Groans from all readers...
Lets hope May will deliver something brilliant. So far rather staid - but it's a start.
Fairburn and St. Aidan's this morning and then marrow, courgette and pumpkin planting this afternoon. A few pictures.
Cuckooflower / Lady's Smock / Cardamine pratensis
First swifts seen in the evening over the house.
A big day out began at Flamborough bowling green where the locals were practising [9.30am] rolling their wooden balls about and the hoopoe[ quite naturally] was nowhere to be seen! Still the other object of the day was to get some year ticks so I could at least seem to be doing some proper birding again. On, then, To Thornwick Pools where little ringed plover delighted, a sedge warbler was very showy but best of all outside were linnet, whitethroat and, hiding in the base of a bramble tangle was a lesser whitethroat. Not a bird I'm usually very good at spotting.
Next was busy Bempton. Tree sparrows galore - which was another year first.
Amazing how the pandemic has changed everything - car park with portaloos, reception desk outside and birds I see in early January not seen until May! A barn owl was out hunting in daylight so was presumably feeding young.
The cliff regulars were almost all present [although somehow I didn't look out for the fulmars. Were they there?]
My guillemot photos were not good so I've omitted them. The jackdaws were very cheeky and approachable. I like them in spite of their reputations for pushing out other species from nest sites. Clever birds - they know they're safe at Bempton, I think.
After Bempton I called at Filey Dams and added just bullfinches to my tick list - otherwise quiet with lots of common geese and common gulls [but no common gulls if you see what I mean!]. Later I saw marsh tit and nuthatch along with other tits and finches at Forge Valley.
I'm a cautious old bird but this damn virus may still creep up on me... On the other hand something is going to get me anyway before too long! My father died at 42 so I've improved the family longevity score a little bit already!
Birding, Chris, birding. Stop snivelling and get on with it!
April 18th: an afternoon trip to Nosterfield. Not a lot of photo opportunities as everything at Nosterfield tends to be some distance away. However a lovely afternoon with ten year ticks including this showy chiffchaff. First swallow near York as I drove home.
April 20th: Tophill Low. A decent haul for of ten new birds for my year list. Yellow wagtail, kingfisher, little ringed plover,marsh harrier, lesser black-backed gull. Best of all was a cattle egret at Watton. Also seen was the hooded merganser on D reservoir. Here are a few unspectacular pictures...
Since then a camera free walk at North Cave: Cetti's warbler, sedge warbler and 3 whooper swans [plus 3 also rans!]
Wednesday 7/4 I went to North Cave to look for a green-winged teal. A few other everyday year ticks were spotted on a brief visit. It was cold and the light was poor. I spoke to a birder who had seen very little - just an Egyptian goose on North Field 'at the end of the hedge'. All I could see were greylags until a sleepy-head decided to stir a little...
That was the only time it moved. I waited a while and went back to Cell A to look for the teal. Soon spotted up by Crosslands hide.
April 14th: World Exclusive
Rare opportunity to tour our garden on a 3 feet above the ground lightning visit!
The file is over 1.2 gigabytes and lasts 2 minutes 45 seconds so will probably play rather jerkily as your PC/laptop loads it. Leave it to play to the end then play it again [but watch it this time!] and it should run smoothly.
To mark the end of Lockdown #3 and the start of the easing of restrictions on my birding life I set off for a cautious little trip calling initially at New Flash, Fairburn. Driving through the village I was surprised to see a single sand martin flying up and down the road near the sandstone wall where the sand martins nest every year. An excellent start.
At New Flash, parking at the roadside, I saw ten more year ticks ranging from coot to little egret. I decided I had time for a quick walk along the causeway at St. Aidan's - starting from the Methley end. There were quite a few people about but everyone was very sensible. I picked up just 3 more ticks as I had promised to be home for lunch: cormorant; great crested grebe and a couple of black-necked grebes. My year list increased by 40%!
Great crested grebe
In standard international diecode this is an Ornithological Observation Vehicle. Originally sequestered in Ireland on the Tralee and Dingle Railway the OOV has been relocated to the Island of St. Tudwal's for use on its unique narrow gauge railway transporting birdwatchers along the island's rugged coastline to watch rare wading birds such as the endemic flipstone, the purple musselcatcher and, of course, the famous fork-billed sandpipers.
Tuesday saw the first outing for the OOV driven by Ronan O'Willett and carrying one of our best-known birders, Sir Lee Bonquairs. Seen here on an inland section of the line it was photographed from a Hubsan X4 H107L quadcopter.
Here she is!
You may have to wait a few seconds before the OOV MOOVES!
Normal birding will resume on these islands as soon as possible before the birders all lose their minds...
Latest news: a moorhen has been added to the year's sightings list!
35 UK 2021!