Thursday, 29 September 2016

Hob Moor

It has been one of those days, I am now finishing off a job I started 5 hours ago!!
In between jobs this morning I had time for a walk on what I suppose is my local patch, Hob Moor.
It was sunny and warm but very windy so I only took a camera with a 55m lens.
The only birds I saw were a magpie, 2 carrions crows, 2 meadow pipits and about a dozen house sparrows.
This is the path onto the moor.
Someone has built a habitat stack, I think!
Trees from the outside
and from the inside
The moor is a nice large open space

I did an early morning bird walk back in May and we walked around the edge of the moor near the trees and bushes so I followed a similar route.

Plenty of berries. sign of a good summer or sign of a bad winter to come, I will leave it to you to decide. Due to the strength of the wind it was difficult taking photos as everything was moving. I walked around this bramble looking for branches that were not waving in the wind and saw a butterfly.
Now where is my 300 lens, at home!! So I tried to get a bit closer

This was as close as I dare go as I did not want to disturb it. On the way back home I took some photos of some plants still in flower.

I came across a crab apple tree
More fruit for the birds and insects this autumn and winter. One shot to show that autumn is on its way.

Last Wednesday shift!

For most of this summer I have been manning he reception hide at Blacktoft on  a Wednesday. Alex the visitor experience officer leaves at the end of the month and as he works on a weekend I am now swapping my duty days, so I will be back at the reserve this Sunday and for several Sundays in October.
As I arrived at the reserve at 8am yesterday I was greeted by a singing cetti's warbler which sounded as if it was in a hawthorn bush the other side of the second gate. Do I climb over the gate or unlock it? I unlocked it and carefully approached the bush a couple of feet away and this is the closest I got to a photo of the bird!
I had a walk to Marshland to have a look at the birds and took this picture of teal and lapwings  just waking up with the hint of the rising sun on the mud.
A quick look in Xerox before the wardens continue with their reed cutting revealed a few spotted redshanks in the distance.
First and Townend had no birds and Singleton selection of birds with a few black tailed godwits.
I did not have time to go to Ousefleet before opening reception.
There were a steady stream of visitors some of whom came back into reception to tell me that they had seen bearded tits at both Singleton and the screen at Ousefleet. One chap who had never seen beardies despite many attempts managed to get a picture with 8 birds in the frame!
Due to the wardens working near the reception hide there were no birds to watch so I kept having a short walk towards the entrance. Moorhens were busy in the two small pools of water either side of the main path.
The tree sparrows were using the same area to bathe and they were joined by goldfinches and a willow warbler. The few plants still in flower were attracting insects

At 5pm when I had closed reception I had a walk to Marshland where I saw a greenshank

and a little grebe was fishing close to the hide.

I left the reserve at 6pm with a list of 41 birds for the day.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Osprey, hobby, peregrine, buzzard, red kite and kestrel at Astley Lake.

The weather in York was not brilliant today and as I had to go to West Yorkshire I decided to pop into the hide at Swillington Ings. There were three birders in the hide and they told me where to look to see the osprey. It was perched in a tree on the opposite side of the lake. It remained there for a while before dropping down to catch a fish.
The bird remained in the tree for quite a while which gave us a chance to watch the other birds on the site. A kestrel gradually flew closer to the hide and hovered quite close

it hen landed on the rail, just across the river from the hide. After a while it flew off and one of the many jays that were flying around landed on the rail. Whist keeping one eye on the osprey other bird activity kept us busy. Two of the other birders had left and the other birder was a chap from York and he kindly reads my blog, thank you Arnie. He spotted a hobby flying over the trees in front of us and then he saw a red kite slowly gliding by as it was mobbed by crows. Arnie then saw a buzzard soaring over one of the pylons. The buzzard was still sat in its tree until a peregrine passed by with what Arnie thought was a wood pigeon as it was struggling to carry it. This disturbed the osprey causing it fly towards us. The crows soon started to mob it and I took several photos as it gradually flew towards  the hide.

The light was not brilliant so I will have to use photoshop to try to improve the pictures. The bird flew over St. Aidans and could have been making its way to Fairburn Ings. As well as good birding and excellent company the osprey was the 200th bird on my list for the year.
On duty at Blacktoft tomorrow and Sunday.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Day of the kingfishers

RSPB York Local Group outing today and Old Moor was the destination. It was a fine and sunny day as we made our way from the car park to the bittern hide. The birders in the hide told us about a kingfisher that was perched on a post some distance away, A few minutes later it appeared closer to the hide.
The bird then caught a very large fish and returned to its original perch where it proceeded to bang its head of the fish on the wooden rail. It then flew off with the fish in its beak so we did not see it eat it.
After lunch we visited the other hides and from the family hide we could see lapwings and Canada geese.

There have been some changes since I last visited the reserve, one of the changes is the placing of numbers on some of the islands.
On our way to the next hide we saw a comma butterfly.
From the last hide that we visited we were able to see lots of lapwings, golden plover, a black tailed godwit, dunlin, ruff and wood sandpipers.

The waders were disturbed by a hobby flying low over the water. Broomhill Flash was our last port of call. Here we saw 3 young great crested grebes and lots of little grebes.
We also saw a ruddy duck and several tufted ducks some of which had a lot of white near their beaks.
As we were leaving we noticed 2 kingfishers sat on the edge of the water.

On the way home we stopped at Towton and walked the history trail. On our way round the trail we watched red kites flying and at one point we saw four in the air together.