Monday, 28 September 2015

Stunning Red-foot etc....Gibralter Point NNR,Saturday 26th September 2015.

After a good forecast and the welcome prospect of seeing my first ever Juvenile Red-footed Falcon,Gib Point was my destination today.
 After paying for my days parking,a quick chat with the locals revealed the bird had only just flown from one of its favoured perches.So ensued a game of cat and mouse with regards to sightings of the bird as it frequently perched out of view after catching several dragonflies.During my observations of the bird during the day,it seemed to eat Common Darters on the wing,but perched with the larger Migrant Hawkers to devour them.
 Plumage wise,i thought the bird was striking and more so than the Juv's at Spurn earlier in the month,due to this birds more advanced moult,the flight feathers contrasting with the upperparts well even at long range and it had a more distinct white head and collar when seen head on when compared to Hobby.The contrasting upperparts,diagnostic underwings and tail pattern also where good pointers when compared to Hobby also.
 At times the bird gave crippling views as it hawked dragons at close range,most of the time too close and fast for my set up,but what a bird and a real joy to watch and typically confiding as the species always is.
 Other species observed while on site included several flocks of Pink-footed Geese logged which included south bound groups of 32,45 and 25 and also 14 loafing on Tennyson's Sands with the local 'Lag' flock.Waders also seen in the same area included 2 Spotshank,3 Greenshank,50+ Black-tailed Godwit and a single Green sand.
 Assorted passerines included Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers and a handfull of Goldcrest,Chiffies and Siskins.
 Overhead a few raptors passed south and included 3 each of Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.
 A cracking day out today,with a beautiful bird to add to my experience of this enigmatic species of Falcon.

Pink-footed Geese,landing on Tennyson's Sands.

A South bound Common Buzzard.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Eastern Sprite And Black Beauty At Last!.....Sunday 13th September 2015.

Another trip to THAT peninsula in East Yorkshire again today provided myself,Tim and others with another cracking days birding and on the way home a visit to see the resident juvenile Black Stork at Sunk Island made for a memorable day out,this is how the day unfolded and what we saw.
 We began the day by parking at the Bluebell,being greeted by a juvenile Kingfisher flying around the borrow pits and then decided to walk along the road towards the Churchyard and the Crown area first.As it began to get light properly,birds began to be seen both in the bushes and overhead with Mipits,Dunnock's,Wagtails and finches steadily streaming south and a single Fieldfare called somewhere near Rose Cottage,but we never did see it,our first of the autumn.After a message over the radio we were soon gathered in Church Field to see a Grasshopper Warbler which had been trapped,being processed and released and after enjoying some privilaged views of this usually skulking species,we visited the churchyard.This was where the first goodie of the day was seen,a cracking Yellow-browed Warbler.
 The bird eventually showed nicely as it fed in the canopy of the sycamores here,but getting a decent photo was another thing with my set up.This is my earliest personal record of this stunning little siberian sprite and is no doubt the bird from the previous day.
 Also in and around the churchyard where 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker,Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler.
 A scan of the Humber from Cliffe Farm revealed a huge flock of Golden Plover and the first of at least 15 Med Gulls seen loafing,feeding and flying along the tide edge,followed by 6 Little Gull over the Humber.
 Overhead the first of 4 Grey Wag's passed by and along the shore and Triangle we added our first Whinchat's,Wheatear's and Redstarts.
 We stopped to chat with the lads at Numpties and at the time of us visiting,2500 Meadow Pipits had already flown south and 3 Grey Wag's had been trapped at the Warren.
 A brief diversion away from birds,saw us having a quick look around Clubley's Scrape for Dragons and Common-blue Damselfly,Migrant Hawker and Common Darter were added to the notebook.
 A well earned cuppa and bacon sarnie at the Bluebell cafe after being persuaded by Tim,then saw us heading up Beacon Lane covering this area,Beacon Ponds and Kilnsea Wetlands.
 More of the same was recorded in this area and included 15 Wigeon,Greenshank,several more Med.Gulls,Redstart and 3 Whinchat to add to the days notes when a message came over the radio that a juvenile Red-backed Shrike had been found at Grange Farm just as you walk into Kilnsea.The bird showed distantly and was thought it may be the bird from Corner Field as it was sporting some bling.A Spotted Flycatcher in the same area was our first of the day.
 At the Crown And Anchor,a very welcome sighting in the form of a Convolvulous Hawkmoth was seen roosting on a fencepost and gave some stunning views of this huge migrant species.It seems it is a record year for the species with at least 18 being recorded in the area so far this year.
 After enjoying some amazing views from a very confiding male Redstart near Sunnycliff Farm,we both made our way to Sunk Island to look for the Stork.
 On arrival the Stork was nowhere to be seen,but after a chat with the local landowner he very kindly let us walk down the side of the dyke it has been feeding in so we could see the if the bird was at the rear of the farm nearby.
 As we approached,there it was stood preening on the edge of the farm giving some nice views to about ten of us,before for no apparent reason it flew up and landed in his or her favourite dyke to feed.We then watched from a safe distance as it fed in the dyke catching what looked like several frogs.This bird is sporting a Darvic ring and was ringed as a chick in France,amazingly one of its siblings has been residing in Scotland sporting the same type darvic ring an amazing occurrance.
 What a great way to end a cracking days birding with a quality bird and we travelled home contented after another superb day out in the home county.
Grasshopper Warbler,Church Field.

There is a Yellow-browed Warbler in there honest!.

Little Egret,Kilnsea Cliff.

Whinchat,The Triangle.

Convolvulous Hawkmoth,Crown And Anchor.

Male Redstart,Sunnycliff Farm.

Male Redstart,Sunnycliff Farm.

Juvenile Black Stork,Sunk Island.

Juvenile Black Stork,Sunk Island.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Miller's Dale To Bakewell,The Monsal Trail,Sunday 6th September 2015.

With another free day together today,Trace and myself planned to walk the Monsal Trail from Miller's Dale to Bakewell and back in the beautiful Derbyshire White Peak.
 The walk is along an old railway line which was a link from Manchester to London and was closed in 1968 and was taken over by the Peak District National Park who have done a grand job in making the paths and tunnels publicly accessible.It passes through and follows the valley of the River Wye and certainly is a stunning area.
 We followed the pathway over the top of two of the tunnels,Cressbrook and Litton and enjoyed some amazing views of the valley below and limestone grassland and scenery.
 Bird,wildlife and flora sightings included a pair of Ravens,a handfull of Siskin,a Southern and Migrant Hawker and several species of Butterfly which included Meadow Brown,Wall,Speckled Wood,Comma and Green-veined White and some lovely flowers which included a new species for myself Grass Of Parnassus and other niceties in the form of Dwarf Thistle,Devils-bit Scabious,Eyebright,Tormentil and Wild Marjoram.
 After completing a blister popping 17.5 miles,we eventually returned to the car park at Miller's Dale slightly weary and travelled home after a very enjoyable visit to this superb area,one of which we will certainly be returning to.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Spurn Migfest And Seawatch,Saturday 5th September 2015.

With the prospect of another good days birding on the cards and my name down as a stand by volunteer at the Mig Fest,today saw me heading out at first light for my favourite destination Spurn.
 After parking at Canal Scrape and then making my way to the seawatch shelter in a blustery North/North West wind,i settled down with Tim,Ian Smith and others to watch the sea.
 As always with seawatching,it is the exciting anticipation of an oceanic waif passing by and today certainly was no exception with several species being seen,the best of which was a Cory's Shearwater!.
 The bird when first picked up flying in from the south was keeping low and hugging the waves and passed by at relatively close range,giving some nice views of this 'Large Shear' as it made it's way steadily north.This is my first sighting of the species for a few years and was a very welcome sighting for myself,Tim,Ian and visiting birders taking part in the Mig fest.
 Other highlights seen during the watch included 3 Long-tailed Skua,3 Pom's and good numbers of Arctic Skua,Sooty Shearwater and Gannets,with smaller numbers of Manx Shearwaters,Kittiwakes,Auks and also 4 Black Tern which flew south.
 The Sooty Shears are a personal fave species and today they gave some nice views,with some of the individuals passing by fairly closely,with that silvery underwing pattern showing well and typically powerfull flight,just superb!.
 A brief break from seawatching around lunch time saw me seeing a few land based migrants which included 3 Pied Flycatcher,2 Spotted Flycatcher,several Willow W,Chiffies and Lesser Throats and again as on my last visit,the semi-resident Juvenile Red-backed Shrike showing well again in Corner field.
 I keep saying the same statement over and over again,but where else can compare to this superb site,with a class team of birders and some amazing birding and wildlife watching to boot i will keep visiting over and over again.
Spotted Flycatcher,Cliffe Farm,Kilnsea.

Spotted Flycatcher,Cliffe Farm,Kilnsea.

Spotted Flycatcher,Cliffe Farm,Kilnsea.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Pennines...Thursday 3rd September and Friday 4th September 2015.

Trace and myself had planned to visit Holmfirth in the heart of the Pennines on Thursday to see one of our fave bands,Embrace in concert and while over in this part of the world visited both Dove Stone Reservoir RSPB reserve in the Peak District National Park on Thursday and then on Friday visited Hardcastle Crags NT. in Upper Calderdale.The following is what we saw while visiting these lovely areas.

Thursday 3rd September.
 While driving around this picturesque area we came across by chance,Dove Stone Reservoir RSPB an area i had never visited before,which is situated on the edge of Saddleworth Moor.We decided to walk the full circle around the reservoir and never came across anything out of the unusual,but enjoyed the walk all the same.

Friday 4th September.
After a leaving our B&B at Holmfirth we travelled over to the lovely National Trust Woodland and upper riverine habitat of Hardcastle Crags near to Hebdon Bridge in Upper Calderdale.
 A few avian niceities,albeit expected,included Dipper,Grey Wagtails,Nuthatches and overhead 2 Ravens passed over 'Cronking' as they passed by.
 Insects were also apparent on our walk and included a single Common Hawker and 3 Southern Hawkers along the river,two species of Hoverfly were noted including Leucozona glaucia and Volucella pelluscens and one of the specialities of this area,Hairy Wood Ant gave some stunning views.
 The latter species were watched as two individuals had caught a Red-legged Shieldbug and i managed to obtain some record shots of this interesting piece of behaviour.

So with a couple of days away in this nice area we travelled back home to North Lincolnshire ready for our next adventure.
Dove Stone RSPB Reserve.

Lovely views around Dove Stone RSPB reserve.

The River Calder,Hardcastle Crags.

Hoverfly sp. Sericomyia silentis,Hardcastle Crags.

Hoverfly Sp. Leucozona glaucia,Hardcastle Crags.

Hairy Wood Ants with prey(Red-legged Shieldbug),Hardcastle Crags.

Hairy Wood Ants with prey(Red-legged Shieldbug),Hardcastle Crags.