Sunday, 31 August 2014

As time goes by.................

Time has gone by, six weeks of school holidays, and school starts again tomorrow. So where to go bird watching on my last day. Drive to Spurn in the hope of seeing some migrants, or go to Flamborough and do a seawatch. Spurn is a two hour drive away, and I don't have a good tripod to do a seawatch, so as I was feeling a bit lazy, I decided to stay reasonably local. The first place I visited was North Cave Wetlands. Lots of cars in the car park and a small queue at the cafĂ©. I walked past all the people eating bacon sarnies and went into the first hide. On past visits to the reserve I have commented on the noise of all the black headed gulls, today the noise was from all the greylag geese, hundreds of them on various parts of the reserve.
A few black tailed godwits were trying to feed when the lapwings were not chasing them.
From the turret hide I was able to add green sandpiper and whitethroat to my list. As I walked along to the reedbed lake I saw several flowers and butterflies.


A buzzard circled high in the sky and I could hear some birds in the hedge. Goldfinches were busy flying about feeding, some of them were young ones. Also in the same area were some young reed warblers who kept giving us brief glimpses. Trying to get a shot was difficult as the camera wanted to focus on the hawthorn berries etc.

The lilies in the nearby pond looked good and lots of dragonflies were flying about, but did not settle.
  I saw more butterflies as I walked around the rest of the reed bed lake.

A little bit further along the path I saw a great spotted woodpecker, however as I was trying to get a photograph a couple walked by and disturbed it. The reserve does seem to attract a lot of people who go for a walk, rather than watch the wildlife.

There were plenty of speckled wood butterflies along this part of the path.
Along the other edge of the lake  I saw a little grebe, with a young chick and a dragonfly on the path.

There were not many birds to be seen on the south lake or from crosslands hide. So time to move on.
A nice red admiral along the roadside as I walked back to the car. The short drive to Blacktoft Sands was uneventful, with no hold ups in Goole!
Outside the reception hide I saw this butterfly, only when I started to sort out the photos for todays blog, did I notice the white marking.
I walked to Ousefleet Hide where there were lots of lapwings, a few ruff, redshank, snipe and teal. Then the lapwings flew up and everything left. I did not see what startled them, but talking to two other birders from York later it could have been the hobby they saw.

Redshank, ruff and snipe were feeding in front of Marshland hide, but by now the bright sunshine had gone as lots of clouds were in the sky.

The water level in Townend scrape is going down fast, which means that they should be able to move in soon and re-design it.

From Singleton hide I added gadwall and shoveler to my list.
I saw three birds of prey high over the reed beds and thought that they were buzzards. I pointed them out to the other birders in the hide, and over the next few minutes they became marsh harriers and even an osprey, before everyone agreed with me that they were buzzards.
Time to go home after a good day out.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Pica on a pony!

Last Friday night of the holidays, back to school on Monday. Decided to go to Blacktoft Sands, but the closer I got the more it rained. First hide I visited was Townend where I could see snipe, redshank, ruff, teal, moorhen and pheasant. Singleton hide was my next stop where I could see mute swans, gadwall, great crested grebe, little grebe and mallards. First hide was my next stop as I made my way back towards the far end of the reserve. It had stopped raining and a magpie was sat on a fence drying out, whilst another one was sat on the back of one of the ponies.

Whilst I was in the hide other birders saw a bird of prey on the other side of the river, high in the sky. I managed to fine it in my binoculars but could not confirm it as a merlin.
Marshland was my last stop, where there were lots of mallards, a few teal and 4 ruff, one of which had a very white head.
A mallard came close to the hide as she was feeding.

The light was getting worse and the rain was getting heavier, and it might have been "water off this ducks back", but it was not good bird watching weather.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Barred warbler at South Gare

A day out with Chris and we set off north in the rain, hoping that the weather would improve so that we could do some birding, possibly at Whitburn.
The weather had improved slightly by the time we reached Saltholme so we decided to visit Dormans Pool. Our days list of 50 birds only had 4 names on it, so we needed to give it a boost, plus a curlew sandpiper had been seen there yesterday.

Our list quickly improved as we added lapwing, redshank, water rail, dunlin, little egret, grey heron and others. On the way back to the car we saw some whitethroats, but I could not get a clear view of the one I saw.

 Phil Stead hide was our next port of call. Here we added common sandpiper and a skein of 63 barnacle geese flew over.
We could not see the glossy ibis at the fire station screen, so returned to the car and continued our journey north. The weather continued to improve so we called in at Newburn Bridge, where Chris did his "party trick" and found a med.gull. The tide was out so we were unable to see any different birds for our list. As we drove, the weather improved so decided to have a drive around the headland at Hartlepool. We added little and sandwich terns to our list, as we watched them diving into the sea.
From near the gun battery we saw oystercatchers and redshank. One gull found something to eat and was mobbed by other gulls.

The decision then was where to go next. Whitburn or to South Gare, where a barred warbler had been reported.
We joined other birders looking into the "bomb hole" and after a while the bird quickly flew in to  another bramble bush. After a few minutes it flew into another bush and we had another brief glimpse of the bird. Whilst we were waiting for the bird to move again, we saw an arctic skua been chased by two little terns. After another long wait to see if the bird would fly again it started to rain, so we started out for home. On the way we called in at Coatham Marsh where we added tufted duck to our list, bringing the total to 53. I managed to get some pictures of dragonflies.

On our way back to car Chris saw a blue butterfly.