26.12.16 - 08.01.17

January 08, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Playing catch-up!

And all the news up to Nelson!!

This has happened before. Don't know how but there it is. Somehow I missed out an afternoon with Barry at North Duffield from the last blog of 2016. So I'll begin by putting that right.

December 26th 2016

We'd only been there a day or two earlier but I didn't take the camera the first time. This time I did expressly hoping to get some flight shots of the whooper swans. 

Plenty of greylags about... ...and wigeon too. Eventually the whoopers obliged and flew around before returning to the ings.

They were clearly overdoing the spray tan!

Ok. That's got 2016 out of the way.

January 1st 2017

Set off very early and saw the eastern black redstart in the half light at Skinningrove followed by scoping the bean geese along Kilton Lane. All part of my attempt to beat my first one hundred birds tally achieved on January 6th last year - itself a two day improvement on my previous pb. Next stop looking from Redcar in a howling gale for scoter. Only managed to see common scoter but could hardly keep the scope still. A man came past and said he thought there was a snow bunting a bit further along on the shingle just below the path. I went to see, found the bird, went back to get my camera. Bird hadn't moved far but again I struggled to hold the camera. One sharp image below!

It was a pretty horrible day weather-wise and it didn't lend itself to taking photos. Without Barry's eyes to boost my tally I was nonetheless not dissatisfied with my day total of 59 although that left a lot to do! Here's a few shots.

As the day wore to an end I paid my respects to the med gull at Newburn. Would have been rude not to!

January 2nd: Scarborough and Filey

I began at Forge Valley and picked up the usual suspects, adding 5 more birds. Ten more that day in and around Scarborough and Filey bringing my total to 74.



Could almost have been a white-billed diver - but I know it isn't!! The ubiquitous turnstone.

...and even, off the car park at Carr Naze, a RNG!

January 3rd

Roe deer and a magpie from our house first thing in the morning. Sheila and I spent the day round Hartlepool but I didn't use the camera. Windy again. Highlights were shore lark, red-throated diver, twite, purple sandpiper, scaup concluding with a last gasp dash to Dorman's Pool for a glaucous gull. 

Total now was 89

January 4th

Afternoon outing to Lemon Royd sewage works produced water pipit and grey wagtail. Then I tried to walk from Woodlesford to Skelton Lake but found it hard to get decent views of the lake. Picked up some goosanders. Later I was shown the long-eared owl roost near Woodlesford - a new site for me. One owl out in the sunshine. Looked good; I must go back soon.

Total 94. Could I get 6 birds on the 5th of January?

January 5th

Early start at Bank Island produced peregrine, whooper swan [single] and my first rook!

On to North Cave, picking up buzzard en route. Siskin at North Cave , west path, and at 10.53 a.m. a great crested grebe took the honours as bird number 100. By the time I left North Cave I was on 102 and heading for Blacktoft for the roost.

The moon was up already.

Shelduck flew past Singleton hide. A marsh harrier lingered in a bush but none flew close.

No hen harriers but I like this shot, albeit distant, of a male merlin. Atmospheric in the late sunlight... [if you can spot it!] I ended the day on 107 for 2017.

January 7th

Afternoon at Swillington again. One water pipit at the sewage works but lots of meadow pipits. I went primarily for a long-tailed duck on Lemonroyd Lake. Next I drove to Fairburn after a tip-off that the great white egret was very near the road. It was indeed. Day over at somewhere else for a ruddy duck

Year so far: 111, Horatio!

Targets 2017

1: See 40 species in/from the garden.

2: See 100 or more species within the modern York boundary.

3: 10 lifers in UK in any combination of birds and butterflies.

4: Website hits to reach 35,000.

5: Go on 2 more birding adventures.

6: BirdGuides Iris photo total to 7,000

7. Fastest hundred: achieved 10.53 a.m. on January 5th

For the reader who remembers my targets for the year [they exist solely to motivate me as I can be dilatory at times!] here's an end of year update...

2016 targets updated 31.12.16

1: See 40 species in/from the garden. 39 so close!

2: See 281 or more species UK. 273 oh well....

3: 10 lifers in UK in any combination of birds and butterflies= 13 [10+3] Achieved 4.10.16

4: Website hits to reach 30,000. 29,265 so close!

5: Go on 2 more birding adventures. 2 achieved by 16.08.16 [Highlands and Shetland]

6: Fastest hundred [8th Jan target to beat]. Achieved 6th Jan!


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