Monday, 30 May 2016

Brockholes and Saltholme

On Friday 28th May (after a successful morning on the patch and in Filey (previous post)) the family and I set off to Bolton as we were staying with relatives for the weekend. On the 29th we went to Brockholes nature reserve. It was very busy as it was an incredibly warm day. We walked a long the Ribble river where we saw three great birds: a Kingfisher, a Goosander and (best of all) a Little gull.

On the 30th we set off to Hartlepool to pick up my gran so that she could spend the half-term holidays with us, this meant a quick visit to Saltholme. The reserve was closing soon so we only managed to visit Saltholme hide. On Back Saltholme there was a Spoonbill, but it was distant and sleeping and I had already seen a more active one in Filey just a little while ago. The hide also had feeding Avocets and Common terns. Some Great-crested grebes then drifted close. Even though the weekend wasn't predominantly a birding one, it still produced some great birds.
Little gull
Reed bunting
Common terns
Moorhens and a Coot
Distant Spoonbill
Great-crested grebe
Great-crested grebe

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Patch then Filey

This morning dad and I got up at 6:30 (would have been earlier if I hadn't had concerts the last two nights) and headed down to Hunmanby Gap. There we added 6 birds to Patchwork challenge. They were-
4 Goosanders (south)
1 Arctic tern (south)
1 Common scoter (north)
1 Red-breasted merganser (north)
1 Rock pipit
2 Shelduck (flew inland off a field)
Leaving me on 96 species and 115 points.

Also present was a Red-throated diver though this was not an addition as we had seen them in winter.

We then went to Filey as a Red-backed shrike had just turned up at the tip. We looked where it had been see but didn't see it. We then saw it at the other side of the field to where it was meant to be. A distant female but still a good bird.
Red-throated diver
Red-breasted merganser 
Distant Red-backed shrike

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Rainy trip to Filey Dams

I was taking a break from revision when I saw that a Spoonbill had turned up at Filey Dams. This was great as it is only a couple of miles away. It was pouring down with rain but my dad took little persuasion. We headed over and there it was, looking rather miserable in the rain but nonetheless splendid.

Spoonbill, as are the following 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Afternoon on the North York Moors

There had been up to 10 Dotterel present on Danby Beacon (North Yorks) for a number of days so the family and I went to see them. It had been a year and five days since we had seen one there. We set off and saw 2 Merlin from the car between Scarborough and Whitby. We got to Danby Beacon and there were 5 female Dotterel feeding in front of us. Unfortunately they were slightly more distant than last time and they were annoyingly hard to photograph as there was a very strong heat haze. However they still remain my favourite wader. There were also Curlew, Red grouse and Meadow pipits present. We then drove to the ruins of an iron works at Bank Top above Rosedale where there were 5 Golden plover and lots of Red grouse and Lapwing.
2 Dotterel
Golden plover
Red grouse
Golden plover

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Tophill Low, ringing then birding

Dad and I got up at about 4am to go ringing at Tophill Low Nature reserve. On the way we were incredibly surprised to see a Long-eared owl cross the road ahead of us and continue east towards the coast. Once at Tophill we put the nets up and waited. We could hear a Cuckoo and a Cetti's warbler and a couple of Common terns flew overhead. After a little while of ringing we caught two slightly more unusual birds, two Garden warblers. We only usually catch two or three of these a year.
Garden warbler
We then went on to catch the first Sedge warbler of the year and also saw a brown-morph Cuckoo and a couple of Reed warblers. We also caught a selection of commoner birds such as two Coal tits.
Reed warbler
Sedge warbler
Coal tit
After packing away we went to Watton ponds where there was a Garganey. We then walked around the reserve. On South Marsh West there were 2 Garganey, 3 Little ringed plovers, 3 Dunlin, a Ringed plover, a Common sandpiper and an Egyptian goose (probably the bird I saw on the 1st of April). Unfortunately we didn't manage to see the Red-crested pochards and their two young.
Egyptian goose
We then walked around the north end of the reserve. Over D 'res' (reservoir) there were thousands of Swifts, Swallows, House martins and Sand martins. Also on the wall of the reservoir there were 3 Common sandpipers and 5 Yellow wagtails. We heard a Cetti's warbler in the scrub around D 'res.' Then, suddenly all of the Hirundines (Swallows and Martins) and Swifts flew in one direction in panic, a Hobby sped past. We walked around the reservoir wishing we would relocate it but it flew north. Then a little while later it happened again, this time there were two Hobbies hunting high over the reservoir, a fantastic spectacle. A very productive day with a wide range of species!
Yellow wagtail 
Mixed Hirundines and Swifts 
Pied wagtail
Willow warbler

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Bempton then Filey

This morning I got picked up by a local birder and ringer to go and ring at a Bio Blitz at Bempton Cliffs Nature reserve. We opened the nets and waited. We heard over the radio that a Short-eared owl was heading our way (north). Then, high up being mobbed by crows, we saw it flying north. We caught and ringed 11 Tree sparrows, 2 Goldfinches, 1 Wren, 1 Whitethroat and a Blackbird. Afterwards we walked to the dell and saw 2 Lesser whitethroats. We then decided to try and see the Filey (red-spotted) Bluethroat. We waited an hour and a quarter but didn't see it, we did however see a Barn owl, 3 Snipe (north) and lots Sand martins. The weather especially made the day great with hot sun and clear skies.
Short-eared owl
Short-eared owl
Lesser whitethroat
Sand martin (Starling in background) 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Evening at Flamborough

Dad had just come back from Leicester and said we could go and try and see the Hoopoe on Flamborough Head. I had already seen a Hobby on the patch that afternoon so the day was already good birdwise. On the way to Flamborough we saw a Barn Owl gracefully hunting by the road. We got towards the Old Lighthouse, an area the bird had frequented. We saw a couple of birders and headed that way. As dad was getting his bins out I saw the Hoopoe dart across the road with it's huge rounded zebra patterned wings. We looked for it and picked it up in a garden, it then flew along into the garden of an empty house. We stood and watched it from the roadside as it probed into the ground looking for worms. It occasionally raised it's crest as the gulls, which it obviously felt threatened by, flew over. This was my first British Hoopoe as I had previously only seen them abroad. These were also the best views I have had of this fantastic bird. 
(as are the following pictures)