Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Rimac Bits,Sunday 27th July 2014.

A change of scenery today and a visit to part of the huge Saltfleetby And Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR at Rimac to see what i could find from both the avian world and the world of insects.I began by getting the gear together and walking out to the developing foreshore directly out from Rimac car park.Several Whimbrel were encountered on the walk out and i love to hear their distinct whistling call,superb birds.It was high tide fortunately,so there was quite a bit of activity,with passing flocks of waders and a few terns and gulls.The first bird of note was a passing Cream crowned Marsh Harrier which eventually made it's way south over the saltmarsh,but it was too distant to age it correctly.Back to the beach and sea,the tide was dropping pretty rapidly and about 20 Sandwich Tern were fishing close inshore and occasionally returning to the beach to feed their young along with a group of 6 Common Tern.Further out 2 adult Gannet flew north and a flock of 20 Common Scoter flew south.There were quite a few flocks of Sanderling settling to feed and i attempted to get a few shots of these hyper active waders as they came closer to me.Very few Dunlin were seen and only a handful of Ringed Plover.As i walked back towards the dunes a mixed flock of Swallows,House and Sand Martins were hawking insects over the beach and occasionally landing to rest,a great sight to watch.It is amazing to think that these little birds are on an epic journey across Europe and Africa to their wintering grounds.I eventually made it back to the car,changed the foot wear and went to explore the dune system.Around this area a couple more notable sightings came from the bird world in the form of a singing male Turtle Dove and a singing male Grasshopper Warbler,the former my 4th record of the year.Insects included several species of Odonata,with Emperor,Four-spot Chaser,Ruddy and Common Darters,Common-blue and Emerald Damselflies being recorded and butterflies were well represented also with Common-blue,Brown Argus,Meadow Brown,Gatekeeper,Small and Essex Skippers being seen.An interesting sighting of 2 juvenile Smooth Newts crossing the path while i walked around the reserve,really goes to show that this species is really a terrestrial animal most of it's life,just like it's relatives Frogs and Toads.Finally it would be rude not to include the abundance of wild flowers on show at this fine reserve,from the carpets of Sea Lavender on the saltmarsh to the masses of Birds-foot Trefoil on the dunes.A good list included Sea Purslane,Marsh Samphire,Common Restharrow,Common Centaury,Viper's Bugloss and vast numbers of Marsh-sow Thistle.So after a good morning spent here i travelled the short distance over to Cleethorpes to the airshow. 
Adult Sanderling.

Adult Sanderling.


Immature male Ruddy Darter.


Friday, 25 July 2014

Yorkshire Dales 18th - 21st July 2014.

With a weekend together at last,TDR and myself booked a weekend away to this beautiful part of the world,our second visit of the year,after visiting for the Red Cyrils back in Feb.We made Hawes our base this time and travelled around this great area visiting Malham Cove,Dent,Dentdale,Sedbergh and Ribblehead Viaduct.Wildlife sightings took a bit of a back seat this time,but we did manage to see 1 adult Peregrine,a handful of Grey Wags and Spotted Fly's while visiting Malham as well as an adult Green Woodie feeding a chick there.An overhead  Red Kite at Cotterdale and a roadside Red Squirrel at Garsdale were welcome bonuses from the car while driving around this superbly stunning area.But over the two days it was the amazing scenery that took centre stage.Here are a few of the images i took while enjoying this fantastic area.
The Upper Falls,Aysgarth.




The Howgill Fells.

Riverside scenery beside the River Dee.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Blue Fulmar etc....Scarborough,Sunday 13th July 2014.

Today saw me heading north to my favourite area in the country,Scarborough, to take part in an organised pelagic trip off this stunning coast line along with 22 other assorted photographers and birders.The trip was again organised by Nick Addey with his 'Chum' assistant Micky Mcnaghten aboard the Queensferry.We planned to travel out approx 3 miles and then start baiting the area to see what would be drawn in by the foul smelling mix of fish offal and oil,popcorn and bread cakes.Not before long we were joined by the first of about 12 Fulmar coming in to check out the fast food on offer and then a cracking Blue morph bird flew in and buzzed the boat before settling on the water further away feeding in the slick.After a while it became more bolder giving point blank views,down to thirty or forty feet.It was apparent that this bird was distinctly smaller than our nominate local birds and certainly darker,particularly more so in flight.This bird has been mooted since as possibly being of the race 'Minor' which originates from the high arctic area of Baffin Island and Northern Greenland,so was a long way from home and what was it doing in the North Sea at this time of year.Other passage and local seabirds recorded included 100+ Common Scoter,2 Juvenile Puffins,a few rafts of Guillemots and Razorbills,the former with newly fledged chicks and several Gannets joining in the feeding melee around the boat.A handful of distant Manx Shearwaters also passed by north and south and 2 Common and five Sandwich Tern hugged the coastal waters.Not many sea mammals were recorded today apart from a couple of Harbour Porpoise and a Grey Seal....i WILL get that Minke one day.Another great day in this part of the world despite the dull conditions and a big thanks to the lads for organising the trip.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Messingham Insects Etc...Saturday 12.07.2014.

With her indoors sleeping after her nightshift,i decided to have a look around locally.I started by looking on the local Wolds,but sadly the fog was not very helpful to start with until it eventually began to clear.Highlights on the wolds included 2 female Roe Deer and a Fox on the edge of some cereal fields and a single Corn Bunting sang from it's perch.As the sun began to finally break through i travelled over to the Insect mecca that is Messingham Sand Quarries nature reserve to see what i could find from the wonderful world of insects.For a start,Odonata was the first family of insects to take the eye and the highlights went to my first records of Common and Ruddy Darters for the year,with 4 and 2 respectively.Other species of Anisoptera recorded included 14 Brown Hawker,1 Southern Hawker and a single Black-tailed Skimmer,with Common-blue,Azure,Blue-tailed and Emerald Damselflies representing those mini predatory members of the zygoptera family.The large family of Diptera were also well represented with some interesting species observed.Three species of Soldier Fly,the lovely metallic green Broad Centurion,Banded General and the stunning Four-banded Major entered the notebook with another family syrphidae being seen in fairly good numbers and variety.A total of at least 8 species included Eristalis tenax,Eristalis intricarius,Parhelophilus frutitorum,Helophilus pendulus,Volucella pellucens,Cheilosia illustrata,Episyrphus balteatus and finally the diminutive Eupeodes corollae.The latter species probably arriving as a migrant species to the reserve.On my walk around and with the Bramble blossom coming into flower,2 members of the Cerambycidae family of beetles saw me logging both the striking Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle and the less so impressive Red Longhorn Beetle.Ten species of Butterfly were recorded and included 3 migrant Red Admiral,Large and Small Skippers,Speckled Wood,Large and Green-veined White,Ringlet,Meadow Brown and last but not least my 'First' records of the lovely Gatekeeper for the year.Many flowers brightened the reserve today,but the highlight went to the less than colourful Dune Helleborine still keeping a toe hold on the reserve.Another great visit to this excellent little reserve. 
Soldier Fly sp. Broad Centurion.

Fan-bristled Robber Fly.

Syrphidae sp. Eristalis intricarius.

Black Snipefly.

Female Emerald Damselfly.

Common-blue Damselfly in 'Cop'.

Fox and Cubs.

Dune Helleborine.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Frampton RSPB...Sunday 06.07.2014.

Today saw me heading into deepest,darkest Lincolnshire to the superb Frampton Marsh reserve situated on the wader mecca that is the Wash,mainly to visit somewhere different for a change and in the hope of a few sneaky photos.Unfortunately in the photo stakes,the weather wasn't great,but i enjoyed some cracking birds.Bird of the day went to a showy male Turtle Dove singing near the reserve car park,a lovely sight to see and one which i haven't had the privilege of seeing locally now for two years.I really hope the fortunes of this lovely migrant Dove are turned round.Another male was seen and heard later in the day on the edge of the wet grassland.Also on the wet grassland area was the other star bird enjoying it's holidays here,a Glossy Ibis.The bird was watched at long range feeding and loafing with a Little Egret adjacent to a small pool,this being my fourth sighting of this 'Black Curlew',with birds being seen at Fairburn Ings RSPB,Donna Nook and Radipole Lake.Other wading bird highlights included 6 partially summer plumaged male Ruff,6 Greenshank,2 Whimbrel and 2 Green and 1 Common Sandpiper.It was also really nice to see some young Redshank and Avocet's,particularly the Shanks.An interesting sighting to divert me away from the usual species was an escaped female Maned Duck,not the prettiest of birds i know and originating as a wild bird in Australasia,but was something a little different.No unusual Gulls or Terns were encountered unfortunately,apart from the resident Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns,apart but a passing Sandwich Tern did pause for a rest on the scrapes.
Adult Avocet.

Juvenile Avocet.

Juvenile Black-headed Gulls.

Record shot of one of the male Turtle Doves.

Sedge Warbler,trying to hide.

Escaped,female Maned Duck.
Passerine wise the best bird was a singing male Corn Bunting watched displaying and singing his jangly song in the wet grassland and several singing male Sedge Warbler tantalised me trying to get some pics.Insect wise butterflies provided the bulk of sightings with Small Skipper,Meadow Brown,Ringlet,Small Tort and Red Admiral being recorded,but very few dragonflies,only a single Ruddy Darter.So after spending my time at this excellent reserve i made my way back north through rural Lincolnshire after enjoying another good day out.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Kettleby Landfill/Barnetby-Le-Wold....Saturday 05.07.2014.

After finishing my nightshift and getting a few hours sleep,Lee and myself headed out locally to the quarries and fishing ponds on the outskirts of the village.The main purpose was to try and see what waders were breeding on the quarry workings and also what ever interesting bits and bobs we could find.The first section was pretty uneventful with only a couple of Juvvie Whitethroat and a decent sized,mixed flock of House and Sand Martins,Swallows and Swifts feeding around the old pig farm.As we crossed over the railway crossing to the first of the ponds,we saw the pair of Great-crested Grebes and they still had one large,very noisy chick in towe,but the family gave some very nice views.Also on and around the pit were some good numbers of Odonata,with large numbers of Common-blue Damselfly in tandem and ovipositing,half a dozen Four-spot Chaser,a couple of Black-tailed Skimmer and the highlight,2 male Emperor,the latter my first records of the year.A couple of Common Buzzard mewed over the adjacent pine plantation and along the rough ground several species of butterfly were watched which included Small Skipper,Small Tortoiseshell,Large White,Red Admiral,Ringlet and Meadow Brown.On the workings themselves 1 pair of Oystercatcher were sitting and a female Gadwall with 6 fairly big young and a female Tufted Duck with 4 young were a welcome sight.More of the same was seen on the way back to the village along the hillside,apart from a distant Hobby.An enjoyable few hours out and about locally in the lovely sun today.
Great-crested Grebe.

Great-crested Grebe.

Four-spot Chaser.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Bempton Seabirds....Sunday 29th June 2014.

A free day today and with nothing much around bird wise i decided to go and give the DSLR another test on some flying subjects and where better than the fantastic seabird colony at Bempton RSPB.Crossing over the Humber i was thinking to myself i had made a big mistake with heavy rain and wind,but by the time i reached Bridlington it had stopped and there were breaks in the cloud with the sun peeping through.The first few hours were a tad cloudy,but eventually it broke into full sunshine.Due to the blustery conditions,the birds performed really well,particularly the Gannets,showing at close range,a fantastic spectacle to see.Here are some of my efforts from the day.
3rd Calendar Year Gannet.

3rd Calendar Year Gannet.

2nd Calendar Year Gannet.

Displaying Adult Gannets.

Adult Gannet With Nest Material.

Adult Kittiwake.


Guillemot Flyby.


Puffin Flyby.

Some Of The Stunning Clifftop Scenery.