May 29th: a new destination for me, the Rivelin Valley west of Sheffield. Barry and I hoped to see wood warbler, a bird I haven't seen locally for a couple of years. I did see one near Aviemore last summer but decent photos have eluded me. The area allegedly had six territories this spring. We found two of them without too much difficulty. All thanks to a contact on Twitter who provided site info and a map.
Here I am courtesy of Barry Bishop looking for our target bird. Amazed how young I look.
First bird was singing in and around a rowan tree. Second bird was in a much gloomier location and photography was a struggle with very high ISO rates and low shutter speeds. This one is just what I hoped for.
We moved north slowly, calling first at Anglers' Country Park. Some nice marsh orchid types were seen - some looking very robust.
This one looked a bit different - a bit of a hybrid maybe. Out on the water a pair of mute swans were showing off their cygnets.
Cygnet #1 had the bright idea of hitching a ride! Final port of call was at St. Aidan's RSPB where we saw a single black tern [no decent photos this time - but here's a poor effort]...
...and little owl....
Not a bad day at all!
May 31st: Sheila and I drove up to Hartlepool to see a quail on the bowling green! Sounded a bit ridiculous... No sign although it was evidently still somewhere in the bushes round the green. We decided to go and see the little terns at Crimdon Beach and call back later.
A sea fret had rolled in. We could hear the terns as they headed out into the mist. To give you an idea of how bad it was here are a couple of photos of the birds in the misty conditions. As I shoot everything in RAW it's amazing what you can achieve by processing your images carefully. One thing, however, was apparent: somehow the mist particles in the air did seem to impede pin-sharp focus. Here's a set of photos that I worked on.
First common blue of the year in the dunes.
We returned to the Bowling Green. Eventually the quail came out onto the outside of the green from under the fence.
June 1st: Flamborough, Bempton, Hilla Green and Fen Bog
Thornwick Pool was very quiet. Reed warbler from the hide; wall butterfly outside the hide. Flamborough - I went to have another look at the lesser whitethroat. Common whitethroat too.
No sign of spotted flycatcher at Hilla Green but I may not have been looking in the right place. I explored the area near Dipper Bridge [as Nigel Stewart used to call it] - grey wagtail with food for its young? It was a quiet day overall but I went to nice places that I love. A tree pipit [I think] at Fen Bog. If it's just a mipit then that's fine too.