Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Freezing Carrland.....30.12.2014.

An afternoon spare after being at work for a few hours a.m. saw me travelling the short journey over to Worlaby.
 I parked in the usual spot at the top of Carr Lane and planned to walk down to the Ancholme as i do on most visits.
 First goodie was a Merlin watched travelling at a rate of knots up over the village onto the wold top.It must have seen a prey target,but i couldn't see anything...a nice start.
Looking towards the village.

 More usual fare was seen after this and included 25 Fieldfare,52 Linnet and the first few of a total of 13 Common Buzzard seen during the visit.
 After reaching the railway crossing a mixed flock of Golden Plover and Lapwings gave some nice views in the lovely sun,the Goldies positively shining in the superb light conditions.
 I eventually arrived at the river and a nice surprise came in the form a flock of 4 Redhead Goosander as they flew rapidly west towards Brigg,the first i have seen down here for quite a while and were a welcome bonus to the days sightings.
 The return leg back towards the car saw more welcome Buzzard sightings and as the light began to go as the sun began to set,a nice flurry of sightings were noted.These included a lovely Barn Owl watched hunting along the banks of the Soak Drain and a good total of 7 Roe Deer watched browsing on the field edges nearby.These were joined by a stunning Fox watched crossing one of the fields and a single Brown Hare completed the mammal sightings for the day.
 So all in all not a bad visit,but it is a shadow of what it used to be down here sadly!.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Donna Nook Bits....Saturday 26th December 2014.

With the prospect of it always being a good winter birding destination,i decided to have a day down the coast at the excellent NNR at Donna Nook.
 I arrived nice and early just as it was beginning to get light and made my way in the direction of Pye's Hall first,walking along the developing shore out from Stonebridge car park.There were several Grey Seal pups still present and i stopped to watch 11 pups playing in a large pool and they gave the usual fantastic and confiding views.
 As i neared Pye's a few scattered flocks of Dark-bellied Brents were feeding on the shore and more flocks began to arrive from the direction of Grainthorpe.Thoughts of the Black Brant seen earlier in the week had me thinking of having a look through the flock once they had settled down and sure enough i managed to find it,albeit a bit distant through the bins,but it was a well marked individual and stuck out like a sore thumb in the flock.I got a few record shots of the bird for posterity and then carried on my walk.
 While walking along the developing shore which reaches out toward Grainthorpe marsh,2 Lapland Buntings passed overhead and a nice surprise in the form of a Woodcock flying in off the sea kept the interesting sightings ticking over nicely.Other sightings added to the notebook included 61 Goldfinch and at least 15 Reed Bunting with a minimum of 25 Rock Pipit also being observed.
 The only raptors i managed to see over this area and Grainthorpe Marsh were singles of Sparrowhawk,Kestrel and Peregrine,the Perg being seen again later.Disappointingly no Hen Harriers were seen today.
 A walk around the perimeter of the re-alignment saw a few sightings of interest which included 7 Snipe,72 Fieldfare and a probable Water Pipit seen only in flight.
 As i reached Stonebridge again a single Lap Bunt Flew south and 2 Whooper Swans also followed in the same direction.
 After spending an enjoyable visit to Donna,i decided to give Covenham a look and hopefully watch the gull roost.But as the afternoon wore on the visibility started to deteriorate as well and i gave it up as a bad job as it became slightly misty and the light was terrible.A few notable sightings here included 46 Goldeneye,5 Little Grebe,47 Wigeon,22 Shoveler,95 Teal and 2 adult Lesser black-backed Gull.
 So after a decent days birding a headed back home after another good day out.
Record shot of the Black Brant.

Grey Seal pup.

Grey Seal pup.

Grey Seal pup.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Potteric Carr.....Saturday 13th December 2014.

With nothing really about in the way of rares,apart from the continued presence of the Blyth's Pipit near Wakefield,a change of scenery and a visit to Potteric Carr near to Doncaster was the order of the day.
 It was a pretty trouble free journey along the M18 and i arrived just as the visitor centre was opening it's doors.It was pretty cold with a ground frost,so plenty of layers was the order of the day.Pack up and drink in my pockets and camera set up and off i went to explore this extensive reserve.
 While walking along one of the paths i noticed a movement,when three Roe Deer quietly appeared feeding pretty unconcernedly.I was fairly close to them,but i stayed still and watched them from a distance,when all of a sudden a Fox appeared and startled them briefly.What a great scene to enjoy,with them all disappearing into a nearby copse.
 Very little was seen along the remainder of the reserve until i reached Huxter Well Marsh apart from a few roving Tit flocks which included a single Willow Tit.
 On Huxter itself there was a decent sized group of mixed wildfowl,as this was the only open area of water on the reserve.It included several Cormorants,Mute Swans,a large flock of Greylag,Shovelers,Teal,Gadwall,Mallard and a handful of Wigeon.There were also a few Lapwing feeding on the edge of the lake and in turn this area had also attracted a single Dunlin.
 At the back of the pools the best bird up to now was sat preening,a Juv. Marsh Harrier.It spent most of the time i watched it sat preening,but it did have a few bouts of activity half heartedly hunting.
 I continued on my journey around the reserve and sat in one of the other hides overlooking Huxter when all of a sudden a Bittern appeared distantly flying towards my viewpoint before it landed again.It then flew twice more and i didn't see it again afterwards.It's always great to see these cracking herons and i was pleased with my sighting of this rare heron.
 Other sightings observed during my visit included a couple of Little Egret,two Common Buzzard and a calling Green Woodpecker was heard.
 Not a bad visit at all today and it is always nice to visit somewhere different for a change and i travelled home a happy boy.
Displaying Robin,a great piece of behaviour to observe.


Roe Deer.

Distant shot of the Bittern on Huxter Well Marsh.

Greylag Geese.

Greylag Goose.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Blyth's Pipit.....Tuesday 9th December 2014.

After hearing on Monday that West Yorkshire local patcher Jonny Holiday had found a Blyth's Pipit on his local patch at Pugney's Country Park/Calder Wetlands,it was my destination bright and early today.
 I eventually found somewhere to park alongside birding friends Tim Cowley and Steve Lawton near the Swan and Cygnet pub before getting the gear together and making our way to the birds chosen field.
 To see where this bird had been found was even more unbelievable,a smallish water logged,rough grass field,surrounded by an industrial estate and the M1 motorway making it even more of an amazing find.
 We had organised to meet up at 07.45 while the local lads walked the field,the first sweep revealing nothing,apart from half a dozen Mips and a couple of Reed Bunts,but on the second,bingo there it was!.
 Unfortunately the views were only in flight,but it was clearly a pale,large Pipit with a shorter looking tail in flight than Richard's and once you got your eye in a distinct flight action when flying alongside the Mips.Fortunately it was heard to call on a few occasions with it's diagnostic flava wagtail like 'Pscheeoo'.
 It was flushed on a few occasions for the visiting birders to observe it and then left to rest.I would have loved to have better views but it was impossible in the field and beggars can't be choosers when it is a 'First' for Yorkshire and only my second sighting overall of the species after the showy bird at Gringley Carr in Notts in December 2002.
 So after a 2 or 3 hours on site Tim and myself travelled home happy with another Yorkshire Mega in the bag.

Cleethorpes...Monday 8th December 2014.

With the prospect of a decent,albeit cold forecast today,saw me heading out fairly locally to Cleethorpes after hearing the previous day had seen a couple of Shorelarks associating with the resident Snow Bunting flock.
 So as i arrived full winter birding kit was the order of the day and i made my way out to the beach and developing shoreline were the birds had been seen.
 It wasn't too long before i spotted the birds distantly and made my way over to them,but after a couple of scans through the flock there was no sign of the Larks unfortunately.
 On the plus side,the flock was a pretty good sized one,containing 89 birds and is currently the largest flock being reported in the country.Several adult males were contained in this group of lovely Buntings but the bulk were immatures,unfortunately they were not very photogenic being very jumpy
Partial albino Carrion Crow.

Drake Pochard.

1st calendar year Common Gull.

Black-headed Gulls.

Collared Dove.
 A walk back through the dune system revealed small numbers of Skylark,Reed Buntings and a few Rock Pipits,with an interesting partial albino Carrion Crow which looked striking in flight.
 I then decided to have a look on the boating lake to see if any Med Gulls were present,but not so today,instead at least 6 Drake Pochard were the main interest and are probably the tamest birds i have seen.
 So after a fairly quiet morning i made the short journey home Larkless,but there is the remainder of the winter to go and some more may turn up.A good few hours out and about in the lovely winter sun.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Atlantic Grey's.....Sunday 30.11.2014.

It is only on a very rare occasion that i specifically travel out to just photograph a subject,but today i decided to visit the Seal colony at Donna Nook on the Lincolnshire coast.
 The forecast had been good and it wasn't that long before it was bright sunshine.The following images are some of the best i gained during my visit,enjoying as always,the close encounters with these lovely,enigmatic mammals.