Sunday, 27 September 2015

Arctic warbler at Spurn

A day out with Chris and we chose to go to Spurn. The sightings over the past few days have been good and the weather forecast was favourable. When Chris picked me up just before 7.30am is was misty and we encountered mist most of the way to Spurn. Had we chosen the wrong venue, would we struggle to see anything other than mist.?
We could only see part of the peninsular.
 The end part was covered in mist. We could just make out the outline of the lighthouse, which is undergoing repairs.
 Canal scrape hide was our first port of call, and we just managed to scape into the hide it was so full. The birders already in the hide had located a couple of jack snipe, and we were able to look through their telescopes and see them.
A pair of little grebes were fairly close to the hide and kept diving for food.

We then had a walk around the area and saw a redstart, blackcap and closer to The Warren a yellow browed warbler. On our later visit to the hide we had excellent views of a redstart. The bird would flit down on to the ground and catch an insect and then we could see its orange-chestnut tail quivering up and down, before the bird flew back into the bush.
Kilnsea wetlands was our next port of call, where we saw four mute swans, but no sign of a bewick swan, that had been there earlier in the week. The mist was rolling in on the far end of the scrape, so we thought that it would be pointless walking to Beacon Ponds. Our next port of call was Sammys Point,however Chris read his pager and news of a red breasted flycatcher came through so we returned to Beacon Lane. Here we joined lots of other birders, and managed to see the bird through a telescope.So back to plan and off to Sammys Point. On our way back to the car we saw a speckled wood butterfly and watched as it flew into a spiders web and the spider started to eat it.
This insect just missed the web.

The visibility had improved and we could see quite a lot of the estuary. The tide was still a long way out so not many birds to be seen on the mud.

 We had good views of a yellow browed warbler but could not find a barred warbler that had been seen earlier. A small flock of goldfinches landed in a bush nearby.

Now what shall we do? A bit early to head back home, so we decided to go to Canal scrape to see if the jack snipe could be seen. The hide was full so we did not stay long. Before the road had been washed away, birders had the whole of Spurn to spread out over, now the birders were bunched together and at times it was a bit packed. As we came out of the hide a chap stopped in his car and told us that he had received a message about an arctic warbler in Driftwood Caravan Park. We joined others in the caravan park, thanks to the owner.
The bird was difficult to see and moved quickly, however I managed a couple of shots.

A nice bird to see as it makes its long flight back to Asia. We then set off for home. Thanks for another good days birding Chris.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Going solo at Blacktoft Sands

On my own for the first time today. Mike helped me set up and then he went off. A fairly quiet start, with just a few visitors trickling in. The weather was slowly improving. The mist was starting to disappear as the sunshine broke through the clouds.
Just inside the reserve a family of pheasants were having a preen.

 A moorhen family was next door.
During the morning a marsh harrier came close to the reception hide, but my photos are not brilliant as the windows are a bit dirty.
Visitors came into reception to report seeing a curlew sandpiper at Singleton hide and bearded tits at Marshland hide. 3 kestrels were seen hunting at the same time, and spotted redshanks would fly past reception on a regular basis.
Lots of people cam into ask what this bush is, sadly I don't know!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunny Sunday at Blacktoft.

Another day in reception at Blacktoft Sands with Charlotte. As we stopped to unlock the second gate onto the reserve we noticed a barn owl land in a tree near Xerox hide. It was not there long before it flew off over the reserve. Near the bird feeders were two roe deer, a good start to our day we thought.
Once we had checked the toilets, cleaned the picnic tables and filled the bird feeders, it was time to sort out reception. We had just got sorted when the first visitors arrived. While Charlotte looked after them I had a quick trip round the nearest hides.
From Marshland I could see lots of lapwings and ruff in front of the hide. There was still a bit of mist hanging over the water affecting light for photos.

 Ducks and more waders, including 2 avocets in front of Xerox hide.
Most of the ducks were asleep.
Lots of ducks on the islands in front of Townend hide. Singleton hide had a good mix of birds in front of including 14 little egrets.
Light conditions were still a bit difficult, which made trying to photograph the white headed ruff even more difficult, so apologies for the quality.
Back to reception with a list of birds to enter into the book, so that visitors knew what is where
As the day progressed visitors added water rail, hobby, spotted redshank and black tailed godwits to the list. At lunchtime I visited Ousefleet hide. Here there were about 20 pintail, lots of wigeon and about a thousand teal.
The konic ponies were on that part of the reserve as well. As I walked along the path I saw lots of speckled wood butterflies and just managed to get this shot of one of them.
 During the day we could see marsh harriers flying up and down the reserve. I took several pictures but they are not brilliant as I took them through the windows of reception hide.

Just inside the reserve a moorhen has two young chicks and I just managed to  get this shot of one of the young as it hid in the reeds.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Dodging the rain showers at Old Moor.

End of the first week of the new school year. A busy week helping the new year 7's find their way around school, plus covering year 9 algebra lessons and year 7 ICT.
Shopping occupied all the morning and then this afternoon I delivered a few newsletters, to help reduce postage costs. Got caught in a heavy shower. Then off to Old Moor RSPB reserve. Next week it is the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show and RSPB York Local Group have a stand, so please come and see us. I needed some leaflets from Old Moor for our stand. So whilst there I did a bit of bird watching. It was still raining so I tried to move hides in between showers, but did not always make it.
Lots of ducks and geese about, and  notable absence of small birds.
Wath Ings had lots of lapwings and 2 golden plovers.
 A  black tailed  godwit was busily feeding on my left and a common sandpiper was on a spit of land just in front of it. Then I heard s piping noise and a green sandpiper flew in.

Time to pay a quick visit to Broomhill Flash. Here lots of swallows and sand martins were flying low over the water hunting insects. Towards the far side of the water a male ruddy duck was having a preen.

Lots of little grebes , gadwall, teal mallard and a few wigeon were also preening as the sun started to shine.
Blacktoft Sands tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Air display at Killiechronan

Another dull, misty wet start this morning, with lots of "white horses" on the sea down the Sound of Mull. Drove over to Killiechronan in the hope of seeing waders, but lots of dog walkers on the beach, so I drove a little further to the next parking spot. The sun shone through the clouds now and again and changed the mood of the scenery.

In a different tree was an adult white tailed eagle, and somewhere where two young busily calling.
That was about it in terms of activity bird wise. The clouds were blown over fairly quickly by the strong breeze, so the periods of sunshine were short lived.
Then the young white tailed eagles decided to fly to the opposite shore and sit on the shingle beach, the adult remained in the tree. Then the sun shone and suddenly 3 buzzards where soaring overhead.

But wait a minute that's not a buzzard I can see in my camera!

A white tailed eagle was flying over. Where to look next, what to photograph first!
Then as suddenly as it began it as all over.
Down on the loch 17 red breasted mergansers were fishing, sometimes squabbling over the fish they caught A very distant shot of them.
A local came closer for a look.
. On the way home I came across these deer. Poor photo as I had to take the picture through the windscreen.

I needed some supplies.
And so this is it the last blog written whilst admiring this view.
I will be visiting Mull again on Sunday when I talk at the W.I. event in Harrogate, I will be back on the island in July 16.