Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Ponies and harriers

My family changed their plans at the last minute today so I was able to spend a couple of hours birding at Blacktoft Sands. I arrived just before 4pm and there were about a dozen vehicles in the car park. When I left at 1840 , mine was the only car left.
I have not been to Blacktoft for a while so it was nice to have a chat with Mike and catch up with what is happening on the reserve.
Ousefleet was my first stop, where I was surprised to see so much water there.
Lots of black headed gulls were feeding on the mud along with two greenshanks and several avocets.
Avocets were also present at Marshland.
At Xerox hide three of the konic ponies were on one of the islands. One started to wade across the water towards the hide.
The other two ponies watched it wade across. Then a second one came across.

After it had crossed over the water this pony did a victory roll to celebrate.
What about me said the third one.
The water may only come half way up the ducks but it looks deep to me.
They then joined the other three ponies and went into the reed bed. I then moved onto the first hide. A few birds about, a coot and its young and a few tufted ducks and a marsh harrier.
It flew over the lagoon

All the birds disappeared.
Then the birds came back out including this family of mallards. I though that it was brave of them to be in the middle of the water.
The harrier returned and I thought that duckling would be on the supper menu, but no it ignored the ducklings and went towards the edge of the reeds.
 This was the part of the reed beds where the coot family had been feeding and I guess a young coot is probably a bigger meal that a little duckling.

However it was not successful this time and flew away with nothing in its talons.
Time for me to go home for supper.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Orchids and butterflies

A day out with Chris, but a non birding day. Our first site for the day was  a hay meadow in the dales, Leyburn Old Glebe field. Here we saw three types of orchid along with lots of other flowers.

Chris was taking photos and not having a mid morning nap!
These are some of the orchids we saw

Other flowers

We then headed for a butterfly site in North Yorkshire

This was the first butterfly we saw
This was our target butterfly

We also saw a painted lady and a red admiral.
Our last venue was nearer to home and again the site of a special butterfly.

Another great day out thanks to the planning put in by Chris

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Golden eagles, white tailed sea eagles, hen harrier and coirncrake. Mull & Iona

RSPB York Local Group trip to Mull.
We left York at 0645 and our first stop was at Gretna Green a couple of hours later. Here some swallows were nesting in the outbuildings.
Our next stop was at Dobbies near Stirling. House martins were nesting under the roof above the entrance.
We left Oban on the 1600 hrs ferry.
This lighthouse is about half way to Craignure.
Duart Castle
Our hotel

Our first walk was at Scallastle where we saw meadow and tree pipits, cuckoos and crossbill.

The bluebells on the hillside were a fantastic sight.
In the afternoon we walked near Torosay Castle where we added spotted flycatcher to our list.
A song thrush was feeding a youngster.
The following day we spent on Iona where we saw corncrake, raven and twite.
Over the next few days we had brilliant views of both golden and white tailed eagles and watched a male hen harrier for several minutes.
In front of the hotel was an otter. on one of our early morning walk the otter came very close to us, and all I had was my point and shoot camera!
We spent our last day in Aros Park near Tobermory where we added wood warbler to our list.
Wednesday morning and time to leave the island, but only 80 days before I return!