Sunday, 24 April 2016

Harrogate Spring Flower Show

RSPB York Local Group have a stall at the flower show and I have been here since Wednesday afternoon. Lots of red kites flying around above the showground and we had a swallow on Thursday when the weather was better.
On duty at Blacktoft Sands on Wednesday, I wonder if the montys are back?

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Little gull at Saltholme

A day out with Chris and Sheila. It was a late start as I had been to a charity ball last night and did not get to bed until 1:20 this morning, so it was 11am before we set off. Our choice was to go to the east coast and look for ring ouzels or go to Saltholme and look for a little gull. As there could be a lot of traffic going to the coast we decided to head for Saltholme. Chris set the target for the day at 50 birds.
By the time we reached Saltholme we had put 7 birds on our day list. We soon spotted the little gull due to its distinctive plumage and flight. By the time we left Saltholme for Newburn Bridge  our day list total stood at 27.
The tide was coming in which meant that the waders were close to the car park. We were able to add oystercatcher,turnstone, purple sandpiper and redshank to our list.

Chris was unable to do his party trick by finding a med. gull as there were few gulls about. Hartlepool Headland was our next stop where we added new birds to our list including great northern diver and eider.

A drive down the road to North Gare allowed us to put teal meadow pipit and skylark to our list. On our way back up the road Chris stopped to allow me to take a picture of a feeding redshank.
RSPB Saltholme was our next stop where we watched sand martins visiting their wall , whilst we had  a drink in the upstairs café.

We reached our target of 50 birds when Sheila spotted a great tit catching insects under the eaves of the café. On our walk to the wildlife watch point we saw a few "waterblobs".
Goldfinches were on the feeders at the watchpoint.
We visited the Phil Stead hide and also walked part of the way to Dormans Pool without adding to our list. However on our way home we added another 5 birds to our list including buzzard and kestrel. Another good day out thanks to Chris and Sheila.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Wednesday at the office!

This was my base yesterday whilst on reception duty at RSPB Blacktoft Sands. The views from "the office" are stunning.

Lots of visitors to the reserve love to sit and have a coffee and enjoy the view over the reedbed. One gentleman from Derbyshire was admiring the view and wondering why he had not visited the reserve before when he saw a cetti's  warbler just outside the reception hide. One had been singing on and off near the hide for quite a while but I had not managed to see it. However I did see it several minutes later as it flew across the path in front of the hide.
Visitors were having to either dodge or use their hands to swish away clouds of insects as they were very active in the warm April sunshine. Several sedge warblers were very vocal in the reed bed next to the path. My first peacock butterfly of the year landed close by.
 A dunnock was preening in the sunshine.
A chiff chaff was perched in a tree just outside reception and was singing for most of the morning.
Not a brilliant photo through glass.
A marsh harrier came close to the hide and dropped into the reeds. I was waiting for it to fly back out of the reeds but it caught me by surprise and I only managed a quick shot. It was carrying something.

I was/am unable to decide if it is nesting material or some food.
A song thrush was singing from a nearby tree top.
About 2pm the rain started and there were fewer birds about and a lot of the visitors left.
In the evening I went to York University for the premiere of a film about Madagascar I hope you enjoy the trailer.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Sunday afternoon at North Duffield Carrs and Monday at Blacktoft Sands.

I had a couple of hours free so I decided to pay a visit to North Duffield Carrs. Although I had nothing specific in mind I got a couple of surprises when I got there.
Surprise number 1.
The car park has been resurfaced, well done. The surprise number 2.

I had not expected to see so much water still on the reserve. This meant that all the birds were a long way away. There were lots of tufted ducks plus a male and 2 female scaup and a male pintail. A few curlew were busy feeding and getting closer to the hide when surprise number 3happened
Biggles flew over in his plane and frightened everything away!!
I decided to go back to the top hide from where I could see a coot on its nest and a single great crested grebe.

A great tit was inspecting a nest box.

On duty in reception at Blactoft today and the journey there took longer than usual due to two sets of roadworks. Lots of people already on the reserve enjoying the early morning sunshine. Avocets were flying up and down and chasing away marsh harriers. One marsh harrier came close to the hide.

A mute swan and  greylag goose were having a squabble.
A grey heron flew over
and then the weather changed. The wind got stronger and it started to rain. Although the swallows and sand martins kept flying by, most of the other birds settled down to ride out the cold wind. Back on duty on Wednesday so lets hope for better weather. 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Cow Greem Reservoir and Saltholme

I decided to go to Saltholme via Cow Green Reservoir. There was some rain on the way up the A1 but is was sunshine when I reached Cow Green Reservoir.

A pair of red grouse were close to the road.

 Further down the road lapwings were close to the road.

My first wheatear of the year was sat on a fencepost but he flew off before I could take a picture.
A few curlew and meadow pipits were about but I  saw very few birds.
Saltholme was my next stop. I had my lunch in the Phil Stead hide and then went down to the Fire Station screen, on the way I heard and saw my first willow warbler of the year. Not the best pictures of the year, perhaps other warblers will be less active!

Tree sparrows were taking up residence in the bird boxes.

A little egret was busy fishing at the edge of the water at Dorman's Pool.