April 26th: Nosterfield
A brief visit to Flask Lake where a blackcap was spotted briefly along with a song thrush but finding the Bewick's swan proved challenging.
The Bewick's was located later on Langwith Lake, a lake which I didn't know. It's about 700m down Moor Lane just over Lady Bridge looking west.
April 27th: Langdon Beck
I tried several times to find the hoopoe at Langdon Beck. I did see a willow warbler and a dipper on my walks along the beck but I never managed to spot the target bird. I spotted a black grouse a little closer than on my last visit, a friendly snipe and a donkey! I spotted the snipe as I drove along: I had a camera on the passenger seat so I drew up quite close and wound down the passenger window - the snipe was unconcerned.
April 28th: Blacktoft Sands
An afternoon visit. Dull weather so I didn't expect much. Certainly not the Cetti's warbler as I entered the reserve.
I settled down in Marshland hide and in an unplanned way I got absorbed in trying to photograph the hirundines that were busy over the water. Marsh harriers were around too.
Approaching the hide I saw the bench that commemorates Joe Gilleard a Blacktoft birder who was also key member of the family that have provided so many hides around the country. [Poor chap has a screw loose!]
May 1st: Saltholme and Low Newton by the Sea
I was birding near Saltholme trying to photograph a spotted redshank when I saw a report of a grey-headed lapwing at Low Newton-by-the-Sea.
I'd never heard of a GHL. Still it seemed to be getting everybody very excited so I abandoned my original plan and set off north. A first for Britain and lifer 448 for me. [I hoped]
Parking was fraught as the car park had never seen the like. A uniformed local authority official was present and was making sure all cars were displaying their tickets! I set off down the hill.
May 3rd: Around the Saltholme area
Quiet. Eider on Greatham Creek; common sandpipers from hide at Dorman's Pool.
May 6th: York University
Black-winged stilts from first lagoon. One photo features all 4 stilts and a moorhen.
Kestrel at York university
Almost back at the car when I spotted this rabbit.
May 7th: South Shields and Blackhall Rocks
Hoopoe found by New Sundial pub in dunes at South Shields. In a heavy mist which produced an unusual light.
The bird was elusive so I photographed some linnets while I wandered the dunes waiting for the hoopoe to loom out of the mist.
Still, here it is - a bird I was thrilled to finally encounter. [Split infinitive - who cares!]
I called at Blackhall Rocks on my way home and saw grasshopper warbler, whitethroat and cuckoo. Only white throat managed to get onto the memory card along with a few other bits...
Looking down onto the beach from the cliff top I saw this remarkable huge stone image that must have taken hours to create. No idea what it is though!
May 9th: Sutton Bank
Turtle doves had been reported so I went on a morning visit. No sign but yellowhammer showed nicely and I was pleased to locate a garden warbler by 'the finest view in Britain' as the signposts name it. Here is the view itself.
And here are the birds.
A buzzard flew past at eye level.
Early purple orchids