Friday, 30 December 2016

Birding in the mist.

I started off my day with a trip to Bishy Road to see the waxwings. They were in the area but were not feeding on the berry tree so I took a photo of them in the top of a tree.
I then set off for Blacktoft Sands. It was a bit misty on the way there but boy did it change in the last half mile. It was like Brigadoon in reverse, instead of appearing for a day the reserve disappeared in the fog! This next shot was of a pair of pheasants under the bird feeders. No distance at all but hardly visible in the fog.
I had a chat with Stuart who was on duty who told me that it had been a lovely morning until 10m when the fog set in, and then I set off for Ousefleet. This is the little pond to the right as you enter the reserve.
The path looked as if it was covered in snow.
As I walked through the little piece of woodland before the hide I came across some birders who were watching a chiffchaff. Is this the one that Pete mentions in his blog?

The bird was very active and I found it difficult to get a shot. This is the view from the hide at Ousefleet.
The only bird I saw was a redshank as flew past the hide. I then visited Marshland hide but the view was similar, fog, ice and no birds. So I went straight to Singleton hide where at least there were a few birds. Ten shelduck were feeding on the bits of ice free water. One of them walked onto the ice and we could see its reflection, was it looking at itself? 
Visibility was not good. We could only just see the reedbed in front of us and we could not see far to either our left our right, so birds would suddenly appear out of the fog. The fog would lift slightly but then become thick again. Suddenly a marsh harrier flew past from the left hand side.
Wigeon came onto the grass in front of the hide and started to graze.
A pair of teal were stood on the ice at the waters edge.
Three black tailed godwits came onto the grass and joined the wigeon in feeding.

Then a sparrowhawk appeared from the left
All the wigeon, teal and blackwits flew off.
  The shelduck remained but the other birds did not return so I decided to leave as the chance of seeing any birds coming into the roost were minimal.
As I left the reserve and reached the next village the visibility suddenly improved.
I noticed a barn owl hunting along the side of the ditch and managed this poor shot in the half light.
When I first arrived at the reserve this morning and saw how poor the weather was I did think about returning home, but the day did not turn out too bad after all.
This is probably my last post of 2016, so thank you very much for visiting my blog and I wish you and your family a very happy and peaceful 2017.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Waxwings In York

Over the past few days there have been reports of waxwings in the Bishopthorpe Road area of York. This afternoon another report came in so I popped down. A couple of chaps were at the road junction with their cameras. This is what I saw!
They had gone, not a bird to be seen. I hung around for a while, and chatted to 3 people from the local group who had turned up to see them. Eventually they returned to the top of a tree.

Then they flew away and people began to disperse as the berry tree was now in the shade not the sunlight. I was just about to leave the area when I bird returned. Not brilliant photos due to the light but I had seen waxwings in York.

At the moment I am unable to make the pictures any larger, sorry.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Bempton,Flamborough and Bridlington birding.

Chris and I left York just after 10am and headed towards the east coast. The sun was shining but there was a bit of a haze in the distance. Bempton Cliffs was our first stop and on our way to the cliffs we met Trevor Charlton, someone I have known for years but have not seen recently.
From the nearest viewpoint we saw lots of guillemots on the water and some were on the cliff ledges.
Fulmars were also flying round and visiting the ledges. A gannet was sat on a cliff ledge while others were flying around.
We then visited the bird feeders where a carrion crow was watching the feeders.
Tree sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches and a robin were on the feeders.
Flamborough Head was our next stop where we walked down to the fog station.

We had hoped to see a black redstart but there were very few birds about. In the field next to the car park Chris saw this stonechat.
Flamborough Landing was our third stop of the day.
Turnstones and rock pipits were feeding on the sea weed.

Bridlington South Beach was our last stop of the day. Chris parked the car and we walked along part of the promenade past the spa and along the harbour wall.
Sanderlings were running along the waters edge.
Turnstones were busy feeding on scraps along the harbour wall.
Gulls were perched at vantage points looking out for scraps.
Redshanks and dunlin were roosting at one point along the wall.

The sun was now setting and it was time to head for home.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Greylags on guard at North Duffield Carrs.

Left home just after lunch and drove down the Lower Derwent Valley. I parked my car near the top of the lane that leads to Wheldrake Ings and went to look for the white fronted geese that I had seen in the area yesterday. However there were no geese to be seen. I drove to North Duffield Carrs and after parking the car I walked down towards the Garganey hide and on the way heard a male bullfinch calling. About half way to the  hide a saw a pair of bullfinches and a treecreeper.
As I got closer to the hide I could see a group of greylag geese in the field.
 Several of them flew off towards the water and this caused some wigeon etc. to return to the water.
From the hide I could see that some of the water was still frozen and that the wildlife were on the nearest water, with no birds in the distance. Gradually the greylags and wigeon returned to graze on the grass to the right of the hide. The wigeon were feeding all the time whilst one or two of the greylags had their heads up and were looking round as if on sentry duty.
  In front of the hide teal and wigeon were grazing and they were joined by dunlin, snipe and redshanks.

 Other people came along the path and they had the same experience that I had. The geese in the field flew towards the water and the wigeon, teal, snipe, redshank and dunlin flew off. The birds slowly returned to graze on the grass only to return to the water when other people walked along the path to the hide.
I left the hide about 3:30pm and walked up to the Geoff Smith hide. From here I could see lapwings and dunlin feeding on the grass and then suddenly take to the air. As I watched the birds flying I could see a peregrine flying above them. It flew up to about a height of 100 feet and then did a very deep stoop towards the teal. It did not catch anything and regaining height it flew over the river and perched in a tree. I then left and went home.