Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Bonby Carrs,Saturday 23rd January 2016.

A quick sleep after my last night shift of the week,saw me heading out locally today to Bonby Carrs to see what avian delights i could find on the local patch.
 After getting the gear together i began my walk down towards the River Ancholme.Some nice views of the resident Wigeon flock were had and numbered around 100 birds,but as on previous visits were again difficult to get an accurate count of.They were again constantly being flushed and 2 of the culprits were eventually seen,a 3rd calendar year male Marsh Harrier and a juvenile Peregrine.The latter which was probably a male,as he looked quite small when alongside the Marsh harrier.
 Other birds observed before i reached the river included a hand full of Common Buzzards and 5 lovely Roe Deer.
 After arriving at the river i spent some time watching and scanning the surrounding area seeing a further 2 Roe Deer,a nice sized flock of 33 Redshank and a further 3 Marsh Harrier(another 3rd calendar year which was different to the earlier bird) and 2 juv/female type birds and a good sized flock of about 450 Teal.The Teal where incredibly difficult to get an accurate count on as with the Wigeon,as every time i got anywhere near them they all scattered.
 I decided to walk towards Saxby Bridge to see if i could get anywhere nearer to the Teal,again without success,but i could see the Swan flock was still on the same field of Oilseed rape as they have been all winter.The 2 lovely Whooper Swans were still present,but today the Mute's had increased to 23 birds,from 15 on my last visit.
 After enjoying my time watching from my vantage point,i began the return walk back towards the car.
 A further 2 Roe Deer,different to the earlier animals,made up an impressive total of 9 animals for the day,the most i have seen down here for a while.
 As i carried on walking,2 Short-eared Owl hunted the usual set aside and dykes between Bonby and Worlaby Carrs and overhead the Peregrine from earlier zoomed off towards Saxby chasing an unseen target.
 As i neared the car several nice sightings included the usual Barn Owl from the village hunting the pasture fields,one of the earlier young male Marsh Harriers hunting the same area as the Short-eared Owls and the most significant sighting of the day,32 Corn Bunting feeding in a wet stubble field near the Soak Drain.
 The Corn Buntings were the first i had seen down here for quite a while and were feeding in the same field as a mixed flock of 25 Yellowhammer,50 Fieldfare and smaller numbers of Starlings.It was really great to see this declining Farmland bird,thankfully still in the local area.
 Another great visit today to this cracking area.
The 2 Whooper Swans,along with part of the Mute Swan flock,Appleby Carrs.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The Old Patch....Saturday 16th January 2016.

With her indoors catching up with her sleep after another night shift,i had the best part of a full day to myself and decided to visit part of my old local patch at East Halton Skitter and walk up to Goxhill Haven.The following is what i recorded during my visit to this superb area.
 After getting plenty of clothing on due to the frosty start,i began by looking over the haven and pools at the Skitter,seeing at least 1 Water Pipit in flight on a couple of occasions and the first of 3 Short-eared Owls hunting the saltmarsh here.
 Further along the local wader flocks were very jumpy and after a short while the culprits were seen,a juvenile Peregrine and 2 young male Marsh Harriers obviously on the hunt for their first meals of the day.The Peregrine put on a fine show,dive bombing and chasing several targets,which included the Marsh Harriers.One of the birds had,had his fair share of this abuse and headed northeast over the river and into Yorkshire.
 A little further along the river bank i heard that distinctive 'Wink wink' of an approaching Pink-footed Goose flock and sure enough a good sized flock of about 600 birds flew from the direction of Goxhill Haven,over my head and over the Humber in the same direction as the male Marsh Harrier had taken,a great sight and sound to see.
 I eventually made it around to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust reserve,Dawson City near Goxhill Haven,a place in which i had spent many an hour as an up and coming birder in my teens and had seen such goodies as my first ever Red Kite on the 31st March 1988,when they were proper rarities!.
 Today's visit though was a much quieter affair,but i spent some time watching the humber from here and logged a few niceties in the form of 4 Goosander(3 drakes and 1 hen),148 Goldeneye and a single drake Pintail.The Goosanders put on a great show,chasing and displaying,the males vying for the attention of the female,great behaviour to watch.
 As earlier i could hear that 'Wink wink' call again and the Pinks that had passed over me earlier were on their way back,thankfully they chose to land in a flooded grass field not far from where i was stood.A quick scan through them revealed an adult and juvenile White-fronted Goose which were of the Eurasian race and a decent count of 521 Pink feet.It was nice to see these birds feeding and being fairly relaxed as they are pretty jumpy at the best of times.
 As i walked back towards East Halton Skitter,i was joined by fellow birding buddy Charlie Adland and after a good chat we went our separate ways.While chatting another 265 Pink-footed Geese flew overhead to join the flock i had just been watching,so 786 birds was a pretty impressive total for down here indeed.
 As i neared the Skitter,a handfull of other sightings included a single Little Egret fishing in the haven pools,3 SEO again hunting the saltmarsh,2 west bound Black-tailed Godwits and more sightings of the marauding juvenile Peregrine.
 What a great visit today and it was really nice to visit the old patch again after all these years,one of which i will be repeating now.
One of the Short-eared Owl's,never close enough sadly.

Looking towards Immingham Dock and Grimsby.

Dawson City LWTR.

Dawson City LWTR.

Record shot of the Goosander's.

Distant record shot of part of the Pink flock and you can just make out the White-fronts also.

Goxhill Marsh.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Manton Warren And MSQ....A Dull Day.

I had planned today to travel further afield,but due to the crap weather conditions and forecast for the day i decided to stay local.
 I began my trip out today by walking up to Manton Warren and around the fields to the back of Messingham reserve to look onto the sheep fields.
 After getting a few layers on i began my walk and after passing the ruins of the old farmhouse a good sized flock of Yellowhammer were encountered along a hawthorn hedgerow beside some pheasant cover.After passing by an excellent total of 47 birds in this flock were counted and later a further flock of 14 were seen,impressive stuff for this declining farmland bird.
 Other birds observed around this area included 3 lovely Common Buzzard,a single Willow Tit with a flock of 6 Long-tailed Tit and 2 Lesser Redpoll.
 On the return walk back to the car,the best bird of the morning and a nice unseasonal surprise was seen,a Chiffchaff.It was first heard giving that distinct 'Hweet' call and i eventually managed to locate the little beauty.This species used to winter solely in Africa,but due to the warming of the climate it has began to be more commonly seen in the winter months,great to see all the same.
 I eventually made my way back to the car and then travelled the short distance over to Messingham reserve.
 Before leaving the car it was great to see a pair of Willow Tit and a Great-spotted Woodpecker visiting the reserve feeders,a nice start to the visit.
 I walked my way through the reserve,before i heard that distinct 'Pu Pu Pu' call and i saw the culprit on top of a waterside willow,a lovely Green Woodpecker,another bird that is always great to see.
 After making my way around to the main lake,highlights here included 6 Goldeneye,16 Pochard,15 Cormorant and 11 Shelduck.
 The forecasted rain arrived as i was watching from my viewpoint and i hurried my way back around to the car park,seeing only a couple of Siskin overhead before making my way home as the rain got heavier.
 A decent few hours out and about,shame about the weather.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Fantastic Frampton....New Year's Eve 2015.

With a fairly good forecast on the cards today,i decided to head darn sarf and visit the RSPB reserve at Frampton Marsh.
 On the journey down to Boston,the last remnants of the overnight rain had passed over and along the way i gained some fantastic roadside views of a hunting Barn Owl at Ulceby Cross,what a beauty!.
 After arriving at the reserve car park,i got all the gear together and as on my last visit,headed over to the 360 hide first.
 It was a hive of activity looking over the scrapes from this excellent viewpoint as on my previous visit and it was great to see so many birds.There was a constant turnover of species at first,as an unseen predator was flushing the birds,but it wasn't long before one of the culprits was seen,as a stunning Merlin shot across the scrapes flushing birds in all directions.This superb falcon was seen on another 2 occasions giving some equally great views,fantastic!.
 I then moved to the hide overlooking the Reedbed Lake were highlights included 25 Ruff,2 drake Goldeneye and the 1st winter drake Scaup which has been present for a while and he gave some nice scope views in between bouts of snoozing.
 A quick visit to the car for lunch,then saw me seeing the best bird of the day so far as i left the car....a Little Stint.This unseasonal little wader was heard calling and seen in flight only as all the waders and wildfowl were flushed off the Reedbed Lake,a great sighting for the time of year and a nice surprise.
 A look over the wet grassland was impressive to say the least,with the whole area being covered in ducks,geese and waders,the best of which included at least 10 Ruff,200 plus Pink-footed and 2 Barnacle Geese.
 While scanning over the scrapes a stunning adult Peregrine was seen coming towards me and gave some cracking views as it passed overhead,what a privilege they are to see.
 For the final part of my visit,i walked a big square taking in the farm res,onto the floodbank and then back to the car park,with more great sightings of Wigeon,Lapwings,Curlew,Pink-footed and Brent Geese and also 5 distant grey geese looked like they may have been White-fronts but they were a long way off and i had left the scope in the car,buggar!.
 Scanning of the vast saltmarsh from the floodbank saw a distant Marsh Harrier hunting and another Merlin was observed on its lookout perch,patiently waiting for a prey target.
 I eventually made it back to the car as the sun began to set and reluctantly left this superb reserve and made my way back home through the Wolds after another superb visit to this gem of a reserve.
Lapwings over Reedbed Lake.

Male Ruff feeding on the main scrape.

Supreme predator,adult Peregrine over the wet grassland.

Some of the myriad of Wigeon on the reserve,an amazing sight.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese,showing well on the saltmarsh.

Even closer views of these beauties.

What a fantastic way to end the day with this superb scene.