Sunday, 29 January 2017

Big Garden Bird Watch

Just in case you managed to miss the advert on the television or mentions on radio programmes, this weekend is BGBW, and it has been extended to include Monday, so you have one day left!
Alison and her team put on event in the Museum Gardens yesterday and did a splendid job despite the rain.
Thanks to Rosemary and other Friends of Rowntree Park we ran a couple of sessions on Saturday. The morning was not brilliant weather but we managed to attract 5 adults and five children.

As well as the mallards and Canada geese we also saw goldcrest, long tailed tits, blue and great tits, robin, dunnock, wren and house sparrows.
The weather was much better today and as part of Residents Weekend the Friends of York Cemetery had put on a variety of events as well as an excellent range of homemade cake!!
I put some feeders up earlier in the week so that visitors today could do their bird watch.

The cotoneaster in the feeding area was full of berries during the week but the birds have eaten most of them. Four redwing were still visiting the site to collect the berries while the blackbirds were feeding on the berries that had fallen on the ground. Goldcrests, goldfinches, long tailed tits, wren, robin blue and great tits were also to be seen along with lots of blackbirds. A sparrowhawk circled above the cemetery which kept the magpies alert.
I am watching Countryfile as I type this and it looks as if Wednesday is the day I need to try to get out and do some birding.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Smew, scaup and beardies at Blacktoft.

On duty in reception at Blacktoft today. The sun was just rising as I arrived on site.
On the other side of the entrance path deer were grazing.

The windows in the reception hide were covered in ice so I got the fire going and then had a walk round the reserve. A red head smew was still on site. During the day it spent time on First, Xerox and Marshland lagoons.
When it had caught a fish it came to the surface and then appeared to do something with the fish. Perhaps it was catching sticklebacks and needed to make sure it could manage the pikes and bones.
Wigeon, teal, mallard and lapwings were on Marshland lagoon.
Shelduck were chasing each other about.

This one was raising and lowering its head as it swam around.
Ousefleet was my next stop to check on the Konic ponies, now that I am a trained livestock checker.

Their thick coats are keeping them warm as they fed near the lagoon.
By the time I returned to the reception hide the fire was burning well and the temperature in the room had risen enough to thaw the ice on the windows. Marsh harriers were busy hunting.

After lunch I walked down to Singleton hide to see how many people were waiting for the harrier roost. On the way I called in at Townend hide and watched bearded tits feeding at the edge of the reeds, They were constantly moving as the reeds bent under their weight, so just a few "record " shots.

I then went to Singleton hide to start the roost watch. It was very slow with the just the odd pair of marsh harriers gliding over the reedbed. The temperature was just above freezing and we could see mist near the River Trent but no sign of a hen harrier or owls. A merlin sat in a bush was a nice bonus for the end of the day.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Birthday birding at North Cave.

Three score and ten today so in between the school run and a trip to the supermarket I did some birding, could I see 70 birds!
The weather forecast was not brilliant and by the time I left York it was raining.
I went via Wheldrake in the hope of picking up a few birds along the way but no birds at Bank Island or geese in the field near the priory. North Duffield Carrs was my next stop where I added whooper and mute swans to my day list. Shoveler,  wigeon and teal were also on the water with some Canada geese grazing in the distance.
It had stopped raining when I arrived at the reserve so I decided to have a walk round. The only birds at the first feeders were mallards picking up the debris. Lapwings were standing in the shallow water.
 I did not visit either the east or turret hides and just went to the second set of feeders. There was a lot of activity at the feeders as the birds would suddenly fly away. Goldfinches were feeding on the remains of the "sacrificial" crop.
 Robins, chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, willow, coal blue and great tits joined tree sparrows and dunnocks on the ground eating the seeds that had spilled from the feeders. A male brambling was also present. I found taking pictures a bit difficult as birds were constantly either joining or leaving group. Some plant stems or small sticks were also in the area and the camera wanted to focus on them plus there is a small dip in the ground so birds can disappear from view.

Further round the reserve ducks were resting on a shingle bank.
I then walked along the path and saw several blackbirds busy looking for food

Rooks were sat in a nearby tree.
There were lots of siskins in the hedge as well but they moved too quickly for me to get a photo. I had my lunch in south hide which was fairly quiet until a marsh harrier flew over.
My last stop was at crossland hide. There were lots of lapwings and a few redshank along with a single dunlin. It started to rain again so I left for home. I had 56 birds on my day list, 6 of which were ticks for my 2017 list.

Quiet day at Blacktoft

On duty in reception at Blacktoft on Sunday. It was not cold just a bit misty. Mike was taking part in the Mike Clegg Memorial Bird Race and he was just leaving as I turned up . His team had walked around the reserve and had seen 46 different birds!
Stu and I both keep lists but we could not match Mikes list even if we added them together it was such a quiet day. Small groups of ducks would fly from lagoon to lagoon but we could not see what was disturbing them.
We had a nice lot of visitors to keep us busy and some of them had cups of tea in reception and ate their packed lunches whilst enjoying the heat from the log burning stove. Whilst the number of birds did not keep us busy it was a busy day for boats going to and from Goole.
 A pair of marsh harriers came towards the hide.

A grey heron flew in and landed near the ditch between reception and first hide.
At the end of the day the marsh harrier roost did not turn out to be a spectacle, perhaps it was the lack of wind that did not entice the harriers to perform. The family of whooper swans returned to Singleton lagoon just as we closed the reserve.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Broomhill Flash & Old Moor

Volunteers thank you event today at Old Moor.On the way I popped into Broomhill Flash
There was ice on parts of the lagoon and lots of black headed gulls were stood on it.
In front of the hide I saw my first coot of the year
A common gull was on a post in front of the hide.
I then went to Old Moor and joined the rest of the group in the Lapwing room. After a cup of tea and a chat we had a guided tour of the reserve and I learned a lot about the issues facing the wardens.
These are some of the pictures I took on our walk round.

I was able to add ten new birds to my year list which brings the total to 70.