Friday, 16 June 2017

Wykeham Forest Raptor Fest,Sunday 11th June 2017.

After a good forecast today and an organised meet up with both Tim and Neil,the raptor viewpoint in the fantastic Wykeham Forest,was my destination for the day.
 After a nice steady drive up through the Wolds,i eventually made it up through North Moor and to the raptor viewpoint car park.
 It looked like there had been a substantial down pour overnight and as i got me gear on Neil arrived.
 Neil had travelled specially to finally add Honey Buzzard to his life list,so the pressure was on a bit to try and find one for him today.
 We made our way down the track,arriving at that fantastic vista infront of the viewpoint....are there any better raptor watchpoints in the country?.
 It wasn't long before Tim arrived and then we all settled down and began to scan the forest and valley below.
 First raptors seen included a couple of Common Buzzard and then a male Kestrel and a flyover group of 4 Common Crossbill added some interest also.
 While scanning the opposite side of the valley we picked up on an interesting raptor coming in from the east and sure enough this was a Honey....at last!.
 We watched as it flew steadily along the forest edge and a resident pair of Common's flew up to see him off,followed by a Goshawk,both the latter species obviously wondering what this stranger was doing back in their territories for the summer.
 The views were quite distant,but you could see what this bird was with it's distinct long tailed profile and languid Kite like flight,what a great bird.We then lost him behind the trees and we carried on watching for any other birds of interest.
 A very welcome sighting of two Red Kite,passed below the viewpoint,with us losing the birds behind the trees.These were only my second sighting of the species here and both birds looked to be immatures,with pretty scruffy plumage,but great to see all the same.Another very welcome sighting picked up by Tim was a cracking Raven watched making its way east along the valley,this being the first one i have seen from the viewpoint and also the first i have seen in this part of Yorkshire.
 A brief displaying male Goshawk on the opposite side of the valley was another welcome sighting and the cracking Honey put in at least four more appearances before finally drifting west past the viewpoint and that was the last sighting for us of this bird.
 The bird did look like a pale male and after talking to local Honey expert John Harwood,he thinks this male is a returning bird which has been coming back here for the past ten years,that's an incredible feat for one bird travelling backwards and forwards to the wintering grounds in Africa.
 Eventually after enjoying a great mornings watching,Tim,Neil and myself went our separate ways and i look forward to my next visit to this special area for birds of prey.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

MSQ Again & Crowle Moor NNR,Saturday & Sunday,3rd/4th June 2017.

With the dragonfly season in full swing now,i visited four sites over this weekend with a great variety of wildlife,wildflowers and birds as always encountered on my travels.So on this latest post i am going to do things a little differently to the usual and just post a selection of photos of the fantastic wildlife recorded over the two days.
Volucella bombylans,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.


Cuckoo Flower,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Scaeva pyrastri,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.


Tropidia scita,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Garden Chafer,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.


Dog Rose,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Xylota segnis,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Dune Helleborine,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Meliscaeva auricollis,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR.

Common Broomrape,North Lincolnshire.

Common Broomrape,North Lincolnshire.

Common-spotted Orchid,North Lincolnshire.

Cream-spot Ladybird,Crowle Moor NNR.

Large Heath,Crowle Moor NNR.

Degeer's Longhorn Moth,Crowle Moor NNR.

Parhelophilus fruitetorum/versicolor,Crowle Moor NNR.

Sericomyia silentis,Crowle Moor NNR.

Platycheirus rosarum,Crowle Moor NNR.

Lizard Orchid,South Yorkshire.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Messingham Sand Quarries....Insect Extravaganza!....Sunday 28th May 2017.

As mentioned in my dragonfly blog,today Stu and myself were going to visit this gem of a reserve to see what we could find and hopefully get some good photos.
 We started in the first meadow and after a short while i managed to find a lifer in the form of a cracking Eyed Ladybird which was resting under a Scots Pine of course,where else.We took plenty of images of this lovely species before moving further on.
 Syrphidae or Hoverflies as they are more commonly known,are a particular fave family of insects for me and today saw us seeing a nice selection which included Volucella pelluscens,Volucella bombylans,Leucozona leucorum(All 1st records for the year),Anasimyia contracta/transfuga,Tropidia scita,Parhelophilus fruititorum/versicolor and finally 2 new species for me in the form of Helophilus hybridus & Platycheirus rosarum.I'm still a relative newcomer to this fascinating family of insects and it is great fun studying them and attempting to capture images of them.
 Walking through the second meadow our first Cinnabar Moths of the year were logged and into the Heathy Meadow more day flying moths were seen and we added Straw Dot and the beautiful Silver-ground Carpet to the days sightings.
 Another species of insect we saw in relatively large numbers were Garden Chafers,with at least a hundred seen buzzing around in the grass,this is the most i have ever seen here with their metallic green thorax glinting in the sunshine,just great to encounter.
 Butterflies had been a feature of the days sightings as well,but only a hand full of species included Brimstone,Small Tort,Large White and Speckled Wood and my first Common-Blues of the year.
 With all this activity from the world of insects,birds sort of took a back seat,until later in the day when we were treated to an aerial masterclass as a 2nd calendar year Hobby was watched taking full advantage of the abundance of flying insects,particularly Four-spot Chasers.What a great privilege to see this beautiful falcon in action twisting and turning showing its aerial prowess to full advantage as it snatched the dragonflies in its feet,rising up to pluck it apart,superb to watch.
 Today was certainly a productive visit as it always is to this gem of a reserve and i certainly look forward to the next one at the weekend in anticipation of more great discoveries.
Eyed Ladybird,My First Sighting Of The Species.


Wasp Beetle.

Helophilus hybridus,A New Species For Myself.

Parhelophilus fruitetorum/versicolor

Platycheirus rosarum,A New Species For Myself.

Tropidia scita.

Volucella pelluscens.

Anasimyia contracta/transfuga.

Downlooker Snipe Fly.

Metallina Sp.,A Very Attractive Species.

Master Of The Air....A Stunning 2nd Calendar Year Hobby.



Friday, 26 May 2017

Seabird Spectacular And Stunning Stint,Sunday 21st May 2017.

A day out together today saw Trace and myself making our annual visit to the fantastic seabird colony at Bempton Cliffs and later visiting Flamborough for some sightseeing and lunch,this is how our day unfolded.
 After making our journey north through Beverley and villages we arrived at our first destination,Bempton Cliffs RSPB.To be fair it was only 9.30 and wasn't too busy yet and we found a parking spot pretty quickly.
 The weather wasn't too bad,but it wasn't as good as it had been forecast unfortunately with periods of cloud and a cool breeze,but every visit here is great,so off we went to visit the different viewing areas.
 In the back of my mind the thought of the Black-browed Albertross from earlier in the week did appeal,but i'm not that jammy!.
 It was really great to visit again,with the fantastic sight and sounds of this seabird city and the towering cliffs providing some superb scenery.
 My favourite birds showed brilliantly as always,the Gannets and i managed some half decent images of them today and even took a few videos of them as they bill fenced and collected nesting material from the cliff tops.
 It was also nice to see a proud Razorbill parent with it's egg,something i had never seen here,as we usually visit when the birds have chicks,just great to watch.
 After spending a good 3 hours watching the stunning seabirds we made our way around to Flamborough for some well earned lunch at the excellent Headlands Restaurant.
 After enjoying our meal we went to explore Selwick's Bay and took loads of pics  of this brilliant area before ascending back up those knackering steps.
The day was finished by a mini twitch to see the reported Temminck's Stint which had taken up temporary residence on Thornwick Pools.
 This is a cracking little reserve and has certainly added another dimension to the headlands diversity of habitat.
 After bumping into local birder Andy Malley,he showed me where the Temminck's was hanging out,with distant views to start,it then flew onto the main pool and eventually right infront of the hide,giving some cracking views and allowing me to get some decent pics of this superb little wader.
 This species visits our shores on its long migration from its wintering grounds in Africa,en route to the birds breeding grounds on the Scandinavian tundra,no mean feat for a tiny wader.
 What a great end to another fantastic day out in gods own county.
Seabird City At Bempton RSPB.


Razorbill Guarding The Next Generation,Bempton Cliffs RSPB.

Kittiwake Dispute,Bempton Cliffs RSPB.

Beautiful Gannets,Bempton Cliffs RSPB.

Courting Couple,Bempton Cliffs RSPB.

A stunning Adult Gannet,Bempton Cliffs RSPB.

Fulmar,Bempton Cliffs RSPB.

Selwick's Bay,Flamborough.

Selwick's Bay,Flamborough.

Adult Temminck's Stint,Thornwick Pools,Flamborough.


Adult Temminck's Stint,Thornwick Pools,Flamborough.

Adult Temminck's Stint,Thornwick Pools,Flamborough.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Bolton Abbey & Stridd Woods.....What A Cracking Place!.......Saturday 13th May 2017.

After spending the previous night in lovely York watching the superb Tom Chaplin in concert and demolishing a hearty brekkie this morning,Trace and myself made our way over to the stunning Bolton Abbey estate on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
 The journey over saw a couple of lovely Red Kites on route,always great to see.
After paying for our entry to the estate,parking in usual fashion at Cavendish Pavilion,we got the walking boots on and we were off to explore this brilliant site.
 Before we had even reached the bridge over the Wharf,the first of at least 19 singing male Pied Flycatcher was heard and watched singing over the pavilion,what a little cracker!.
 Over the bridge and into this beautiful upland woodland with it's Sessile Oaks and pungent smell of Ramsons everywhere.
 It wasn't long before we were adding more lovely birds to the already observed Pied Fly's and this included several male Redstart and Grey Wagtail and a single male Mandarin.The latter was seen while resting in the lovely Harrison's Ford Seat,watching at close range some of the woodlands residents which included Nuthatch,Coal,Great and Blue Tits as well as Chaffinches and some brief views of the resident Wood Mice.They were all coming to take advantage of the seed put out by local residents,just brilliant to watch and great for Trace to enjoy the birds at such close range.
 Further on through this beautiful woodland we enjoyed a plethora of wildflowers which included Wood Anemone,Wood Sorrel,Bugle and of course the iconic Bluebells amongst others.There are some lovely tree species to enjoy also with Downy Birch,the afore mentioned Sessile Oaks,Wych Elm and some lovely examples of Holly that make up the canopy of this very important woodland for birds and insects alike.
 After crossing the impressive aqueduct a welcome sighting in the form of a Spotted Flycatcher became my first record of the species for the year and another singing male Redstart showed nicely in the same stand of trees.
 Further on into the woodland again and a quick stop to scan a lovely stretch of the river revealed a Common Sandpiper 'Teetering' along the shore,a Dipper feeding it's fledgling and another stunning male Redstart showed with a male Pied Flycatcher singing over head....what a brilliant place!!!.
 A prolonged spell of sunshine allowed me to look in hope for the distinctive Hoverfly Portevinia maculata in amongst the carpet of Ramsons and it wasn't long before i found 3 males sunning themselves on the leaves.This is my first sighting of the species and a great addition to the days sightings.
 Eventually we made it back to Cavendish Pavilion and enjoyed a very welcome cuppa and cake before making our way home after another brilliant visit to this gem of an area.

Carpets Of Blue Bells.



Male Mandarin In His Tree Top Home.

A Cracking Male Pied Flycatcher.


Female Mandarin Duck.

Male Mandarin Duck.


Juvenile Grey Wagtail.

Hoverfly Sp. Portevinia maculata.

Hoverfly Sp. Portevinia maculata.