Saturday and Sunday 30.11.13-01.12.13

December 02, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Chris and Sheila get Christmasy!

Saturday 30th November

We fancied a day out to see the reindeer at Saltholme's Scandinavian Christmas so we set off for Hartlepool at about 10am. The roads were quiet and we seemed to soon be there. Unfortunately the reindeer were in a tiny pen where naturalistic shots would be impossible. With Sheila's camera we did our best.

ReindeerReindeer

 

Later we walked down to Saltholme Pool hide to see the [distant] barnacle geese. A reed bunting posed for us.

Reed BuntingReed Bunting

Reed BuntingReed Bunting

 

Look carefully at this berry-laden hawthorn bush!

Song ThrushSong Thrush

 

Time for a snack! Song thrush 1: Waxwings 0

Song ThrushSong Thrush

 

We walked the walk round the Headland [lots of red-throated divers], tried Steetley Pier for velvet scoter and lunched at Newburn Bridge with Medusa the med gull in attendance. We watched the big waves pounding in.

Chris and Barry go to the seaside!

Saturday 1st December

Purple SandpiperPurple Sandpiper

 

Sounds a bit like an early reader book for the under fives, doesn't it! Oh well, there you go. Tiggy came too and we set off fairly early at about 7.40 am for Harwood Dale to look for waxwings. No show but we picked up quite a few birds on our way. Long Nab, Burniston entertained us as we sought the lapland buntings in the adjacent stubble field. The problem is sifting them out from the skylarks as they fly up from almost under your feet!

Next stop at Scalby Mills. Sunshine and little wind made it feel very pleasant. Plenty of wigeon on the sea.

WigeonWigeon

 

We were pleased to watch a purple sandpiper edging ever closer...

Purple SandpiperPurple Sandpiper

Purple SandpiperPurple Sandpiper

Purple SandpiperPurple Sandpiper

 

Then we drove down to the harbour. Unfortunately a yacht race and the inevitable movement of boats in and out of the harbour mouth meant that the great northern diver had disappeared. He's back again today [Monday 2/12] as I write this. We photographed  the harbour sparrows - aka turnstones!

TurnstonesTurnstones

 

Sometimes you don't anticipate fully the effect the light will have on the final picture. The distant sandy beach provided the bokeh* in this picture; some dark object did the trick in the next one!

 

Herring GullHerring Gull

 

There were a couple of cormorants in the harbour so I took a picture of one [or did I?], mainly because I thought I could capture a nice lighting effect.

 

ShagShag

ShagShag

 

I had read in Steve Routledge's blog [try: juncea blog in a search engine!] that he had seen a juvenile shag in the harbour on Saturday so I looked at my photos a bit more closely...then I looked at some bird books...then I looked at on-line photos...then I decided: it's a shag! And with that lighting it's a jolly good shag!

Why is it a shag and not a cormorant? Well, at no stage of their lives do cormorants have a yellowish bill. Juvenile shags do. Pretty much end of the debate.

Holbeck car park next for a quick visit to the mediterranean gulls. Three appeared : see Barry's blog at http://barryjohnbishop.blogspot.co.uk/ for his account of the day and a picture of the 3 meds standing away from the black-heads. Here they are!

Mediterranean GullMediterranean Gull

Mediterranean GullMediterranean Gull

Mediterranean GullMediterranean Gull

 

Two more stops planned. Firstly, Scarborough Mere where I snapped a mandarin in the fading light at a rather slow shutter speed. One hundredth of a second won't freeze a scurrying drake!

MandarinMandarin

 

Last port of call was at Castle Howard lake where we saw a fine collection of wildfowl and gulls. Pretty good day for early December, I think - and we made the most of it.

 

* Bokeh

The term comes from the Japanese word boke 暈け or ボケ, which means blur or haze and is used in photography to reflect the aesthetic or atmospheric nature of out-of-focus parts of an image. But you knew that already! I 'm just being pedantic again!!


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