3rd February - 23rd February 2024

February 24, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

The Pain in the Neck

After the recent storms there was a lot of debris in the garden from a large eucalyptus tree that dramatically shed a large branch from high up in the tree. It hung there for some days - beyond the reach of ladders and we watched it every day to see if it had fallen to earth. Eventually it did. I spent a day and a half lopping and pruning to reduce it to bags for the tip but in the end Malcolm came to saw up the largest timber plus some mimosa branches and everything went in a small skip which we ordered.

I think the constant repeated actions of lopping and pruning had an effect on me and one night in bed I must have moved awkwardly and something went in my neck - tendon, muscle, I've no idea but it hurt a lot, I couldn't easily move my head to the right and I had trouble sleeping as I was so restless. This curtailed my birding somewhat and I am now some way behind last year's total at this time. But I am much better and will avoid using the loppers and pruners for some time as I have had relapses after deciding I could resume my garden jobs. It's called 'getting old' I suppose.

Still, here goes - the latest [not terribly exciting] news:

February 3rd: A cattle egret was hiding in the reeds at Phil Stead hide at Saltholme. I watched it for some time through the camera viewfinder as I wanted to catch the bird as it flew out of the reeds. It took longer than I expected but eventually it did fly across the pool towards the fire station area. 

In the meantime I did manage to photograph a pair of shelducks and a shoveler.



Spoonbill on pool across from electricity substation

February 4th: from our bedroom window we watched a small group of roe deer.

February 5th: St Aidan's and...


February 7th: Back to St. Aidan's to see bearded tits - several attempts but none successful. Moorhen and female pochard instead!!

February 12th: Spurn for waders from the gate at the end of the public road. Grey plover, knot, dunlin and all sorts seen in the scope but few photos that day. Whooper swans in a field on Easington Straight didn't work out too well. Taken from the car but the engine was running and none of my photos was pin sharp due to vibration I presume.

I like shovelers so here's another one! [Canal Scrape]

February 16th: annual early visit to Bempton. 

A very prickly thistle rosette attracted me.

More traditional stuff

Guillemot in very harsh light at Scarborough harbour.

February 20th: saw an american wigeon south of Bubwith bridge on a distant [definitely ephemeral] spit on the large flood right of the river. Later at Saltholme saw my first avocets of the year. Photos from Cowpen Bewley feeders.

February 23rd: Gosh, it was cold at Greatham Creek and on my walk down to the tidal pools with camera bins and scope to test out my neck muscles. Pleased to confirm that neck is ok this morning 24/2/24] A birder said the greenshank was present half an hour earlier but no sign when I reached the pools. Three workmen near the pools and a white van probably didn't help. The spotted redshank was still there and a bar-tailed godwit near the road bridge on Greatham Creek was a nice surprise. My highlight of the day was a single shag in breeding plumage with a nice crest showing on the rocks at Hartlepool Headland. 

After a visit to Cowpen Bewley feeders I went to Saltholme. The feeders had several visits from siskins which I had only seen once before a few days earlier.

So, siskin at Cowpen Bewley, pussy willow, teal and marsh harrier at Phil Stead, Saltholme followed by avocets [14 present but one was way off to the right: a sort of Billy No Mates avocet!] and golden plover [including interloper] down at Saltholme Pools hide. And an egret.

This marsh harrier photo almost looks like a drawing!

 121 UK 2024



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