Thursday, 18 January 2018

In the Pink: 3 Days at Tophill Low

On Tuesday we had to switch to Tophill Low because extremely strong winds were forecast.  We encountered 52 species south of the D Reservoir area.  That is a record figure for this term in only 2 hours.  Birds we saw included: Glaucous Gull (lifer for all), 2 Pintail, drake Goosander, Kingfisher, Siskin, Marsh Tit, 2 Marsh Harriers, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Shoveler, Shelduck, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Curlew, Redshank, Cetti's Warbler (h), Water Rail (h), 2 Sparrowhawks chasing each other, Kestrel & Fieldfare.    
Male Siskin
 Female Siskin
 Silhouette of Marsh Harrier
 Drake Goosander
 Record shot of Pair of Pintail
 Drake Pintail
 Record shot of Glaucous Gull
Wednesday's classes were also changed to Tophill Low.  Again, the morning group saw 52 species, although extra species this time incl: a Black-tailed Godwit, Lesser Redpolls, and Golden Plovers.  The Glaucous Gull wasn't spotted until the afternoon.  It was on D reservoir again.  This time the light was better, and the photos weren't taken through glass. 
Bullfinch (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Female Bullfinch (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Great Spotted Woodpecker (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Pygmy Shrew?
 Lesser Redpoll

 Glaucous Gull - a Pinkish Gull?
We were always due to visit Tophill on Thursday.  Rather cruelly the morning group didn't manage to get anywhere near the 52 species recorded by both the Tuesday am and Wednesday am groups.  There was no sign of the pair of Pintail, a Kingfisher or Golden Plovers.  The Cetti's Warbler refused to sing, and the Water Rails were silent.  The Glaucous Gull was present for the morning group, as were the Goosander, the Black-tailed Godwit, and the Redpolls.  2 Marsh Harriers west flew past South Marsh West, and were definitely interlacting. The sunbathing dozy Roe Deer were a nice surprise, making the most of the Foxes usual bank.
Cormorant - in breeding condition 
 Mixed - including Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Shoveler, Wigeon & Teal
 Roe Deer
 Lesser Redpoll

Monday, 15 January 2018

Finding Colour in a Grey Week

Last week saw the launch of the 2018 Birding with Flowers Birdwatching classes.  Tuesday was at an urban location.  We did quite well despite the very overcast conditions.  The morning began with a singing Mistle Thrush and ended with a pair of drumming Woodpeckers.  Inbetween we tracked down the forlorn Ring-necked Parakeet and 4 drake Goosanders.  This year there were no females!  We couldn't find the Kingfisher and the drab weather put paid to the usual Goldcrests.    In all we saw 34 species, but no cameras were carried.
Last Year's Ring-necked Parakeet
Drake Goosander [archive]
On Wednesday we were due to be at Scarborough  but thew weather forecast was worse for the coast, so we detoured to North Cave Wetlands.  It was another grey morning, and drizzle was intermittent   It actually got mistier as the morning progresses.  We did manage to see 44 species   In the afternoon the weather improved slightly, and the pm group managed 47 species.  Species seen incl: Marsh Harrier, Ruff, Green Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Heron, Redwing, Song Thrush, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Snipe, Bullfinch, and Greenfinch etc. 
Heron (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart
 Goldcrest (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart
 Little Grebe (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart
Redshank (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart 
Kingfisher through the Mist (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart 
Highland Cattle (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart 
On Thursday we crossed the Humber Bridge to visit Ness End Farm.  The hide was quite busy even though it was another overcast day, but this was because a Bittern was expected.  Neither of my groups were lucky enough to see one.  I don't have an accurate figure for birds seen, but I believe the morning group had around 37 species.  We had a new recruit on Thursday morning and he insisted he enjoyed the experience. Species encountered included: Kingfisher (2+), Goldeneye (2 drakes & 3+ females), GS Woodpecker, Pochard, Redshank, Water Rail, Bearded Tit (h), 6 Little Grebe, Heron, Long-tailed Tit, Tufted Duck, Teal, & Cormorant etc
 Female Goldeneye (c) 2018 Margaret Richardson
 Mute Swan (c) 2018 Margaret Richardson
Friday morning was the mistiest day of the week.  At North Duffield we could hardly see anything from any of the hides and the walks between them only resulted in distant Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings and a Bullfinch.  In the afternoon the mist had disappeared, so we saw a very bright male Bullfinch.  However, the highlight was a male peregrine dive-bombing a bird on a semi-submerged fence.  Eventually, the dive-bombed bird tired of this and took to the wing.  It was a noticeably larger Peregrine, i.e. a female.  So far, this is the most exciting encounter of the year.  How long will this last?  We saw a couple of Buzzards from the first hide, a distant one being mobbed, plus a female-type Marsh Harrier.  Both groups went on to Bubwith bridge.  In the morning a Black Swan appeared to try and get amorous with a Mute Swan.  By the afternoon this escape had disappeared, but both groups saw Whooper Swans and more distant Pintail.  The wildfowl had largely dispersed in the afternoon, but we didn't see where they had gone, possibly the Whelkdrake area.  We had another new recruit on Friday afternoons, and she also insisted that it has been a very enjoyable afternoon. 
[mainly] Whooper Swans (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Mute and Black Swans (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Black Swan
 Black & Mute Swans (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Whooper Swans (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Whooper Swan (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Whooper Swans & a Mute Swan (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Whooper Swans (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Record shot of Pintail (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Immature Mute Swan (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Bullfinch (c) 2018 Mike Woods 
 Male Peregrine [left] about to dive-bomb female, or is this their courtship? (c) 2018 Mike Woods
Buzzard being mobbed (c) 2018 Mike Woods 
 Buzzard Taking Off (c) 2018 Mike Woods
Whooper Swans (c) 2018 Mike Woods 
 The Carrs with Whoopers (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 The Ings with Whoopers (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Mute Swans (c) 2018 Mike Woods