Friday, 30 August 2013

Friday night at Blacktoft Sands

Last weekendbefore school starts, so a last chance for some birding. Decided to try Blacktoft Sands late afternoon in the hope of seeing the montys harrier come into roost.
Lots of other birders were there also looking for the harrier. Nice views of waders such as ruff, including two with white heads, greenshank, redshank, spotted redshank, dunlin,greensandpiper and lots of snipe. A water rail could be seen walking about at the edge of the reeds. The light was not good as we got to about 7pm, but we managed to see 9 marsh harriers in the sky at the same time. However we did not see the montys harrier and left about 8.30pm, by which time it was too dark to see. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Spurn-on a misty day.

The plan for the day, Wednesday August 28th, was to go Spurn and do a seawatch for a few hours. Whilst we were doing the seawatch, several species of shearwaters and skuas would fly by at close range. However..., when we got to Spurn about 11am to coincide with a high tide, the fog or sea fret was also there. We stopped at the Crown and Anchor pub car park and joined a small group of people looking at what seems to have become the resident wryneck. The bird was only the third one I had seen, but what amazing views. I had decided not to take my slr camera, so had to make do with my point and shoot one.

Having decided that a seawatch was off, we could not even see the sea!! We went to the canal scrape hide where several birds kept us busy for a while. Whinchat, redstart, reed warbler, willow warbler, yellow wagtail were busy flying in and out of bushes. Then we received the message that a barred warbler was to be released at the warren, so we went back.

We looked at the sea, well in the direction of where the sea was, as we still could only see mist, and decided to return to the canal scrape. A few more birders were in the hide this time, as was the swallow on its nest, when it left I took a quick picture.

As well as whicnchat and redstart we also saw a cuckoo, buzzards, garden warbler from the hide. We decided to visit Sammys Point as the visibility was better in that direction, but first we went to Kilnsea wetlands and the Beacon Ponds.

   At Kilnsea wetlands we saw common and sandwich terns, knot, redshank, spotted redshank and nine greenshank.At beacon ponds we saw black tailed godwits, and more sandwich terns. We then drove to Sammys point. As we walked along the path we saw wheatears flying from rock to rock. We joined a group of birders who were looking at a red backed shrike.As we walked back towards the car we could see the lighthouse on Spurn, so decided to give the seawatch one more try.

The visibilty was a bit better, but banks of fog kept rolling past. one minute you could see the platform out at sea next minute you could see nothing! A kestrel landed on a post near the hide, but by the time that my point and shoot camera had worked it had flown off.Never mind it had been a good day at Spurn. Brilliant views of wryneck, whichat, wheatears, barred warbler and terns.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Afternoon at Flamborough Head

Chris, Sheila and I spent the afternnon at Flamborough, looking for some autumn migrants. This morning icterine warblers had been sighted so we were hoping to see something similar. We joined other birders who had heard the reports and were looking for some migrants. It is a reasonably long walk and near a plntation a farmer has planted some sunflowers to feed the birds in autumn.

We saw a juvenile willow warbler, a sparrowhawk and a spotted flycatcher. We decided to go to the car park near the lighthouse and look for birds near there. We spoke to Rob Chapman and his wife, who had spent the morning walking around the area looking for birds but had not seen anything special. They had been to Spurn the day before and had had a wonderful day. Chris and I are planning to go there tomorrow, so fingers crossed for a good day, as it is my last free day before I return to school.
We walked along a hedgerow and Chris spotted a redstart in a corner of a field.

We then walked near the sea, where we saw a whimbrel, peregrine, gannets, fulmars, kittiwakes and two wheatears near the lighthouse.

August Bank Holiday at Blacktoft and North Cave

Chris and I had the afternoon free so decided to go to Blacktoft and for a change I was driving. We met Mike at reception and he gave us an update on which birds were on the reserve. The team had done a lot of hard work recently, and the high tide had allowed them to top up the scrapes, some of which were getting very low. We started at Marshland hide, but there were very few birds about, so we went to Ousefleet. From the screen we could see lots of shovelers and a greensandpiper. From the hide itself we could see lots of mallard, teal and ruff. A curlew had just landed when a female peregrine flew over and put everything up.

We then moved on to the other hides on the reserve but failed to see the promised water rail and even more unusual we did not see a marsh harrier. Time to move on to North Cave on our way home.
It was a glorious afternoon as we walked down the lane towards the South hide and were pleased to see a couple of common terns fishing.

We spent some time looking for dragonflies but they were not landing very often and when they did they did not settle for long, however if you read the blog that Chris will do you can see some of the pictures he managed to take.
At the next piece of water we saw several mute swans including what would appear to be a now resident black swan.

We then moved on to Crossland hide from where we saw an avocet, cormorant and black headed gulls.

Reed bed lake was our last stopping point, where we had been told a curlew sandpiper had been seen, but we could only see a dunlin. Time to go home after a pleasant afternoon.

Friday, 23 August 2013

steam train catch up

I have seen a lot of trains this week with my eldest grand daughter. With just one week of the school holidays left, it is also the last week for the steam trains as well. With a bit of luck I should be able to include Bittern and the Union of South Africa next week as they are both due to be in York Station next Friday, sadly not at the same time.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Wheldrake Ings

I have not been to Wheldrake Ings for ages and was tempted to visit there today, to try to see a great white egret which has been reported there today. I stopped at Bank Island to check if anything was about, there was no water at Bank Island, and not much to see on the scrape.

Wheldrake has had some vandalism in the past and it is good to see some repairs are under way. There are plenty of signs along the path to the hides to let visitors know what they might see.

I went into the pool hide, which is where the bird has been reported from, but the only birds on view were, mallard, snipe, moorhen, coot, little grebe, woodpigeon, common sandpiper, green sandpiper, wood sandpiper, ruff and greenshank.

Duchess of Sutherland goes to Scarborough.

It is Friday, Scarboro Flyer day. Today it is the Duchess of Sutherland. With a bit of luck better pictures and video on her return leg tonight.
The train arrived in the station on time, but stoppped at the far end of platform 5.This is why the pictures are a bit hazy due to part of the engine been in sunshine and the other in the shade.

 Below is a short video of Scots Guardsman on the Scarboro Spa Express this week.