Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Great white egret

A drive down the Lower Derwent Valley this morning. It was too cold to stay long on the viewing platform at Bank Island. Distance views of mute swans, greylag geese and grey herons. Grey herons are certainly easy to see at the moment.  A pair of magpies were chasing a pair of carrion crows and a little egret was fast asleep.
The gate at Thorganby Village Hall car park was closed so I did not stop and continued to North Duffield Carrs. From the Geoff Smith hide I could see lots of mute swans in the distance along with shelducks, mallards and eight cormorants. A chap was looking for a great white egret that had been reported last night but we could not see it. He set off for the far hide and I stayed for about 20 minutes before setting off. We passed on the way, he had not seen the egret he was looking for.
I sat in the hide and opened the window, wow! how strong and cold the wind was. I tried to sit at an angle so that I could look through my telescope without the wind blowing in my face.
I was looking at the swans as they were feeding to see if I could see any whooper swans when something white caught my attention on my left. A little egret had disturbed a great white egret and it had flown up and landed in a ditch. I sent a text to Chris to let him know what I had seen..
Whilst I waited for him to arrive the bird flew around several times and I managed a few shots. They are very distant as the bird was a long way away.

By the time that Chris had arrived it had gone back into a ditch. We managed to see its head and neck for a short while whilst it walked up and down the ditch and then it walked through a five bar gate  before returning to the ditch. Chris put the news on bird guides and before long we were joined by other birders. The bird eventually flew from the ditch and landed a bit further away from us but it allowed everyone present to see the bird.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Cute mutes, noisey cettis and distant red arrows

A day at Blacktoft Sands with Alex in reception. It was a nice warm sunny day and lots of people visited the reserve. Some were birders looking for the female montagu's harrier whilst others were just out for a nice day at one of their favourite reserves.
Not much time for birdwatching due to the large number of visitos so just a few pictures to reflect some of the highlights.
A family of mute swans were in front of First hide.
There are at least 3 singing cetti's  warbles on site and one is near reception. They sing very loudly but are difficult to spot. However I struck lucky today and saw this one in the middle of a bush.

Reed and sedge warblers were busy feeding in front of the hide but were not still for very long.

The male marsh harriers were busy hunting for prey and then doing food passes with their partner.
The red arrows flew over the reserve early in the morning and this picture is of them going home, very distant I'm afraid.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Out and about

My plans for the next few days have been changed due to circumstances beyond my control so I decided to make use of the bit of free time I have left. I was going to go to Swillington Ings but changed my mind and decided to go to North Cave Wetlands.
I started at the bus stop hide and caught this shoveler in a flap.
Near the shoveler a greylag goose family were looking for food.
A coot was busy taking material to its nest.
I then had a walk down the west side of the reserve and saw a whitethroat.

From the hide near reed bed lake I saw a reed warbler.

 From the East hide I saw this young robin.

On my way home I called in at North Duffield Carrs to see if the male garganey was in front of the hide, but he was not.
A mute swan was busy having a bathe.

 The blossom and flowers are still attractive.

Swifts were flying overhead.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Lower Derwent Valley Birding

Chris and I met at North Duffield Carrs this afternoon. Chris was already in the Geoff Smith hide when I arrived. I had just sat down and looked out of the window and saw a male garganey. By the time that I had picked up my camera he had gone!
We walked down to the garganey hide from where we had closer views of the 100 plus mute swans. The black swan and whooper swans were a bit further away.  a lapwing came a bit closer to the hide.

  Chris spotted a skylark and a red legged partridge in a field on our left. A cormorant was sat on a post with its wings held out to dry.
Chris left before me and I only added buzzard and chaffinch to my list. I called back in at the top hide to see if the garganey had returned but there was not a bird in sight. I took a couple of photos of the flowers in the field next to the path.

The display of buttercups and clover are quite amazing. Bank Island was my next stop.

A kestrel was perched on a telegraph post.

A mixture of camera and digiscoping.
In the distance I could see some deer, you might just be able to make out its white bottom

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Pectoral sandpiper and little stint.

After our outing yesterday Chris and I said that we would go to Bolton Abbey today in the hope of seeing wood warbler. However the weather forecast for that part of the world was not good so we changed plans and headed north.
Boldon Flats was our first stop. We joined three other birders who were stood at the roadside and we assumed that they had found our target bird a pectoral sandpiper. However they had only found a few bits of mud. We put our telescopes up and started to scan the area and soon found the bird busily feeding.
Castle Island, Wansbeck Riverside Country Park was our next destination and one of the three birders Liam asked for a lift. As he was a local he helped Chris navigate. We soon found a car park and walked down to the path that ran along the river .

We saw sedge warbler, whitethroat, little egret, cormorant and various gulls but no sign of our target bird a Bonaparte gull.

After scanning the area for quite a while we decided to move on to our next destination Druridge  Pools where a little stint had been reported.We walked to one of the hides and looked for the bird. We saw various birds and these ponies.

A swallow perched on the wire fence in front of the hide.

 However we could not find the location to start with so we went to Cresswell Ponds to see what was present. We added a few birds to our list including fulmar.A grey heron flew round and landed close to the hide.

 We then returned to the Druridge Pools area and parked at the end of the road and walked north. We eventually found a small "flash" of water and saw ringed plover, dunlin and little stint.
On our way back home we called in at Newbigging by the sea.

Saltholme RSPB was our last stop where we added common tern, little and great crested grebes to our list for the day, bringing the total to 58, 3 more than the target Chris set us at 0730. Thanks to Chris for the driving and organising the day.