that can be found in the York Cemetery.
I paid a visit on Monday May 27th to take some pictures while the sun was shining. What an amazing place it is. I had never been in the place before and was very surprised how large it is. I walked around the edge, looking, taking photos and it took nearly an hour!

I saw/heard, blackbird, magpie, carrion crow, sparrowhawk, long tailed tit, wood pigeon, chaffinch, willow warbler and chiffchaff.