I'll start with a few recent photos of our garden stock doves. Rarely far away, they come in to clean up fallen seed under our feeders - often in the afternoon. Photos by Sheila with her 500D Canon camera and a 300mm lens through glass.
First two below: in the rain! Spot the falling needles!!
July 2nd: I went up to Redcar to try to see the red-backed shrike . It was quite windy and the bird was only seen a few times very fleetingly by the local birders. Unfortunately I was never in the right place to spot it!
Stonechat obliged and I saw some really strong growing pyramidal orchids. It's amazing how much colour there is at this time of year on the apparently barren martian landscape by cabin rocks.
In the strong wind a whitethroat was easily heard and seen but rarely stayed still for a moment. I tried to get some shots while waiting for the shrike to [not] appear.
I went back next day to try again. No wind: a promising beginning. Some birders were down in the dip. Bird soon seen this time - but always distant. Great scope views. Took lots of photos - here come the best - nice sometimes to appreciate a bird in its environment.
I went further north later that day to try for a pectoral sand at Druridge Pools just north of Cresswell. Pecsand seen along with at least 3 woodsands - but all a long way off. Just snapped this five-spot burnet moth.
A truly grand day out. We began at Kilnsea Wetlands and Beacon Ponds. Barry spotted the white-winged black tern just after exiting the car park! I was still getting the camera ready. Best shots were up near the view screen. If you don't like WWBTs best look away now! A skylark loitered at the water's edge. Back to the tern... I headed to Beacon Ponds to join Barry who was looking for little terns. Along the hedge that separates Kilnsea Wetlands from Beacon Ponds a whitethroat showed nicely. We returned to the viewing screen as the tern seemed to favour the channel near there.
Next stop: Hornsea Mere where we saw an adult little gull but it was a long way off. Otherwise quiet we headed for Tophill Low. Again a little gull was spotted on D reservoir but little else. At North Marsh the reed warblers showed really well. I don't know why but I always get a thrill out of getting up close with them - and Tophill Low is one of the best places to do this. We finished the day with a walk up to Hempholme to try to see the kingfishers.
Specifically I wanted to try to see the little owls on the Long Drag machine. Machine first: it's called Oddball and it reached its current location after walking post restoration a mere 52 metres. Yes, it walks! [Well, it used to!] Look at the monster!
Photo © Barry Bishop Kestrels and little owls use it as a nest site. Bring on the little owls!
Comma, gatekeeper, ringlet, meadow brown and marbled white butterflies all seen near Oddball. We decided to call at Lin Dyke on the way home.
A kestrel hovered above us. I fired a few shots - funny how when you're not really trying that hard the results can be rather nice....
Barry pointed to a reed bunting on the wires near the hide. I was a bit late to press the shutter as it flew... Juvenile common tern on a post; greenshank walking along the flash fringes. Highland cattle added a splash of colour on the walk back. By the road we spotted a chiffchaff. Managed to locate it in the lens.
...in the afternoon after grand-daughter had left. Hoped to see a ruddy shelduck. Very distant but still present.
Early morning trip to Wykeham raptor watchpoint for honey buzzards. None seen but never seen so many birders - over 40 by noon. No honey buzzards, just common buzzards, a kestrel and good views of goshawks which was nice. A golden ringed dragonfly landed near me. Never seen one stationary before - I had to back up a bit to get a focus with the big lens. I gave up in the end and headed for Fen Bog. No whinchats still but what's this? It's a juvenile stonechat [dad was close by].
I'll finish with a few butterflies - small skipper seen but not photographed at all. Keeled skimmer dragonfly also seen but not photographed successfully: they all came out blurred!
Small heath and dark green fritillary coming up. It's wet and unpleasant today here in York but the bird feeders need filling so I'll have to fly!
I usually do an update on my year targets at this time.
1: See 40 species in/from the garden. 37 - fingers crossed!
2: See 100 or more species within the modern York boundary. 50 – more effort needed!
3: 10 lifers in UK in any combination of birds and butterflies. 4
4: Website hits to reach 35,000. 33,600: should get there!
5: Go on 2 more birding adventures. 1: Highlands and Skye
6: BirdGuides Iris photo total to 7,000. 7,000 achieved: 21/05/17
7. Fastest hundred: achieved 10.53 a.m. on January 5th