Sunday, 24 November 2013

"wrong kind of leaves!!"

Over the past 9 days I have been out and about and keep finding plenty of trees etc. with green and brown leaves. I expect that some trees will retain some leaves all winter now, unless we get some very strong winds. As a  birdwatcher I find this very annoying. I cannot afford to ignore a possible sighting of a bird in a tree, but I am amazed at how often the "bird" turns out to be old leaves!!
One bonus is the number of insects etc. still about for the odd migrant to feed on, with a bit of luck the serin will still be at Flamborough this coming Saturday, when I might have enough spare time to go and see it.
The road to Castle Howard gave an impressive view last weekend. However the shot I wanted meant standing in the middle of the road, and I was surprised how many cars use that road!

A late walk at Askham Bog during the week provided me with some views of gulls going to roost at Wheldrake Ings.

Football duties today took me to Darlington. From their I had a quick trip to South Gare. I would have gone to north of the river but the transporter bridge is closed. It never seems to be open these days. Why don't they put signs up saying closed, instead of letting you drive to the bridge itself to find out!!! The last pictures are from South Gare.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

End of an era!!

I have not taken a slide picture for over 10 years, and have not used this slide projector for about the same time I use a digital projector now. So a new camera meant it was time to say goodbye to thousands of slides, lots of carousels and the good old projector. It weights the proverbial ton as it is made of metal!! I hope that someone will look after it.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Great white egret, snow buntings and skydancers.

At  last a chance to go out birding for the day with Chris. It was our usual routine, Chris plans the venues according to the latest sightings, Sheila advises on the weather and I keep a record of the birds we see during the day.
0745 pick up and off to the east coast, where we hoped to have better weather than at home inYork.
Hornsea Mere was our first stop where we hoped to see a great white egret, and it did not take us long to find the bird. It was some distance off when we first spotted it, but if then flew and landed in a tree a bit closer which gave us the chance to take some pictures. I bought a new camera during the week, and this was my chance to try it out. The zoom lens is only 75-300, so the images are not the magnificent close ups that Chris achieves with his prime 400 lens. However I hope that they give you a flavour of some of the birds etc. we saw today.

Hornsea Mere

Hornsea Mere

Long distance view of  great white egret

egret flying

Chris looking for birds

black headed gull

mute swans

having taken some photos of the great white egret in the tree it was time to move south towards our second destination Withernsea. On the way we stopped at Mappleton, a place I had not been to before. We spent a few minutes looking for birds on the beach and at sea, and we were able to add gannet, goldfinch and meadow pipits to our list for the day.
looking south from Mappleton

Our next stop was near the sewage works at Withernsea. Birders tend to go to the best places! here we hoped to see snow buntings. Little birds that feed on the ground and visit our coasts during winter. We spotted a flock of about 25 but then lost them. As we walked in the direction that we had last seen them, Chris realised that they were very close to us, and did not seem to be too bothered about our presence. The birds are not easy to see in the stubble at the edge of the field, and the stubble got in the way and prevented me from getting a clear shot of the birds.

As we were now very close to Spurn we decided to go to the Blue Bell Inn car park and look for waders. On our way we stopped of at the new Beacons wetlands where we saw a small party of whooper swans, brent geese and dunlin.

Although the tide was going out and we could see plenty of waders, the light was not good enough for us to spend a long time scanning the mudflats. In search of shelduck, we decided to go to Sammys point, on the way to Blacktoft Sands. In a field near the road we saw a small flock of curlew.

At Blacktoft Sands we went to the reception hide where Mike gave us his usual friendly and informative welcome. We decided to go to the last two hides as time was getting on and it would be dark in less than two hours. We were able to add black tailed godwits and marsh harriers to our day list which gave us a total of 50 birds, the target Chris had set at 0745. A marsh harrier flew some distance away and I managed to get this picture of the bird. Not a brilliant shot but in time I hope to be to produce some good images with my new camera. thanks for another good day out Chris.