Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Spoonbill at Blacktoft

My only "free" day today and what horrible weather. Do I stay in and vacuum or go out birding in the rain! Birding in the rain won, surprise surprise.
Mine was the only car in the car park at Blacktoft which was not a surprise due to the constant rain. After a short chat with Keith, Chris and Stuart in reception I made my way to Marshland hide, where I had been told I might see a spoonbill and spotted redshanks.
As I entered the hide I could see the spoonbill feeding on the right hand side of the lagoon. The vegetation is quite high so I was unable to get a clear view of the bird.

The bird eventually walked over to a small island where a little egret joined it.
After the egret left the spoonbill started to preen.

It then started to feed
I am not sure what it had caught.  A grey heron flew in
It landed near the spoonbill and little egret.
The spoonbill did not like this arrangement so flew to other side of the lagoon, and after a few minutes flew off.
Two mallard ducklings were swimming about keeping close to mum.
A pair of little grebes had two young and they were fishing in front of the hide. The vegetation again stopped me getting a clear view of the birds.

Three avocets flew in, but no sign of any young.
A common sandpiper joined a pied wagtail on the island in front of the hide.
The wind was now coming from a different direction and was blowing rain into the hide so I left and visited the other hides. The wind was blowing straight at the windows of the other five hides so I did not stay long in any of them.
Cormorants and a black backed gull were in front of Townend hide.

It was now half past one and if anything the rainfall had increased and it was not getting any brighter so I decided to head for home.
Leighton Moss tomorrow for a meeting and then back at Blacktoft on Friday for a spell of  reception duty.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sunday evening at North Cave Wetlands

It was 6pm when I drove into the car park on a sunny evening. The overwhelming sound as I got out of my car was the noise that black headed gulls were making.

This was my view from the South hide and this was one part of the black headed gull colony.
A male tufted duck was diving in front of the hide and on the opposite side of the lagoon cormorants were standing on a shingle bank, drying their outstretched wings.
Crossland hide was my next stop
Most of the birds on the lagoon were black headed gulls, along with a shelduck, mallard and chicks, little ringed plovers, avocets with chicks and this pair of great crested grebes.

They were very active, hardly staying still for a few seconds as they dodged the black headed gulls who were trying to get the fish that they had caught.
The reed bed hide was my last stop
A pair of long handled secateurs would have been handy as the vegetation had reached a height that stopped me from seeing the avocet chicks at the edge of the lagoon. These are pictures of ones I could see without vegetation getting in the way.

35 different birds in just under fours on a pleasant evening. On my journey back home I saw three kestrels hunting for their suppers within 300 yards of each other.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

June catchup; marsh harriers, gannets and spoonbills

Since starting this blog I have tried to write it everyday as I knew that  once I let it slip it would take me a while to catch up. Since my last blog I have been invigilating at a school. I have managed to get out birding to Blacktoft Sands  a couple of times.
The marsh harriers have been coming very close to the hides as they hunt for food.

I have also been on a school trip to Bempton Cliffs. These are a few of the pictures I took.

These gannets were preening each other.

 Today I was in Deans Park, York Minster with Colin from the local group, and we were showing visitors the resident peregrine.

These were only two of the many people who came talk to us. The peregrine started by sitting very high up and with his back to us.
Shortly after I took this picture he flew off and returned a few minutes later with what looked like a male blackbird in his talons. He took this to the higher balcony where he dropped down out of view. A couple of minutes later he flew away and went to the central tower.
He returned to the north tower later and sat on a gargoyle, which was a bit lower down.

Just before we left at 4pm he flew off.
Great news about spoonbills breeding at Fairburn Ings