Sunday, 28 February 2016

Super sunny Sunday at Blacktoft Sands.

On duty in reception at RSPB Blacktoft Sands today. Pete was busy filling the feeders when I arrived at 0845 so I started to light the stove as there was a chill in the air despite the bright morning sunshine.


Visitors started arriving about 0900 and there was a steady flow all day long. Most of them opted to start their visit to  Ousefleet hide where peregrines were displaying. Pete had a walk round the hides and entered his sightings in the book including the male scaup he found on the lagoon in front of Singleton hide. I popped down for a quick look but the bird was asleep however from the distant photos you can see it is a scaup.

The scaup stayed with an unusually large number of pochard on site.
 This caused a few visitors a dilemma. Which hide to go to first, right for peregrines or left for scaup!

Marsh harriers were hunting over the reed beds  all day long and a buzzard was also flying up and down.
Reception closes at 1600 so I made sure that the fire was out and put all the equipment away and went down to Singleton hide to watch the harrier roost. The sun was still shining and there was lots of bird activity.  A robin was singing just outside the reception hide.
The marsh harriers were indulging in their usual display and a couple of short eared owls were hunting over the reed bed and one came right in front of the hide. Later a barn owl flew in front of us and I managed a quick shot.

Then a male hen harrier flew past which I saw but not quick enough to get a photo as I was bust looking at the starling murmuration in the distance.

The daylight was fading fast so I changed cameras and tried to make a video of the starlings.
The starlings had only just dropped into the reedbed when Pete spotted a bittern flying low over the water and then I spotted a ringtail harrier flying into the roost. On our way back to the car park Pete spotted an owl and I was able to add tawny owl to my day list.
A brilliant days birding: marsh and hen harrier short eared, barn and tawny owl, bittern, male scaup, buzzard and peregrine. I  would not be surprised to hear that lots of birders are visiting the roost in the next week. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Horseshoe Point.

Football duty today as we had a round trip of 130 miles. Our route took us over the Humber Bridge and towards the Lincolnshire coast. I had a couple of hours to do some birding so headed for Horseshoe Point. The journey was fairly straightforward the only thing to watch for is the bridge as you go into the car park. It is a blind summit so you don't see cars going in the opposite direction until you hit them!
The tide was out, well out, but I could see redshank flying bout quite close to the bank. As I walked along the bank I could see Spurn Point in the distance . On the mudflats were lots of oystercatchers and a few curlew. They were disturbed by dog walkers and fishermen digging for worms. In the distance I could see a birder looking through his scope and when I looked in the same direction I could see a large flock of brent geese in a field, at a rough guess I would say that there were about 500 geese. Before I got much closer, the flock took to the air an landed on the salt marsh out of site. The birder walked off in their direction but I had to return to the car park as it was time to return to the football match. It was a grey and cold day and the pictures I took are not brilliant.. I will return to this area another time but when the tide is coming in.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

My patch

While I was waiting for the garage to ring to say that my car was ready I decided to have a walk round Hob Moor, which I suppose should be my patch as it is only a 2 minute walk from home.
It was a nice sunny day and there was a little warmth in the sun when I was out of the breeze.

 The London to Edinburg railway line runs along one edge.
There are trees and bushes round the edges of the moor and from these I could hear great tits, chaffinches and greenfinches. On the open moor magpies and carrion crows were feeding.

A footbridge crosses the small stream and in the garden hedges lots of small birds were singing and a wren was busy dashing out.
I wonder how many birds I will see on future visits, will skylarks return in spring. The following pictures will hopefully give you an idea as to what the area looks like.

Flying Scotsman

My car was due for a service today so birding was going to be very local. After dropping off the car at the garage my first stop was York Minster to look for the peregrines.
Plenty of sunshine on this side of the building but where the peregrines usually are was a bit shaded.
No sign of the peregrines but plenty of pigeons.
Museum gardens was my next stop where signs of spring abound.

A grey squirrel was nibbling at some buds.
Mr and Mrs blackbird were busy feeding.
The River Ouse was my next stop.
Four Canada geese were swimming downstream
Some gulls were stood along the river bank waiting to be fed along with other Canada goose

Home via the railway station where I saw  a group of people stood and shortly afterwards the Flying Scotsman steamed past.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Male smew at Fairburn

Only able to do local birding at the moment so headed for Fairburn Ings. The weather was nice and sunny and it felt like spring was on the way. Some bits of hedges are now showing green and a lamb was in a field near the reserve.
Mostly greenfinches and tree sparrows on the feeders today with the occasional chaffinch and goldfinch.

 I left the visitor centre and went down to Lyndyke to see if I could find the pair of smew. I passed a birder on the path to the hide and he told me where to look, but warned me that the birds were spending a lot of time diving under the water. I managed to find them fairly easily and the chap was right they were diving a lot. They were also a long way away so my photos are not brilliant.

A little egret came close to the hide.

A female goosander flew in and landed close to the hide and then swam away.

Cormorants were flying past and we could see their white breeding patch.