Friday, 26 May 2017

Ringing and a bit of birding at Tophill Low

Today Dad and I went ringing at Tophill Low nature reserve. It was a steady morning with 43 birds caught (full counts here on The highlights were 7 new Sedge Warblers and 19 juvenile Blue Tits. A Cuckoo, 2 Cetti's Warblers and 6 Little Egrets (high SE) were also about. The Sand Martins are getting seemingly more interested in the Sand Martin wall so will hopefully breed soon (although there is already a Great Tit occupying one of the holes). After we packed away we went to look on South Marsh East. We weren't disappointed, when we arrived there were 5 Little Egrets, 2 Black-Tailed Godwits and a Goosander. Then after about 15 minutes a 1st winter Little Gull dropped in, being one of my favourite gulls I was obviously pretty happy with this. We then finished the afternoon with two Red-Crested Pochard on D res.
Sedge Warbler
Little Gull
Little Gull (left)
Red-Crested Pochard
Great Tit
Sand Martin (and Swallow)

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Some local weekend birding

Over the last couple of days some good birds have turned up locally. The highlights being Siberian Stonechat yesterday (6th) and Spoonbill today (7th).

On Saturday morning I was at a Geology revision session at college when I saw that a Siberian-type Stonechat had been found at South Landing, Flamborough Head. I kept watching that space and surely enough it was ID'd as a Siberian Stonechat. I was eagerly awaiting 12:30 when I was getting picked up. On the way home from college a Wood Warbler had also been found and was giving good views. With Whinchats and Yellow Wagtails turning up on the headland it really did feel like Spring. Dad agreed to drop me off because he had to go to Bridlington anyway (and wasn't bothered about seeing the chat or the warbler as he already had done in the past). On the way, at Speeton, 11 Bar-Tailed Godwits flew south (a nice surprise), there were also two Red-Legged Partridge in a nearby field. I got dropped off by the Living Seas Centre at South Landing and walked down to the entrance of the Nature Trail. There was another birder there but neither of us could see or hear the Wood Warbler. I decided to go for the Siberian Stonechat but went through the woodland in the hope of stumbling across the Wood Warbler. I came out of the woodland and found the sheep field that the Stonechat was favouring, there was a number of birders present and the bird was pretty easy to get onto, it was pretty obvious against the hedge behind it. After watching it for a few minutes I decided to walk East along the clifftop a little way to see if I could find anymore migrants. There were a lot of Sand Martins and Swallows feeding over the clifftop and drifting steadily North. Then from a nearby bush a Whinchat flew down to the ground and low across the field back towards the Siberian Stonechat. though unfortunately it was much less confiding! On the sea there were 2 Common Scoter, 2 Red-Throated Diver, 2 Common Gulls and a few Razorbills and Kittiwakes. I went back through the woodland but again had no luck with the Wood Warbler, although I wasn't too bothered as the Siberian Stonechat was cracking!

I spent Sunday morning in York and we planned to do a bit of ringing in the garden when we got back. However it was a bit too windy and it looked like it was going to rain. We got home early afternoon and I was hopelessly hoping something might fly over the house or turn up in the garden! At 15:07 news came out that 3 Spoonbills had just dropped in at Filey Dams. Dad and I decided to go for them. We were there at the Dams by about 15:15 and got onto them pretty quickly, actively feeding they had obviously been put down by the slight rain, there was also a Goosander present. Surely enough as the rain began to ease at about 15:30 they left and flew southeast. They were then picked up by birders at Flamborough and they were tracked flying across the headland to South Landing before they returned Northwest. Who knows where they'll end up!
Siberian Stonechat
Siberian Stonechat 
Siberian Stonchat
Goosander (and Canada Goose)