Saturday, 29 July 2017

Early shift at Blacktoft

I arrived at the reserve just after 6am this morning as I had things to do for tonight's events.
I did some birding as well and in front of Marshland hide black tailed godwits, snipe and ruff were feeding.

A green sandpiper was preening in front of Townend hide
A grey heron was waiting for its breakfast to swim by.
Lots of white butterflies out in the morning sunshine

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Wet but wonderful Wednesday at Blacktoft

My day for reception duty at Blacktoft Sands today. I knew that the weather forecast was for some rain either side of lunchtime so I arrived early so that I could do some birding before opening reception.
It was just after 7am when I arrived and Mike was already there checking his moth traps. I really must put more effort into identifying some moths. We both walked to Marshland hide where 3 spoonbills were busy feeding. After a while they stopped for a preen and a rest.
A ruff was feeding close to the hide
A snipe was a bit more difficult to see due to the grass.
We worked our way along the other hides, Xerox had spotted redshanks and greenshanks and Townend had a grey heron and a little egret close to the hide and 7 spoonbills on one of the islands.

 I walked down to Ousefleet and saw curlew and a whimbrel in the distance. It was now time to open reception. There was a steady trickle of visitors until about 11am when the rain started and it did not stop till after 3pm. Most people took this opportunity to walk back to their cars in the dry and no more visitors arrived. After locking up at 5pm I decided to stay and do a bit of birding. Xerox was my first stop where a single green sandpiper was feeding. I left the hide and walked to Marshland and had only just arrived when it started to rain again.
It was raining so hard that I had to close the window to stop it raining in. Then it suddenly stopped and the birds could get on with life. A pair of little grebes were on the island having a preen.
Lapwings, snipe and a ruff were busy feeding on the newly cut grass.  A family of deer walked across the far side of the lagoon. Apologies about the pictures but I was looking directly at the sun.

There was activity in the barn owl box. Three youngsters came out of the box, had a preen and flew to a nearby tree. Apologies for the photo but the box is a long way from the hide.
The barn owls had now flown out of view and the deer had walked into the reedbed so I left the hide and walked to Townend to have a last look at the ten spoonbills. I ignored the spoonbills and spent ages watching this marsh harrier.

The bird was standing on the freshly cut grass at the edge of the lagoon in front of the hide. I had to take the pictures through a closed window as I dare not open the window in case I frightened the bird away. It did eventually fly away and I could open the window.
A flock of black tailed godwits flew in to land on one of the islands.
My photo does not do justice to the impact their colour makes.
A wet day at times but a good day. 12 different kinds of waders, 10 spoonbills and magnificent views of a marsh harrier.
Lets hope that the weather is fine on Saturday night as we are open until 10pm so that visitors can share some of the magical sights of the wildlife at Blacktoft.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

York Minster Peregrine chicks.

After doing various jobs today I decided to go down to the Minster and see if I could see any of the peregrine chicks, which I had been told were now flying.
There were lots of people in Dean's Park, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and several people were looking at the male peregrine as he sat high on one of the many ornate figures.
After about 20 minutes he flew off in the direction of the Museum Gardens and all was quiet in the park. We then noticed a young peregrine sat on a different part of the Mister.

He spent some time sleeping and then he would have a preen. After about half an hour he became hungry and started to call
 I don't think that he was stamping his feet in a paddy but it looked like it, then dad arrived with some food.

 Then dad left. The young bird then went out of my view but after a while starting calling again. Dad came back with some more food but from a different angle so I did not see him arrive.

Dad then left.
The young bird was then on its own with the prey its dad had brought. Although the surface that the bird is standing on looks flat it is far from even which might account for some of its actions.

The young bird kept moving its food, presumable to get it onto a surface where it could pluck it and then eat it. An enjoyable couple of hours with these splendid birds.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A little stint of birding

Chris picked me up at 0730 and we set off for Kilnsea Wetlands, near Spurn. We were hoping to see a white rumped sandpiper, but it had flown in the direction of the Humber and had not been seem for an hour. However a little stint was near the hide with a dunlin.

At the screen we saw 2 wood sandpipers

We then walked on to Beacon Ponds where we added sandwich, common and little tern to our day list. A wren was singing in the hedge.

On our way back to the car we saw sparrows and reed buntings feeding on the stalks of corn.

Near the hide a snipe was feeding.
 Sammys Point was our next stop where we added redshank, golden plover, curlew and whimbrel to our day list.
As there was no news about the white rumped sandpiper we decided to head for North Cave Wetlands.  We had our lunch in Crosslands hide watching common sandpipers feeding. From just outside the hide we could see a peregrine perched in a tree and a barn owl looking out of its box.
We visited three other hides, just timing arrival to  avoid the rain showers.  We added tufted duck, great crested grebe and pochard to our day list bringing the total to 64, 19 more than the total Chris set for us at 0730.
As the rain showers were getting more frequent we decided to head for home and on the way added 3 more birds to our list.
Another great days birding thanks to  Chris who did the planning and driving.