Saturday, 21 April 2018

Spring Term Begins

This week the classes resumed after the largely cool, and grey Easter break.  It was still grey on Tuesday and windy at North Cliffe Wood.  However, at least the birds realised things had changed.  There had been a large influx of Willow Warblers, but there were much fewer Blackcaps.  It was extremely wet underfoot, probably the worse I've seen it there for a long time.  
Blackcap
Great Spotted Woodpecker nest-holes
 Primroses
 Wood Sorrell
 Record shot of Rose's lifer - Stoat
On Wednesday we moved on to the waterlogged Allerthorpe Woods.  We saw a Treecreeper near the car park in the afternoon, which was the first of this species for that particular group in 2018, and they overtook the 100 total with Cuckoo, Swallow, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff added to the list.  Deborah stayed behind and was rewarded with discovering the Treecreeper nest-building.   
 Treecreeper
 Ditto
 Willow Warbler
 Ditto
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Willow Warbler (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart

 Willow Warbler
 Record shot of an extremely pale Yellowhammer
 Red Kite
 Ditto
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Blackcap
 Ditto
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Brimstone
 Peacock
Peacock (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart
Long-eared owl pellets?
Contents of one pellet (c) 2018 Maggie Bruce

 Newt
 Tiger Beetle
Fungi (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart
 Conifers (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart

When I planned that the Thursday group would visit Swinemoor I fully expected this not to go ahead.  If the wind is above 10 mph, or if rain is forecast than Swinemoor becomes extremely uncomfortable.  On Thursday a full day of sunshine was expected and hardly any wind, so we were able to stay with Swinemoor.  The morning group encountered 42 species, although some of these were heard only.  These included: 3 Ruff, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Little Ringed Plover, House Martin, Swallow, 4+ Willow Warblers, Blackcap (h), Chiffchaff (h), Meadow Pipit, Redshank, Skylark.  later 3 Shelduck flew in.  
Chaffinch
 Pied Wagtail
 Ditto
 Magpies
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 Lapwing
 Lapwing and Crow
 Little Ringed Plover
 Beech Leaves
 Ruff
 Ditto
 Ditto
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 Whimbrel
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Rook
 Toad?
 Small Tortoiseshell
 Fresh Beech Leaves
Learning to canoe 
Blackcap in the garden
On Friday we were able to go to Blacktoft Sands as planned.  It was cooler than Thursday, but still pleasant if you escaped the biting wind.  The birds were probably more photogenic than any other day last week.  The coup was the sunbathing Cetti's Warbler, which Jane saw while everyone else was trying to spot a Blackcap.  It remained long enough for even the slowest member to gain the best view of Cetti's Warbler they've ever had.  The star bird was probably a Common Crane.  this was the first one ever seen on a Friday morning for afternoon.  It was very distant but despite the distance and the heat haze, and the unfortunately habit of disappearing when it was feeding, it is possible to just about make it out in the photos.  
Sedge Warbler
 Black-tailed Godwits
 Mating Avocets
 Ditto
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 Avocets (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Avocets (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Avocet
 Blackcap
Blackcap (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Ditto

 Cetti's Warbler
 Ditto
 Ditto

Cetti's Warbler (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
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Little Grebe
 Ditto
Little Grebe (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Lapwing (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
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Marsh Harrier
 Ditto
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Marsh Harrier (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
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 Carrying Something, which it later dropped (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
In the afternoon the Marsh Harriers were still about, although not quite as active as earlier in the day.  However one particular pair put on a good display to whoops from the crowd.
Male Marsh Harrier carrying something (c) 2018 Mike Woods
The beginning of the drop (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 The drop (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 The catch (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 The collection
 Magpie (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Oystercatcher
 Oystercatchers
Oystercatcher (c) 2018 Jane Robinson

Oystercatcher (c) 2018 Mike Woods
Tufted Duck (c) 2018 Mike Woods

 Sparrowhawk (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Buzzard (c) 2018 Mike Woods
Shelduck

Shelduck & Lapwing (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Fighting Shovelers
 Ditto
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 Ditto
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 Shoveler (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
The Shoveler fight shown from a different angle.  
Shovelers (c) 2018 Mike Woods 
 Ditto
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Mute Swan
 Attacking a White Goose
Attacking a Greylag (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Mute Swan
 Record Shot of Crane
 Crane (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
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Record Shot of Crane 
 Ditto
Then in the afternoon we had another camera trained on the Crane.
Common Crane (c) 2018 Mike Woods

 Ditto
 Ditto
  Record shot of Cuckoo

Ditto
Record shot of Cuckoo (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
Unfortunately, the Cuckoo didn't hang around for the afternoon group
Reed Bunting (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Record shot of Sedge Warbler (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Someone asked when Greylags breed.  The answer is: 
(c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Saving the Konik Pony's Blushes!