Sunday, 29 September 2013

A weekend of variety

Friday was spent at Lightwater Valley with 600 plus kids, as it was their reward day.Saturday morning was spent doing odd jobs around the house, sorting out pictures for this coming Wednesdays talk at Ampleforth.
Saturday afternnon my eldest grand daughter and I had an outing. Our first port of call was Blacktoft Sands where in the pleasant autumn sunshine we lots of nice birds, including a pectoral sandpiper.


A digiscope picture of lapwings and mallards sunning themselves on one of the islands.
Our next stop was at Colton where we saw a few trains go by.



Saturday night was a quick trip to Asda. On the way back I saw a lot of people stood on Lendal Bridge taking pictures, a quick look and I saw something on fire. It turned out to be a boat!!
Sunday was football duty day. Tockwith first stop where I had a walk around the nearby old airfield.














There is still a lot of colour about in the countryside. Harrogate was our next stop and it was very pleasant sat watching the football. The sun was shining, it still had some warmth in it despite the breeze which was strong enough to dislodge leaves from the trees.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Marsden Rocks,Red Arrows and the Great North Run.

A day out with a difference. My son was running in the Great North Run so drove him to South Shields where he caught the bus to Newcastle. The weather was better than forecast so I managed a walk along the beach with the grand daughter, who enjoyed a paddle in the sea, in her wellingtons!!.
Not much to report in the way of wildlife, a few swallows still flying around, gannets fishing, fulmars soaring near the cliffs, and a male scoter on the sea. Oystercatchers flying about as well. Just as Brandon reached the finish line in a very good time for his first effort at a half marathon, 2 hours 21 minutes, 55 seconds. If you would like to support martinhouse please go www.justgiving.com/BrandonBishop.
The Red Arrows gave a very impressive display.




Sunday, 8 September 2013

Autumn at Bolton Percy Station Yard


In the brilliant sunshine the autumn fruits are very obvious. The recent rain seems to have freshened up some of the plants, A whitethroat was busy "ticking" me off froma bramble, and swallows were chattering as they flew overhead hunting insects. How much longer before they go south for winter?





A few days ago when I was out and about with Chris, we saw lots of peacock butterflies, not it seems that everwhere I go I come across small tortoiseshell butterflies.These will soon be looking for garden sheds etc. in which to over winter.

I am writing this blog sat in the kitchen, and as I look out of the window I can see a dunnock and a robin looking for food on the garage roof. A sure sign that autumn is on its way.

An autumn Saturday at Blacktoft Sands

I arrived at Blacktoft just after opening time. The sun was shining and I got the usual warm, friendly and informative welcome from Mike. I could only stay a couple of hours ad was hoping to add two more birds to my year list, so the information that Mike gave me was very useful.I went straight to Singleton hide, hoping the birds I wanted to see where still there.Other birders were in the hide, and some of them were taking up a lot of room by using their tripods. Why they dont buy a hide clamp, or just rest their scope on the ledge in the hide I don't know, however no more moans. As you can see from the above photo, the water level was just right for waders, and they were nice and close to the hide. The chap I sat next to, had his telescope focused on a little stint and let me look at the bird. A good start, one more bird for my year list.
As I looked at the other waders I could see ruff,ringed plover, redshank, spotted redshank, greenshank, dunlin, snipe and another bird for ny list, curlew sandpiper. Curlew sandpipers look like Dunlin, and it takes a bit of time to identify them. Just to help, the waders kept moving, one minute they were feeding on the mud, looking for worms etc. and the next minute they had flown off to another part of the lagoon.It was then back to looking at each bird to sort out the different kinds. The curlew sandpipers are smaller than a starling and could possibly be flying as far as South Africa or New Zealand.

This is not a very good picture of a curlew sandpiper, but the best I managed to get. There were lots of teal, mallard, wigeon, and shoveler on the lagoon as well as a grey heron and 11 little egrets. A coach party had arrived at the reserve so I decided to let someone else have my seat in the hide, and I went for a quick look in the other hides.


Ruff of various colours and sizes were visible from the First Hide. From xerox hide the ponies were putting on a rolling in the mud display.



Walking along the pathe to Marshland Hide I came across a part of young pheasants, who did not know if they should fly, run or hide in the grass!


They would let me get so close, but no further and then after hiding in the grass flew off as I drew level with them. A small tortoiseshell butterfly was looking good in the morning sun.


A very pleasant


A very pleasant end to an autumn visit to Blacktoft, and my year list now stands at 213.