Sheila and I went up to Saltholme hoping for a long-eared owl. We got two - but one of them was rather hard to spot! As you will see.
At first he had his back to us but then he turned to look to the right.
Then he faced us and the sun nicely caught his 'ears'! In the above photo you can detect a second owl on the left. As we walked back we watched a pair of stonechats. Fighter jets over the visitor centre. Sheila spotted the black swan cruising the main lake. The green-winged teal was said to be showing at Saltholme Pools hide. I'd fallen for that trick before only to find it had disappeared in the long grass: this time we struck lucky. It's like our cat: sleeps about 21 hours a day and disappears when you most need him! Well, here he is, showing a few signs of life!
Snap decision to go to Brompton by Sawdon church to see hawfinch and a very early ring ouzel. No sign of hawfinch but found the ouzel in the field across from the church. Photographed into the sun which explains the bright fringing round the bird. The forecast snow hadn't materialised and Tophill Low was only about 14 miles away across country. A pleasant drive on the back roads to Driffield and I was surprised how soon I got to the waterworks. Hoping for a glaucous gull which comes to roost in the afternoon, I soon had 3 redpolls in the gloomy woods on the ramp up to the new hide. Quite a pale bird.
If you want to see small birds, the feeders at the new hide are an excellent spot. Grab a blue chair and sit in the hide but some way from the glass. If you stand right by the window you'll see very little.
On the feeders I saw chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, siskin, blue tit, great tit, marsh tit, coal tit, robin. The only downside is the use of special 'Horrorglass' in the hide. This means photos taken from in the hide are blurred and the excellent telescopes provided are worse than useless. Some strange planning decisions going on there, Yorkshire Water!
If you want a decent view of D reservoir go to the left hand cubicle and open the window slots! What will they do when there's a really rare bird present and there's only room for 4 or 5 birders in there?
I watched the assembled waterfowl - coots, wigeon, tufties, great crested grebe, a few of the commoner gulls. Here's a pochard and a nice goldeneye.
Anyway, the glaucous turned up early at about 2.30. Looked different when the sun came out.
After a while it flew out onto the reservoir. Time for a biggy?