Monday, 31 August 2015

Spurn Again....Where Else!....Sunday 30th August 2015.

With a half promising looking forecast on the cards,i decided to head for my favourite birding destination again today.
 I decided to start the day by walking down to Corner Field first to look for the previous days juvenile Red-backed Shrike.Within ten minutes it was found hunting for insects on the far side of the field,a nice start and the first one i have seen this year.Also in this area were singles of Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Siskin flew over head.
 Walking down the road towards the Warren revealed at least 7 Whinchat and a single Wheatear in the fields and a Merlin bombed along Kilnsea cliff towards the Warren chasing an unseen target.
 A brief bit of seawatching after meeting up with Tim,saw a distant Black-throated Diver heading north and after carrying on my walk,a juv Pied Flycatcher showed nicely around the Warren bushes and a Grey Wagtail flew south overhead.
 After meeting up with John we walked the Triangle seeing singles of Green Sand and Greenshank around the Canal Scrape,with small numbers of migrants including Willow Warblers and more views of the earlier Whinchats.
 After meeting up with Daz,we all chatted as we watched the juv Red-backed Shrike again and shortly after all hell broke loose as a claim of Red-footed Falcon flying north along Sandy Beaches,saw Daz and myself quickly disappearing up Beacon Lane on the hunt for it.At the top of Beacon Lane all we found was a pretty confiding Merlin,possibly the bird from the morning and 3 Kestrel.
 Daz and myself carried on,covering Holderness Field,Kilnsea Wetlands and back to the Crown etc. seeing 0 Red-footed Falcons unfortunately,but a juv type Peregrine and juvenile Little-ringed Plover were added to the days sightings.
 A very welcome cuppa with John and Tim in the Blue Bell cafe,then saw Tim heading back to the sea watching hut and John heading home.
 As people started to filter away i gave the Shrike another visit and i watched it at much closer range as it hunted insects,catching several bumble bees and giving some stunning views,unfortunately in the rain that had started to fall.
 After watching this little beauty,i made my way back to the car and headed back home  after another great day out at Yorkshire's finest birding destination.
Kestrel,Clubley's Field.

A typical view of the juvenile Red-backed Shrike earlier in the day.

Merlin,Beacon Lane.

Kestrel on the Listening Dish.

Cracking views of the juvenile Red-backed Shrike later in the day.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Passage Wader's Etc,Messingham Sand Quarries,Sunday 23rd August 2015.

Today i had planned to visit the Dragon patch at Messingham to monitor numbers of the later occurring species of Dragonfly,but also managed some nice bird and insect sightings to add to the notebook.
 Due to low water levels on the main lake area on the reserve,it is in really good nick for passage waders and wildfowl at the moment and numbers and species today included singles of Greenshank,Ruff and Common Sandpiper,with 4 Green Sandpipers and a nice flock of 10 Little Egret all observed feeding and loafing around the area.
 It was really nice to see such a good selection of wading birds and there were also a hand full of Common Snipe seen feeding along the reed edge.
 Wildfowl were also well represented with Shoveler,Teal and Gadwall all in good numbers along with the usual Greylag flock.At least 10 Cormorant completed the water bird set,as they fished and dried their wings on the many perches available to these prehistoric looking birds.
 Other birds encountered included a couple of Siskins in the plantation and a roving tit flock also in the plantation.
 Insects observed around the reserve today,included some good numbers of Butterflies,with Peacock,Red Admiral,Small Tortoiseshell,Small White,Gatekeeper and some lovely Brimstones being seen,the latter showing really nicely as they were watched nectaring on the abundant Purple Loosestrife.
 After another great 4 hour visit,i made my way home back to Barnetby,with another memory card full of images.
Red Admiral,showing that stunningly patterned underwing.

Female Brimstone,nectaring on Purple Loosestrife.

Juvenile Greenshank,feeding around the bottom islands on the reserve.

6 of the 10 Little Egret present today.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Stunning Spurn!...16th And 22nd August 2015.

After visiting this cracking site this and last weekend and not having time to blog on last weeks visit due to work,i thought i would write a post summarising the two visits.

16th August 2015

After the usual scenario of good birds being found mid-week,i finally managed to get myself out after a week of 12hr nightshifts hoping that a few of the 'Goodies' would still be present.
 I carried out my usual routine of covering Beacon Lane,Beacon Ponds,The Wetlands,The Triangle and Clubley's and had a pretty frustrating day to be fair with the star birds being pains in the proverbial to see.I did however manage to see one of the Barred Warblers present and a Wood Warbler with a supporting cast of a confiding juv Pied Flycatcher,Juv Marsh Harrier and a Little Stint.
 Insects also played a good part of the visit,with stonking views of ovipositing female Emperor's on Clubley's Scrape.

22nd August 2015.

Today an organised meet up with Tim saw us covering all the good areas which included Beacon Lane,Beacon Ponds,Kilnsea Wetlands,Church Field,The Triangle etc etc. and to be fair it was a superb day even though i didn't see any Barred Warblers or the brief Juvenile Red-backed Shrike.
 A good selection of birds included 2 Short-eared Owls watched hunting the fields at Long Bank,with the wetlands providing us with a cracking Juv. Med Gull,Juvenile Spoonbill,Ruff and Greenshank.Beacon Ponds held a nice adult Black Tern in amongst the roosting Common Terns.The Triangle area saw a Juv. Common Buzzard u turning and at least 9 Whinchat flycatching from the many fence posts and the humber had the amazing spectacle of thousands of waders.
 Non bird highlights included a super confiding buck Roe Deer at the wetlands along with the usual suspects,Roesel's-bush Cricket and Short-winged Conehead and a handfull of Painted Ladies around the recording area and 2 Foxes on Canal Scrape first thing.

In my opinion there is no finer place to enjoy birding and wildlife watching in this country.
Juvenile Pied Flycatcher.

Female Short-winged Conehead.

Male Roesel's-bush Cricket.

Buck Roe Deer.

Juvenile Spoonbill.

Painted Lady.
Juvenile Med. Gull.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Rainbow Birds And The Beautiful Dales....Tuesday August 4th - Friday August 7th 2015.

Trace and myself had booked three nights away in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park staying near to Hawkswick Cote,only a stones throw away from Grassington and this is what we saw on our travels through this stunning area.

Day 1.
An early start saw us heading up the A1 and then across to Lower Gelt near Brampton in Cumbria to pay the breeding Bee Eaters a visit at their Quarryside nest site.
 On arrival the weather wasn't great to be fair with cloud and showers,but i did manage to see 2 male Bee-Eaters taking food into the nest,which was a real privilege to see.There are unbelievably two pairs nesting here,with an additional male helping out at each site,an occurrence which happens frequently with Bee Eaters.
 So after i had enjoyed some nice views of these 'Rainbow Birds' we then made our way towards the B&B enjoying some lovely scenery along the way.
 We then visited both Grassington and the lovely little village of Kettlewell,were a juvenile Dipper and a couple of Grey Wagtail were enjoyed on the river there,a great start to the holiday.

Day 2.
 I was up bright and early again this morning as i explored the lovely valley and scenery near to the B&B before breakfast,with the highlights going to one of my fave birds...Ravens.I managed to see at least five as they 'Cronked' their way along the nearby hillside,they are just great to see!.
 While eating breakfast we were even treated to a wildlife show,with Great-spotted Woodpecker,Nuthatches and a Short-tailed field Vole visiting the feeders.
 Today we visited several sites which included Reeth,Arkengarthdale,Tan Hill Inn and Keld,with more cracking scenery and a few nice birds thrown in too which included Spotted Flycatcher,Dipper and Grey Wagtail.Along the River Swale at Keld,we also enjoyed some stunning views of 7 Common Hawker as they caught prey and patrolled along the river there.To end the day a hunting Barn Owl returning to its nest site was lovely to see also.

Day 3.
 After another brilliant brekkie,we had planned to spend all day at Malham and we walked and visited Janet's Foss,Gordale Scar,Malham Tarn and Malham Cove.The scenery around here was just amazing and the wildlife was pretty good too,with more nice sightings including 3 Raven,9 Wheatear,SpottedFlycatcher,Green Woodpecker and at least 20 Dark-green Fritillary,the latter were great to see.
 On the journey back to the B&B,a quick stop above Arnecliffe saw another 2 Raven being seen and another juvenile Wheatear.

Day 4.
 Sadly it was time to travel home,but first we visited the little village of Arnecliffe which brought to a close another lovely visit to this brilliant part of the world.
Red Grouse,Arkengarthdale.

Limestone Pavement,Malham Cove.

Ing Scar,Malham.

Dark-green Fritillary,Ing Scar.

Ing Scar,Malham.

Malham Cove.

Malham Cove.

Malham Cove.

Dales Scenery at Malham.

Littondale near Arnecliffe.

Dales scenery near Arnecliffe.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Covenham Res And Superb NNR.

Today's sojourn saw me heading to the Lincolnshire coast...a rare event these days,primarily to record Odonata and also to see what else the superb NNR at Saltfleetby/Theddlethorpe Dunes would reveal.
 On the journey to the coast i decided to drop in at Covenham res just in the off chance there might be a super tame wader or something similar.
 The best i could muster here were 9 Common Sandpiper and a single Ruff feeding around the perimeter and overhead 2 Whimbrel,3 Blackwit,Ringed Plover and 4 adult Dunlin which did a couple of circuits before heading for the coast.
 Other interest here was provided by 2 very vocal Juv. Common Buzzard and 11 Mistle Thrush.
 After making the short journey over to the coast and parking at Rimac car park i bumped into Chris and Josh and we all headed out towards the tide edge.
 The usual suspects were seen on the walk out,a hand full of Whimbrel,Sandwich and Common Terns out on the tide edge and a few flocks of mixed waders,but nothing to write home about apart from an unexpected encounter with a Bank Vole as it swam past us on the flooded saltmarsh.
 At sea some decent numbers of Common Scoter were moving up and down the coast and a single Guillemot and a few Grey Seals provided some interest.
 After spending some time scanning the beach area,i said my goodbyes to the boys and headed for the developing foreshore to start searching for insects,on route,a single Green Sand flew from the fresh marsh and juv Cuckoo flew down the dunes towards Saltfleet haven.
 As i walked this area,several goodies were seen which included several migrant hoverflies,the best of which was a new one for me,Scaeva selenetica.
 Other species of hover recorded included Scaeva pyrastri,Eupeodes corollae and masses of the common Episyrphus balteatus.
 Another notable species of diptera seen along the developing shore was the Dune Robberfly,with several individuals being seen.
 After making it back to the car and a quick change of footwear,i decided to explore the dune system and found several of the specialist species which are found here.These included Short-winged Conehead,Lesser-marsh Grasshopper,Dune Chafer and Essex Skipper,the Chafer being quite a scarce species nationally.
 As well as the profusion of insects on show,the wildflowers here are impressive also and included such niceties as Restharrow,Carline Thistle,Vipers Bugloss and Pyramidal Orchid.
 So after a good 8 hours in the field i decided to make my way home after a very enjoyable day at this superb reserve.
Juvenile Yellow Wagtail,Covenham Res.

Adult Common Sandpiper,Covenham Res.

Canada Geese,Covenham Res.

Dune Robberfly with prey,Rimac.

Dune Chafer,Rimac.

Male Lesser-marsh Grasshopper,Rimac.

Male Short-winged Conehead,Rimac.

Essex Skipper,Rimac.

Carline Thistle,Rimac.