Welcome to my birding blog - first launched 12th March 2012...

 

7th October 2021 ff

October 17, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

There's still good birding to be found!

October 7th: Dorman's Pool and Redcar beach

Walking to the hide at Dorman's I quickly snapped sea aster and common toadflax.

Pinkfeet on the pool.

A couple of green sandpipers at Phil Stead's place, Saltholme.

Sanderlings on Marske beach - there's a dunlin in there too.

October 9th: St. Aidan's 

Time for one of those ridiculous 'cuckoo' shots as I call any bird photo where the bird is barely visible! Scope views of the long-toed stint [UK lifer 446] were at best all right: camera shots were awful but I tried!! The target bird is left of the far lapwing near the water's edge. Honest!!

I've zoomed in a bit!

October 15th: Staveley

A very brief visit as I had to leave early. Only photos taken were of a buzzard. I've included one just for the record.

October 16th: Hartlepool Headland and the Zinc Works Road

My plan was to see purple sandpipers as I kept missing them for some reason and then to go to Seaton Common to see short-eared owls. Partial success only I'm afraid. Tide was high and I spotted a long line of turnstones on the main breakwater. Camera all ready for action I headed closer hoping some purple sands might be amongst the turnstones. They were.

Curlew on the Headland sands

A little later at Newburn Bridge I eventually spotted another purple sandpiper.

There were sanderlings there too.

Next was my long wait on the Zinc Works Road. I'm sure the owls did show but I had to leave before they appeared, alas. Consolation stonechat coming up!

175 UK 2021

 


20th September 2021 ff

October 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Old Man's Wanderings

September 20th: Adel Dam YWT and Golden Acre Park, Leeds

I'd been meaning to go for a long time to visit Adel Dam. Can't imagine why. It seemed neglected and pretty lifeless. The first hide proudly announced  that hopefully it would soon get an upgrade. There was little to see and it looked overgrown. The second hide was closed for repairs and the lake was covered in unpleasant looking algae. I saw a heron and a dunnock during my visit. Plus 27 squirrels of the verminous variety.

So far so bad...

Don't despair however. Golden Acre Park is well maintained and as soon as I reached the lake by the so-called Duck Hut I saw  mandarins - females and juveniles. I'm guilty of being chronologically inaccurate however as I had to go through the park and past the lake before I reached Adel Dam. If I'd stayed by the lake I'd see what I came for without the longer walk! When I came back from Adel Dam the drake mandarins were everywhere. The drakes must be late risers as befits their high status as mandarins!

Here's some pics!

Juvenile drake's head visible on right.

September 21st: Greatham Creek, Hartlepool and Seaton Snook

I was late in arriving and the tide was low. The best birds had moved on. I found black-tailed godwits and a spoonbill by the creek. The Headland was quiet and the purple sandpipers had flown. I was glad to see Barry on the Headland. I decided to head for Seaton Snook and a long walk on wet sand. Barry headed for Ward Jackson Park where [as I learnt later] he saw parakeet. That would have been a tick for me! No ticks as the bonxie had gone south but still I had a good time.

Sandwich terns are still present.

Guillemots and razorbills in huge numbers on the river. Very strange.

I saw one dead guillemot along the waterline.

Some frighteningly loud explosions somewhere in the industrial area put everything in the air [except the auks]. Knot I think.

Oystercatchers

The birds soon settled down again on the sands. Knot on right hand edge.

An arctic skua appeared.

Time was pressing so I began the walk back but was cut off from my preferred route by the tide that had started to come in again. That was lucky as I now headed back the way I had come along the samphire path. To my surprise I saw these three truants...

More wanderings later, I hope!

169 UK 2021


17th September 2021 ff

September 19, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Good Old Yorkshire!

September 17th - Blacktoft rules!

Blacktoft is certainly having a purple patch! Ibis, white tailed thingy and now a bluethroat. Not the easiest bird to see as it hides in the reeds at the back of Marshland lagoon along with a robin. [Can't say I've ever seen robins at Blacktoft before but I may be forgetting...] Anyway on my second visit I got some photos although the bird was still a long way off!

The ruff came nice and close. Attractive birds.

Bluethroat

The white-tailed plover has been present for 3 weeks now. All the crowds! It's exhausting!

September 18th - a morning stroll round North Cave Wetlands

I went thinking I might see something good. I knew a mandarin had been reported but there was no sign. However, half way down Dryham Lane near the gate on the right where there are feeders I spotted movement in the grass. Green woodpecker. The car and camera were 200m away. I made my way quickly to the car and drove down, parking just before the gate. Camera ready, I walked quietly over. The bird was still busy feeding. It's a juvenile and it made my day.

168 UK 2021

 

 


6th September ff 2021

September 14, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Autumn birding can be special.

Let's see what happens...

September 6th - a day at Spurn

I began at the Warren waiting for a rosefinch to appear from the bushes. Five of us waited about 45 minutes. And gave up! I spotted grey plover and knot on the mud. Redstart seen as I walked back to the car park. Kestrel flew past.

Kilnsea Wetlands had ruff, little stints and dunlin but they were tucked down at the reedbed end difficult to see from hide or gate. Black-tailed godwits from hide.

A white-headed gull looked interesting but although I like gulls I've never felt I could identify a Caspian gull. But I did wonder - one has been regularly reported recently.

Called at the Bluebell and found a whinchat. Not easy to get close and it was hiding among downy thistle heads. Distant views.

Later I returned to the Kilnsea Wetlands area to walk a long way to Beacon Lane in pursuit of a red-backed shrike that I never saw. Such walks are always much more exhausting when they come to nothing than is a successful walk for a rarity. You walk back then with a real spring in your step!

I was glad to reach the hide for a sit down. The dunlin and stints were just outside the hide.

I drove to Sammy's for a quick look round [saw golden plover] and to get the car ready to load up with garden compost on the way home. Spotted Karen and Simon Spavin in the distance so walked along to chat. Good idea as Simon pointed to a bush where I soon saw pied flycatcher. Seven ticks in one day in September. Crackin' stuff!!

September 13th: a photo jaunt to Blacktoft

Not really fancying the green warbler, I don't know why but if I saw it I didn't think it would thrill me any more than a  nice bright young willow warbler would so I passed and decided to see if I could get better, closer views of Blacktoft's rather special plover. A glossy ibis would be a bonus. Not much sunshine but I had a lovely hour and a half at First hide and then at Singleton.

The white tailed plover did just what I had hoped!

At Singleton I was watching the ibis just after I had sat down when a great white flew in from somewhere out of sight.

Glossy ibis too. No year ticks but I had a lovely time. Blacktoft can be very special if you consider what it can offer through the year.

Also seen were spotted redshank [not photographed as they were too far away], ruff, blackwits and wildfowl.

166 UK 2021


16th August - 1st September 2021

September 04, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Exciting times

August 16th, Blacktoft

Quiet. Another water rail jaunt but this one was successful! A  juvenile not quite bold enough to pose for a photo however. So had to settle for a greenshank, snipe and a ruff.

August 24th: Poppleton P&R; South Gare; Cowpen Marsh and Seaton Snook

Started at the Pool of Destiny as it has been named locally [amongst other names] In the last month I have seen on this 'puddle' a remarkable list of birds: gulls; moorhens; teal; mallards; green sandpiper; 5 greenshanks at once; willow warbler; pied and grey wagtails; swallows; little stint, ruff and curlew sandpiper. On this occasion it was quiet but I was very happy to see about 12 grey partridge!

On to Redcar for a look around South Gare. The highlight for me was a group of bottlenose dolphins.

Cowpen Marsh common terns

Seaton Snook to see the arctic skuas. My first visit wasn't really successful as the tide was coming across the sand rather fast and I retreated to the dunes section of the Snook and admired the Robinson Crusoe 'hide' overlooking the tern roost.

One skua departed out to sea.

Rather worn wall and common blue butterflies on the walk back to the car.

August 26th, Blacktoft

White-tailed lapwing/plover on Marshland. Saw my first years ago at Leighton Moss. [2007 apparently] 

August 29th: Saltholme and back to Seaton Snook

For me this was a very exciting day - one of the most exciting experiences I've had when birding...

I began at Saltholme as I had driven north to see a couple of juvenile black terns. Finding them was easy. Getting a lock on them with the camera [using 100-400 zoom lens] was another matter! And when you did get a focus lock, was it on the right bird...

No

No

Yes!

Seaton Snook, second visit to try for skuas...

Sandwich tern

On more than one occasion the skuas dropped the fish they had stolen. This sequence of silhouettes [due to shooting into the bright light] is all of the same bird/fish and probably only lasted a few seconds...

Damn! Dropped it!

Fish still visible...

Got it!

August 30th - taking a break

Sweet peppers and aubergines doing well in the garden this year...

...and a daisy to brighten your day after all this constant cloud!

Last lap: September 1st

Hornsea Mere to see the little gulls and an arctic tern...

The little gulls were numerous - over 250 when I arrived and I think there had been even more earlier.

A black-headed gull serves to show just how small little gulls are.

Juveniles can be very smart.

 

There was no sign of an arctic tern until, quite suddenly, it materialised on the jetty with the little gulls. Amazing looking bird!

In flight it was remarkably easy to locate and keep track of.

Later I headed for Blacktoft hoping for better/closer views of the white-tailed lapwing. Closer it was at Xerox but too much vegetation clutter made the results disappointing.

159 UK 2021

 

 

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