Monday, 29 November 2010

Nice Sunset

Very unusual sighting this morning on the way to work...4 Snipe in the middle of the road!!! My pal Nige also informed me he saw 8 Whooper Swans flying Sports Hall height over the school at dusk last Tuesday!

School finished early today due to the severe weather, so I made the most of it and went down to see the Whoopers again for the last hour. The group were in the same area as yesterday. I enjoyed watching them together with the superb sunset...

Fellow Blogger John Hague beat me to it regarding the death of Leslie Nielson. Airplane was a genius comedy spoof bulging with landmark quotes and one liners.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Packed tight!

Minus 6 here last night (well, when I got in the car). We got wrapped up and took a walk north from Bubwith bridge. We could hear the Swans and sure enough they were in the same area on the river approx' 3/4 of a mile from the road. We approached again below the flood bank and managed to obtain stunning close views of the group, quite pleased with this one for point and shoot!

Really enjoy (very) crisp, clear days like this with stunning light and tight concentrations of Wildfowl, coupled with plenty of noise. I even heard the young Whoopers calling as they came and went in family groups. It was like an avian airport!

Also saw my first drake Pintail of the winter. No raptors today however.
By midday the snow had arrived so we hit the garden centre (Langlands) for lunch. I intended to have the last hour at Duff but the snow just got heavier, so it was back home for the Footy.

Forcast horrendous for tonight and the next few days...don't forget to feed the birds Chaps!

My mate from work has become a follower...Welcome Nige!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Northern Harrier

I was thinking of having a peek at the putative "Northern Harrier" tomorrow but the dodgy forcast and major
uncertainty over it's identity means, for the moment I will be staying local...

Glorious morning down the Carrs

Wanted to make the most of the morning at the start of my winter local birding but struggled to rise after a tough week so it was 9ish when I stumbled out of the car. Inspiration was instantaneous with the sun out and a sprinkling of lots of birds!!

Great start with a Marsh Harrier cruising high first November record!! Sign of the times?

Walked up the east bank from Bubwith. I could see a group of Whoopers on the river but didn't want to disturb them so I walked below the flood bank. When I thought I was about level, I scrambled up the bank (much to the amusement of a couple walking their dogs!) and fired off a few shots.

Unfortunately they spotted me and flew up river

Other highlights were 2 Peregrines, c30 Snipe plus decent numbers of Wigeon (c500) and Teal (c300) and 100's of Greylag and Canada Geese...noise and numbers = atmosphere! Finished off back at Geoff Smith hide as more Whoopers dropped in on the river. At least 50 present when I left...great stuff!

Friday, 26 November 2010

EWF - Boogie Wonderland!

My fellow Bloggers post their favourite tracks now and again, and why not! I won't do too many...promise, after all it's about the birds right.
THIS is one of the best!!!

Great news for the Spurn Area!

Habitat improvements!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A sight for bleary eyes!

In these cold, dark, short days we need uplifting, inspirational sights...especially of birds! Took the lad down Duff 7ish to do his duty. I could immediately here Whoopers whooping. A quick scan of the river revealed 35 magnificent birds...superb. I reckon they're new arrivals...just a hunch?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Site loyalty - Escapes?

Never ceases to amaze me how birds return to the same place from year to year. Waxwings have re-appeared in Fulford, York. Hope to take a peep soon (not easy with ever shortening daylight).

I see the ringed Serin on the Out Skerries has opened up the "escape" debate again. No debate about the fact that it re-affirms that escaped birds can reach the extremities of Britain. Caution recommended, but very difficult/impossible to be sure. Do we (subconsciously) automatically assume that if a bird turns up at a "glamour spot" it is wild? Interesting though. The law of probabilities must finally apply here...leave it to the BBRC...even if you don't agree!! Even the House Finch debate has re-ignited!!!

Richard Millington reckons the Blakeney "empid" is an Alder and Birding World are apparently pro' House Finch. Looking good for a couple of British ticks?

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Wolds 2

Re-visited Nunburnholme and had better luck with the Red Kites, seeing at least 6. Two reliable sources have informed me that 40+ have been coming into roost! For those who haven't been to this site before, a good viewpoint is 400m from the start of the Warter rd, there's an obvious pull in with a fine view over the valley. Moved onto Warter, but no raptors here. Final stop again at Millington pastures but quiet here (and cold) just a single Common Buzzard in an hour.

Garden birds?!...not in the Wolds

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Nunburnholme and Millington

Weather turned out fine for our jaunt to the Wolds. As we got out of the car at Nunburnholme (at the start of the Warter rd) 8 Whooper Swans flew east up the valley. We took Rock' a walk and I picked out a Red Kite perched in a tree near the road. We then continued along the Warter road. In Warter we then took the minor road NW just west of the village (not the Huggate rd) and almost immediately we had another Red Kite and 3 Buzzards by the farm (no RLB, unfortunately!). Great scenery, smart birds...great start to the birthday weekend.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ah! It's the weekend

Yours truly's birthday tomorrow! So it's a free run. Plan formulated...Millington pastures in the morning, maybe a RLB? Arsenal v Spurs followed by Farsley Celtic v Tad in the afternoon (jnr now has 11 goals, not bad from midfield), surprise venue for birthday meal in the evening. Local birding Sunday with possibly a visit to Burniston (amazing third record for this site!!!). Just thought you'd like to know!?

Just received confirmation from John Hewitt that I'm "next up" for the profile in Yorkshire Birding. Honoured to have been asked!

I see LGRE is still dividing opinion on Birdforum, particularly regarding the Squacco Heron. It's heating up by the minute...unfortunately. It appears his return to the Forum has re-ignited the for and against scenario!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

"My" Swans are back!

Whoopers have been around the valley for a few weeks now in small numbers, but they've stayed almost exclusively at the north end of the valley. So it was pleasing to read of a group of 38 returning to NDC today...hopefully more to come?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

No show

It was a bit fresh!
Reached Sleddale around 11 after a coffee in Stokesley. Tried the road north, then worked between Kildale and Commondale till 3.15. No sign of any RLB's. Around 2.30 though we scored when I picked up a female Hen Harrier moving low north up the valley! Coupled with the Raven sighting of last week this made an excellent double of quality bird sightings...even though I say so myself! Just good to be out in the fresh air...

Somone else had a great time!

Never seen as many!

Pager says bird still there? Maybe we were in the wrong place!!!

Update - We were in exactly the right place but no RLB's for us and we didn't see any other birders?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Things quietening down?

Spent a couple of hours on Skipwith with Haydn this morning, it was noticeably quiet. Superb weather with excellent views of both Green (2) and Great Spotted Woodpeckers (3). Also had a distant flock of Geese that turned out to be Greylag, plus another large distant mass of Golden Plover (c500). Brief visit to Duff produced a couple of Buzzards.

North Yorkshire Moors tomorrow in search of RLB's...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Yes...we have!

The confirmed sighting of AMERICAN ROBIN in Devon got me thinking (dangerous!). Is it still a MEGA? My mates Haydn and Tony Dixon think so...and so do I. I realize there have been a few fairly recent records and most birders now have it on there list, but there have only been 24 previous records and it is a special bird?
Consider...Grey-cheeked Thrush (not a MEGA) - plenty in the eighties (de-valued?), dried up after 91 (desirable again?). Scilly 2002 bird twitched by big listers!
Gyr? - plenty of records but difficult to twitch
Probably depends how old you are!! Just putting it out there...

What's in a MEGA?
  • Purely number of records
  • When the birds occured
  • Where the birds occured
  • Species
  • ..................?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Have we got another?

Always Special

Nice group of Fieldfares down at Duff tonight. Had to be at least 300, couldn't turn one into a Redwing!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Waxwing Winter

A bird in the hand...

Courtesy of Tommy Hyndman

Monday, 8 November 2010

Rush Bird 3 - White's Thrush

Now the dark nights are here I thought I'd reminisce with a few more of my Rush Birds. All can be found under Labels...

3. WHITE'S THRUSH (Easington, Yorks) - 10/10/2004
I'd decided to go to Flamborough (can't remember why!), maybe to seawatch, which is even more disturbing as I'm not a big fan. Maybe it was a feeble late attempt for my Yorks Cory's? Anyway I'd only been there a few minutes when the pager showed WHITE'S THRUSH!!! My eyes were initially fixed on the bird rather than the location and subconsciously I was thinking Scotland. Then it sunk in...Easington, Yorkshire! It's not a great road from Brid' but let's just say I made good time! All the time I was driving I was still trying to come to terms with an almost mythical bird turning up on my doorstep.
The crowd was gathering as I arrived and the atmosphere was typically tense. Birders were arriving by the minute and were strung out across the target area. The local lads had organised a periodic flush and eventually a time was agreed. There was some furtive activity in the bushes...then...there it was flying across the field in full view...MAGIC! In the next couple of hours I had further brief but quality views of this superb bird. The fact that it was in Yorkshire made it even sweeter. Never dreamt I'd see one in my county. Felt (genuinely) for Rich Willison and Gary Dayes who were on Scilly!
So, there it is. Another red letter day and a further example of the amazing unpredictability of Birding.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Shrike 2!

We decided to drive over to Sheffield to try for "the Shrike". Took forever to work our way through the city, due to the navigator (yours truly) missing a junction and the Meadowhall Christmas traffic. By the time we reached the area we were hungry so we hit the Strines Inn in Goshawk country (thoroughly recommended). After lunch we returned to Blaka Hill and spent till dusk waiting in vain for the bird to appear. The afternoon was livened up by the distant calls and then appearance around 3.15 of a pair of Ravens flying south, returning west at 3.30...always noteworthy in Yorks.

The Isabelline has now become a BROWN!!! Late Sunday MEGA sighting always a dilemma (if you've got work on Monday), glad I saw the '08 bird.

Gutted (genuinely) for the lads returning from Cornwall tonight...a tough one to take...Bonfire Night?
Just proves my 3 golden (obvious) rules of twitching :-
  • Get there ASAP
  • Get there ASAP
  • Get there ASAP

Waxwing winter well under way. Many great photos but not many better than these. How about something different?

Interesting Harrier in Norfolk?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

American Wigeon in Wheldrake

Alright, very predictable title! Made the trudge down to Swantail hide on a glorious morning to try for the Duck, or rather Drake! Quite a few down there including Russell Slack (hadn't seen him for quite a while) who informed me the bird wasn't showing. After a chat I trundled on down to Swantail and set up shop. I was joined by a couple of fellow searchers and in no time at all the chap to my right found it! We all enjoyed crystal clear sunshine views...thanks pal. Guess I went down at the right time...there are quite a few Wigeon present!

The fall out from the Twitching programme continues. Time to move on I feel, enjoy the birds and make your own decisions.

Shrike or RLB's tomorrow...not decided yet.

No comments, but getting a healthy number of hits. Thanks to all taking the trouble...

Late result - Just seen this...great news for Sea Eagles

Extra time - Reservoir Cats Interview

Friday, 5 November 2010


Well that's the week over. Forecast looks OK. I'll be out locally this weekend. Numbers should be building up nicely now. Probably have a look at the American Wigeon. Whoopers could be back at NDC, who knows maybe even a Waxwing?

Might be a bit crowded in the Walmsley hide tomorrow, lets hope it remains calm!

I see a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO did make it but as usual didn't last long...just wrong location. There's still hope, but not this year!

Twitching programme thread on Birdforum...entertaining stuff

Escape...but what a beauty

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Heavy week

Watched the twitchers special on Monday, found it disappointing and frankly quite sad! That might sound hypocritical but severely extreme for me. Where do they get the dosh and time from?

I see the Scilly hawk has been laid to rest...interesting bird though...

Seems there's been some fun in the hide at the Walmsley Sanctuary. Maybe it wasn't showing that well but then again!

Lots of hassle at work at the moment, so looking forward to the weekend and some quality Birding in the LDV...