Thursday 22 February 2024

Barney

Twin Car issues at the moment...young and old. No prizes for guessing who's got the old one! This meant an early start to Hull for both of us. As I opened the bedroom curtains I was delighted to see (once I'd focussed) a beautiful Barn Owl quartering the meadow opposite. One of the most ubiquitous Species in the World and definitely one of the most stunning. That's why I chose to Sponsor it for the Spurn Book. What a privilege, especially following on from the Red Kite. The Weather may be horrendous BUT quality Bird sightings always lift the Spirits...

7.09 through the Bedroom window

I was hoping to head for Duff tomorrow on the strength of an excellent forecast. Unfortunately it's bad news regarding the flying wedge, which will need major surgery. Not ideal just before the Holiday. So Birding for the foreseeable will be on foot...not sure how far that will take me. My Hip will let me know I'm sure...

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Garden Tick!

Yesterday's visit to Duff consisted of a couple of hours in the hut...not this one...

Garganey Hide

You know my thoughts on location. 

Plenty of aerial action with huge numbers of Lapwings spiralling over the flood making a fabulous spectacle. Limited action IN the water with a couple of Little Grebes still close to the Hide. I checked the Wigeon but nothing from the New World.

I'd borrowed the good lady's ve-hi-cle (as they say in Texas) and had to pick her up in Hull at 3, so I had 30 minutes by Bubwith Bridge searching for said Wigeon. I wasn't 100% sure of the location of yesterday's sighting, so I rang Elaine and she kindly came down to show me. No sign unfortunately. I finished off on the East side of the Bridge. A Birder was "in situ"...


...it turned out to be Chris Gomersall! We scanned for a while longer in the strong wind but couldn't locate it. We enjoyed some unusually close views of Pochard though...




Of course, as I reached Hull he tweeted he'd found it South of the Bridge!! I'm still hopeful it will end up at NDC?

Today started extremely well. As I was sat in the lounge I caught sight of a Raptor over the hedge. Buzzards are seen regularly BUT this wasn't no Buzzard. I surprised myself by grabbing the camera quickly enough to obtain a "record shot" as it disappeared over the trees...

Red Kite (8.40)

I know you would've believed me? An excellent Patch (80) and Village Year Tick (52) and an even better "Garden" (83) Lifer! Only my third record for the Village.

Sunday 18 February 2024

Bird Song

A Song Thrush (P.80, H.51) was belting it out this afternoon in unusually (but very welcome) mild conditions. Spring bulbs now breaking through and definite signs of "Bud burst". 

The American Wigeon was seen again today at Bubwith Bridge. Seems like a good enough reason to pop over again tomorrow...


Thursday 15 February 2024

Slooow!

Hence the lack of reports. Maybe I should throw a few (hopefully) interesting topics in during this less than inspiring time of Year? I'll think about it.

A beacon through the gloom came in the form of a Long-tailed Duck at Castle Howard Lake. This was my 240th Species for the York Area...a consequence of Age!!

Locally it's quiet...no Dead! A few hints of Spring as the local GS Woodpecker is tapping away. I could travel further afield to see some "other" Birds but I'm not that bothered these days as I prefer to "work" my Patches. However, I don't rule it out completely?

I have to admit my thoughts are starting to turn to Cyprus as the first Migrants are being reported on WhatsApp...namely Great Spotted Cuckoo and Isabelline Wheatear.

Be nice to see the Currant Bun...

Friday 9 February 2024

Cyprus 24 - Preliminary thoughts

I received an email yesterday informing me of a change in the Bird Sighting system. I was aware there was a WhatsApp group last year but never joined as I found the Google Groups information, coupled with messages from friends to be sufficient. Anyway I've joined now as it looks the Google Groups "avenue" is closing. I also received a message form Phil, informing me he'd just booked for the fortnight before we arrive! Looks like I won't be "in the dark" regarding arrivals!!

As you know I prefer to find my own but it's always re-assuring to have information, then you're not concerned about "missing something"! Just over 4 weeks to go now and with the continuing horrendous weather I thought I'd write an initial Post regarding my upcoming trip...to cheer myself up.

Checking eBird I discovered that this will be my 7th trip having been previously in 1995, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2023. The 95 trip was a family holiday. The 15 and 16 trips were one week visits in December and January respectively. The other 3 were 3 week Spring visits.

The best visit without question was 2018 (see history for details). I enjoyed the amazing sight of both CASPIAN PLOVER and CREAM-COLOURED COURSER on the same small piece of land (picnic area) at Mandria five days apart. Showing well doesn't cover it! I'll never forget returning there the morning after everyone had seen the CP to look for it. I drove slowly round the area for quite some time when it suddenly appeared right next to the car!!! Re-locating the CCC after following it along the Coast with Ian and Kate Bloomer was also VERY special.

Couldn't resist...



Images to brighten up yet another dull English Winter's Day. A couple of incredible Birds I think you would agree?

Most things are in place now including payments! We're staying in the same Apartment just West of Paphos which gives easy access to all Sites in the area and the (extremely quiet) Motorway to all points East.  

Every trip is different and I intend to mix things up more this Year. Obviously my knowledge of the key Sites increases with each visit, which in theory should save me some time. eBird will always be of use as well. The weather is another variable as always, I hope its not as windy as last Year especially for Louise's sake! She needs to be by the Beach Bar at Mandria...so do I come to that!

My Cyprus List stands at a modest 217 so there's still a chance of adding something to it.

As I look at the rain running down the window for the umpteenth time I'm counting the days (33) till we depart from Manchester. We'll get there. I hope you've got something to look forward to? We all need it...

Male Rock Thrush amongst the Cyprus flowers

Thursday 8 February 2024

Wild Weather

Don't you just love the British Weather?

At least Wednesday morning was decent, which enabled me to look (in vain) for the Shorelark and Snow Buntings South of the Village.

Tuesday and today were spent at NDC with little of note seen but it was good to get out of the Cottage and the beauty of the Hide meant the Weather didn't matter...much. I had good company both days with Elaine from the Village turning up on Tuesday and a solid chap from Copmanthorpe putting the World to rights with me this morning during the Blizzard! Both helped pass slow sessions totalling 8 Hours.

As I'm sure you can appreciate the conditions weren't conducive for photography but here's a few shots from Tuesday to "brighten the post up somewhat...

3 Marsh Harriers and a Curlew

Unusual to see three so close together.

Another trio was on the flooded scrape...

Little Grebes

A lone Male Goldeneye was also nice to see but was far to distant for a pic. As I returned home two Herons in the road on Snakey were a bizarre sight and brought up the half century on the Village Year List...

Record shot through the Sleet...and car window!

News of the first Great Spotted Cuckoos arriving in Cyprus turn thoughts to next Months Holiday. Counting the Days now...less than 5 Weeks to go...BRING IT ON!!!

Monday 5 February 2024

Visitor

Had a few Hours out with Phil yesterday. We met up at Stone Creek but it was VERY quiet...unfortunately. He did add Barn Owl to his Year List. After the required Chip Butty in Patrington, we headed for Skeffling but again we were out of luck as the Whooper Swans were absent. We did see a pair of Pintail on the edge of the mud, which was unusual and a Year Tick for Phil. A lone Little Egret gave us a decent view...

We then cut through to Holmpton via Out Newton, on the way I caught sight of a lovely Male Marsh Harrier. I just managed a record shot through the car window after finding a pull-in...


Phil wanted to try for the Little Owl/s, so we detoured and got lucky...


Finally we checked Snakey for Partridges but yet again we weer out of luck. However, I did find a flock of a dozen Yellowhammers (P.79, H.49) which was unusual at this location. I managed to catch one in the stubble...


A Beacon in the gloom.

Richard had a Shorelark and a couple of Snow Buntings South of the Village this morning. I'll have a look on Wednesday when the wind dies down. Duff tomorrow...

Friday 2 February 2024

RLP

 Stumbled on the "other Partridge" (H.48) this morning on the Dog Walk along Snakey...

1 of 4 Birds

Hope Springs Eternal

See what I did there?

A drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker (P.78, H.46) and a calling Tawny Owl (P.79, H.47) both heard from the Cottage, heralded the start of the new Month. More "Signs of Spring".

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Good Riddance!

So, that's January over with, my least favourite Month. If circumstances were different, I'd be abroad for the whole Month! However I'm not, so I've tried to make the most of it.

My last visit of the Month to Duff today produced an excellent count of 108 Pochard, this being my largest count...by THREE! A decent number were in situ on arrival but were subsequently joined by another significant flock just after midday...

c 1000 yds

This was the undoubted highlight of an otherwise quiet session. I scanned the Wigeon for a good while but couldn't turn one into an AMERICAN.

Other notables were...

Pintail - 60

Dunlin - 40

Little Grebe - 2

Marsh Harrier - Male

Brighter days ahead...

Saturday 27 January 2024

For the Record

A late drive up to Out Newton late afternoon to listen to the Footy on the move. I stopped off briefly at the "scrape"...


Nothing.

I continued on to Model Farm and let Bud have a stretch. I checked the fields...nothing! On my return I checked the scrape again...


Maybe I missed them on the way up? I like to think I didn't! Anyway, a nice catch by the lingering "scrape"...


Redshank (H.45)

Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour down Patrington Haven again watching from the car. Highlights being 3 Marsh Harriers and 4 passes by a beautiful Barn Owl in the afternoon sunshine. It flew right past my car on a couple of occasions...


Thursday 25 January 2024

Spurn Ticks

I decided to have a drive down the road for the first time this Year...just for a change of Scenery. You've probably noticed I don't get down there much these days. Increased coverage means less chance of finding something decent so I prefer to work Patches elsewhere and I'm more than happy doing that. Far more rewarding. I have many great memories since I first went there in 1987 and I will continue to visit and cherry pick on occasion.

I started my tour at the North end of the Gas Terminal...


...where I was pleased to see a tree planting scheme was in operation. Much potential. Tough going at this time of Year and there wasn't any sign of activity. Which Species springs to mind...



A nice pair to brighten up a Winter's afternoon!

Next I checked out Vicar's Lane at the Southern end. Here I saw my first Yellowhammers of 2024. I estimated 20 Birds, they were very mobile and elusive in the gloom but one finally gave itself up...


I also saw my first House Sparrows!!

I then drove down to Kilnsea and parked up by the gate...


Again mmany memories came flooding back but things have changed. I scanned the Estuary and added a few Waders to the Spurn/Patch Lists. The best was a lone Grey Plover close to the tideline...


I finished off at Sammy's and while Bud was having a stretch I just managed to catch a Little Grebe before it disappeared into the reeds...


All in all I recorded 33 Species with Yellowhammer being the only Patch addition! I'll be back...now and again...

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Quiet?

As we approach the end of the Month things can get a little slooooow...depending on your form of Birding of course? If you cover the Miles you can obviously see more "Good Birds"...these days I prefer to work my Patches. I might still be tempted to drift further afield depending on what turns up.

So, it was over to NDC again this morning, arriving at 10. It wasn't as bright as forecast BUT it was much milder if breezy. The traditional Platform walk didn't promise much in the wind but that's the great thing about our Pastime...you never know...



The Bird was initially right by the path but wouldn't show...


Always nice to see a Bullfinch (54)...especially a Male.

We then had a walk down to Garganey Hide to have a nosey as the water level had dropped further. There was plenty of evidence of flood damage on the way down and the path had partially given way in places...


On arrival I could see it was possible to enter the Hide (just about)...


 We didn't linger...


This Hide has been battered by floodwater many times over the Years but still stands strong. A testament to the Manufacturers and Builders...Gilleard Bros. Dare I suggest it might have been positioned slightly...higher?! On the return walk...a sign of Spring. The camera wouldn't grab at first but I thought it would be worth posting them anyway...



Eventually...


After setting my stall out in the slightly drier Geoff Smith Hide, I began to scan. I immediately spotted 3 Drake Pochard (55) in the (extreme) distance, which was pleasing after enviously viewing a good number on Bubwith Ings...


As 1 approached a Little Egret (56) flew West, close...too quick for me! A slow session was still having its moments. A lone Chaffinch (57) then perched briefly in a bush out on the water...


The sun broke through briefly around 2 but soon disappeared, not before a Peregrine (58) shook the Wildfowl up briefly...and again distantly...


So, that concludes today's additions. Finally a shout out for one of the common Species. A pair of Wigeon in the sunshine...

Stunners

Monday 22 January 2024

Breezy

An understated title. Wind is the worst element of Weather for me, debilitating most efforts to Bird and giving little pleasure when possible at all. Gale Force last night during the Storm (I refuse to use the names now given). Still lively today but some Birding was possible if mainly from the car. One positive of the wind is that it dries things up, which means I don't have to clean my Dog...or Cat!

Thankfully "Snakey Scrape" is hanging on in there, giving hope of catching some passing Waders. As I passed this morning I could see a tiny Bird in amongst the Gulls and Lapwings...

Dunlin

Nice to have an "Inland" record.

I then drove out to Skeffling and was pleased to see the Whooper herd were slightly closer...


Encouraging to see some juveniles present...


I counted 32 in total.

When I returned to Snakey to check the "Scrape"again. the Dunlin had multiplied by 3...


4 Fieldfares (P.72, H.42) then alighted briefly, before 7 Roe Deer passed by...


Out of nowhere a large flock of Golden Plovers suddenly descended onto the scrape...



I counted 220, my largest "inland" flock. Great to see on Snakey and very satisfying. While watching from the car a movement caught my eye on the adjacent mud...

Pied Wagtail ( P.73, H.43)

Always something to see...despite the conditions...