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!
I'm still here; still sitting around watching the starlings and wood pigeons. I've done my best to keep my list for 2021 moving along - but at a true snail's pace! I've not taken any pictures for ages I'm afraid. In some ways I can't wait to get out birding but in other ways I certainly will wait. First jab done over three weeks ago. Nationally it's an improving picture as long as we don't all relax and drop our guard too soon!
The year list? Well I've had a few nice sightings from home: buzzard; red kite; sparrowhawk. Kestrel, mallard and pheasant from my trip for the jab. Goldcrest, long-tailed tits in the garden and, pleasingly, good numbers of greenfinch. Total 34 birds this year. The worst start to any year but I'm quite proud of what I have managed to spot. I've certainly put the time in.
So, for the time being I shall leave you with a few oddments...
Two foxes seen every night in our garden on our Browning trailcam.
'Hoppy' the lame fox has been with us for a couple of years and has appeared with fully grown young foxes in the autumn. She obviously copes all right with her limp.
A couple of snow scenes from the middle of last month.
16mm scale model of the Tralee and Dingle Railway inspection car - model now complete [see the November blog] and motor fitted. Just need a son who is good at soldering to wire up 2 wires...then we'll inspect our own track!
Snowdrop galanthus 'Brenda Troyle' an early flowering large snowdrop.
I'm beginning to believe that something approaching normality can happen. So I hope to be back in touch before too long!
I wanted to say something negative about this strange year but I can't. There were good times and good things as well as the awfulness of the virus. We have become inured to a daily dose of death which in more normal times would have been seen as a national tragedy. Over 900 deaths in one day and yet few tears are shed in the media. It's in the small print. Brexit is of greater interest. To be honest, our little world would have been better with neither of these pestilences. There I've said something negative after all!
So it's Farewell 2020 and welcome to Hope 2021. I've little to report other than to let you all know my end of year statistics. Straight from the ONS of course!
Total year ticks 200 exactly and that was a struggle. Species seen in the garden [or seen from the house looking into the fields] 43. Best ever total but that's because I spent so much bloody time at home staring at nothing in particular and dreaming of what might have been. Best birds in that list were waxwing, first ever yellow wagtail and our first ever jay. Jay was on our feeders.
Total for York area was 44 but I don't make the effort that I ought to make! Only addition to garden list was a moorhen.
Birds photographed for the first time were: eastern yellow wagtail; black-throated thrush; Blyth's reed warbler and the lammergeier.
One nice piece of news. Some time ago I entered a Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire branch photo competition as the branch was hoping to publish a Pocket Guide to Butterflies of Yorkshire. Four of my photos were selected as the best photo of a particular species. So I thought it would be nice on a very cold winter day to end the year with some butterflies.
Butterflies featured in this blog are purple emperor; clouded yellow; Duke of Burgundy; white letter hairstreak; plus 2 silver studded blue photos. Purple emperor was permitted as the guide is to include butterflies that may grace our Yorkshire countryside in the future as the climate changes.
See you next year. Take care, I mean it, really take care. It's not over yet you know.