Monday, 11 December 2017

North Cave Wetlands

My first "free" Monday since August as I have been working since the start of term. A few jobs to do and then I went to North Cave Wetlands.
Only 1 car in the car park as I drove in. I decided to buy a cup of tea from the Wild Bird Cafe. The lady serving me told me that the road will not now open until January 19th as they have had to repair some drains. Then hopefully we cab drive there without having to make a long detour.
The scene at the wetlands was certainly wintery as my photos show.

 Not much to see from any of the hides. A pair of marsh harriers were hunting near the turret hide.

A ribin was posing along the northn hedge and this female blackbird was enjoying the afternoon sun.

A pheasant was picking up some seed near one of the feeders.
Some coots were feeding in an ice free patch of water.
From the south hide I could see a group of wigeon by the far bank on my left
 a group of teal were on the right hand sude of the lagoon

this male briefly came close to the hide and a male goosander did a fly past.
Along the lane back to the car I noticed lots of bird sound coming from the hedges on both sides of the road. Birds kept flying from bush to bush and sometimes they would fly across the road. I was able to add greenfinch, goldfinch, dunnock, blackbird, sing thrush, redwing, fieldfare and starling to my day list.
This female chaffinch was keeping a watrchful eye on me. I discovered the reason for the small bird activity, the feeders have been moved from near the sacrificial crop field and the cafe seating area and out near the gate. The reason for the move was due to having large numbers of rats at the other sites.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Lower Derwent Valley birding

My plans for today were changed late last night. So I decided to take the opportunity to do a spot of local birding before my taxi duties tonight. Bank Island wqas my first port of call Lots of wigeon, coot and mute swans. However the River Derwent had flooded the path to the hide and Wheldrake Ings also looked to be under water.

West Cottingwith Ings was my next stop.

Not a lot to see. A few redwing and fieldfares in the hedges and a mistle thrush. No sign of any wildfowl or swans,
North Duffield Carrs was my next and final stop, From the top hide I could see some swans in the distance, so I decided to walk down to the second hide. When I got into the hide and looked out of the window, a female reed bunting was perched in a bush just outside the hide. I dare not open the window to took this photo through the glass.
The bird eventually flew away so I opened the window.

Looking through my telewscope I could see that all of the swans were whoopers, about 32 of them and at least 8 of them were juvenile which I hope means that they have had a good breeding season.  You might just be able to make out the buzzard that is sat on a post to the left of the swans in the second picture.While some of the swans were happy to leep others were restless and every few minutes a few swans would fly away but they did not get any closer to the hide.
In the distance I could see lots of birds in the air and when I looked through my scope I could see a birder walking along the river bank.

I counted another 21 swans flying round in circles as well as lots of geese and lapwings. Once the chap had gone the birds settled down only to be disturbed again by a peregrine swooping fast and low over their heads. This caused the wasers to fly again and in the disturbance I could see a marsh harrier.
Meanwhile in front of the hide wrens were flying into the reeds only to be chased away by another wren. After a while this wren perched on this open bit of bush , I presumed that it had decided to get a vantage point from where it could defend its terrotory.
No more wrens came near so it dropped out of site, but some movement caught my eye. I thought at first that it was another wren and the I thought it could be a goldcrest as it flitted through the reeds, It flew to the left of the hide and had a quick preen in the ice free water, but it was hidden by the branches, plus the window at that side of the hide is dirty, so this is the best shot I could get.

I think that it was a chiifchaff.
A robin was also having a preen
21 pied wagtails were feeding at the edge of the water and kept slipping on the ice.
Meadow pipits and starlings were also finding it difficult to stay upright whilst they searched for food along the edge of the water.

It was now time to go home and as I walked along the path to the car park I disturbed lots of redwings and fieldfares.
Snow is forecast for tomorrow so no plans, perhaps North Cave on Monday if road conditions allow.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

To breathe or not to breathe!

Strange title but all will be revealed. On duty in reception at Blacktoft today. I arrived at 7.30am after a straight forward journey from York.
The inch or more of snow that fell during Thursday was still on the footpaths, luckily it was more crunchy then slippy.
A walk to all the hides only produced a list of 3 birds, shelduck, buzzard and four marsh harriers. I took these photosat Singleton.

Back in reception Jess and I got ready to open for visitors. The weather had improved and the sun was shining and the "lads" were near reception.
 Apart from marsh harriers hunting it was very quiet.
As I tried to take this picture I encountered my first breathing problem. As I looked through the viewfinder I discovered that my breathe was causing condensation and  could not see. So I tried taking a deep breathe and holding it, by which time the bird was further away.
The tree sparrows were very chirpy and were busy preening close to the window another photo opportunity but I must take a deep breath.
A pair of stonechats were on the other side of theditch.

The fire was now burning well and the temperature in reception had risen. The next problem was the effect that the visitors in reception were having on the windows, they were starting to steam up!
Time for deep breathing again as I tried to photograph the redpoll feeding om the willowherb.

 A robin wason the seat outside.
Starlings were feeding on the ground where the ponies had been.
A bullfinch was perched on a reed as it had a drink from the ditch. Great and blue tits were searching for food on the reeds and were joined by reed buntings.

Visitors told me that there were several hundred fieldfare and redwing in the treesand bushes around the car park.

Back to problems with breathing on the viewfinder again!