Saturday, 30 June 2012

A Great Day

Return trip to Bempton. Louise had to take the car to Hull after a minor shunt yesterday.
2 hours for a valet + 2 hours to dry = 4 hours shopping!

I've got to increase my walking, so I might as well walk at a Bird reserve. Made my way west towards Buckton in search of the ALPINE SWIFT. I bumped into Vicki from York who I'd met on a few occasions including the VEERY twitch. She's also a regular on Scilly the week we go. Also had a chat with Craig Thomas who I hadn't seen for quite a while. After waiting for a good hour someone picked it up over the trig point. I got very distant but conclusive views as it drifted back and forth. Brett Richards was helping with directions.

Couldn't resist another look at the Gannets on the cliff top...

As I was making my way back to the car I bumped into my pal Arnie Cowan who was leading a disabled marks!

As I left "the box" informed me that the Spoonbill (P.126) had been re-located at the re-named Outstray Wetlands (Patrington Haven). Not one to miss a Patch Tick (lifer actually), I made my way down and connected immediately, albeit distantly...

Definitely a record shot!
A great day.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Bempton - a Jewel of Yorkshire

Pictures tell the Story...


Gentle Gull

Landed one

Top Bird


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Good Morning

Popped down to Spurn this morning. Had a walk along the beach with Bud, it actually felt like Summer! Had a scan with the bins and picked up Gannet (S.67), Little (S.68) and Sandwich Tern (S.69). Granted these are somewhat late editions, but the circumstances were beyond my control!
Had a quick look along the canal and added Sedge (S.70) and Reed Warbler (S.71). Sandwich Terns were regular in crossing the peninsular, their calls very far carrying.
A welcome sight came in the form of 5 fledged Mute Swans on Canal Scrape...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Surprise Cracker

A lovely Woodchat Shrike has turned up in the north of the County. Excellent pic on yorkshirebirders. Might have a look tomorrow...although, guess what...rain forecast again!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

How times change!

Had a stroll down the front at Spurn this morning, then back along the beach. Blustery, to say the least but it wasn't RAINING!!

Spotted this smarty on the pool...

...and it got me thinking how times change.

14/7/92 was the day I twitched one at Whitby for my Yorkshire tick! Now they often don't get a second look. Always a smart bird...

LITTLE SWIFT performing well at New Brighton.

Again brings back memories of my overnight trip to Cromer, Norfolk 13/11/05 to connect at dawn...that one didn't hang around, not surprisingly considering the date! I must be on here somewhere...

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Feeding Range

Had to tidy the "old house" up today . A proper tidy, not a lodging son tidy!! Felt good to be more mobile and do some gardening. I was going to pop over to Fairburn for a peep at the WWBT but time flew by and I didn't make it.

Returning home I took Bud for a stroll up the cliff. Linking nicely with my trip to the Little Tern colony I saw a couple (H.81) heading south with food. Not that far...but far enough?

Tiny baby Deer seen in the lane this evening...something like this...

Monday, 18 June 2012

More GOOD News!

As your bringer of uplifting stories I have another heart-warming tale to tell!

As the weather was MUCH better (granted that's not hard) I decided to test the hip with a stroll down Easington Beach to view the Little Tern colony (P.125). As all Yorks Birders will be aware this colony has had it rough for a lot of years. Predation in all forms has been rife, resulting in very little breeding success. They keep reterning (sorry) though.

As I reached the Wardens Hut I had a chat with Lizzie who was on duty.

I was lamenting the lack of success over the years BUT she informed me that last year a (relative) bumper 19 were raised!!! Fantastic.
She also told me that 20 nests were occupied and doing well...despite the horrendous weather. Brilliant.

The BP sponsored electric fence must be helping...let's keep our fingers crossed for another successful breeding season...

On the way home I spotted this cracker in the roadside verge...

Having dragged out my Condor photos from 2008 yesterday I was impressed with the quality of the images (even though I say so myself!). I still have the old camera...might have to dust it off and start using it again? Pleased with the above with the Nikon P150 though...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Good News

I don't watch "the news". Sure I catch snippets on the car radio but let's face it, it's mainly BAD!!

I love GOOD news!

Here's some...

I have had 2 encounters with these huge birds. The first was at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 2002.

They were being radio tracked and a ranger had found a group feeding on a carcass.
The second was at the South Rim in 2008. We were at the Visitor Centre and I had almost given up scanning the endless chasm when I noticed a rather large lump on a rock right by the path...

Prettier in flight!

Saturday, 16 June 2012


Added a few more of my Bubo lists in the form of pages at the top of the Blog. That's that for now (no more room!). Had to revise my ABA list but I still managed to top 650. Chuffed with my efforts over the last 11 years on Easter and Summer holidays. Great fun, fantastic country. Three week retirement trip based around Chicago booked from late August till mid-September. Hope to add a few more species including my nemesis Cape May Warbler.

Back home...pleased to report I have breeding success locally, very locally. I've been listening to the constant chirping of this little fellow from the front garden for quite a while now!

Blog rarity!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Swift secrets

Don't know if your into Swifts but this makes interesting reading. Had a nice group (c20) over the cottage brought down by a thunderstorm. Nothing like the one they had at the footy.

Also had great views of a Cuckoo over the Sewage works.

Fingers crossed for tonight...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Coverage improving

Having had so much Footy fun as a youngster and paying for it now with 2 Hip Re-surfacings it has made me fully aware not to take my mobility for granted!! So the fact that I am able to start walking again is quite a treat. Still some issues with the Knock knees but I'm more hopeful of a decent recovery as I stand today.

I've been experimenting further with the Nikon P510. I'm determined to get some decent shots out of it but results are still mixed. It seems to show more "noise" than the Panasonic cameras I've had?

Below are a few images I took today of some local fayre...

Titivated this's in the eyes!

Light still poor. Maybe I expect to much. Maybe we'll get a sunny day soon? More rain to come tomorrow...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Great British Summer?

Dull and cold (50F) here! Lifted by this cracker on the wire outside the cottage this morning. They're breeding in my neighbours garage. Not sure if he knows or whether I'm going to tell him? Great bloke but not sure he'd be impressed, especially with the deposits on his Citroen!!

Trying to increase the walking now, so we had a stroll along the cliff top. A skylark was performing well...

Leg felt OK so we ended up on the beach and Bud ended up in the sea...

Wave fear over!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


After doing my Physio' like a good lad, I had a peep at my lists to see how things are going for the year. Surprise, surprise...not very well. Still plenty to go at!
If your having a slow day I've added a page with my targets on.

Quite a mixture! It includes scarce, rare and Mega, well, they have occurred!
I'm not holding my breath for another BOBOLINK but one sat in the village hedges in October (or something even better) would be never know?

We started with a draw! Great result but turgid performance. Hodgson's a good coach and organised them well. Here's a revolutionary idea...How about we try passing to each other instead of just giving them the ball back?
Same old story I'm afraid. Players just not good enough?

Having said that, throughout our History we HAVE had the players and STILL performed poorly (most of the time). Not easy, being an England fan...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

One happy family?

As a follow up to my blighted visit to view the ROLLER the other night I see my good friend Rich Willison has forcefully aired his opinion on Yorkshire Birders regarding photographer encroachment.

It seems some feel that if you don combat gear this makes you somehow invisible to birds and the observing birders! Good fieldcraft? It also means you can trespass, disturb the rarity/nesting birds and trample crops, amongst other things.

I'm thinking of investing in this attire...

...can't go wrong then!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Too much time on my hands!

My enforced BIG SIT (mainly in the house until recently) means I have had a LOT of spare time. No need for violins as I'm FULLY aware of all the people grafting away earning a living...much respect!

WE have a few irons in the fire regarding earning possibilities, post retirement (from teaching only I quickly add).

My (unintentional) original Blog deletion has forced me to experiment with a new design. Still not 100% happy but it keeps me busy! Bit of a Jubilee theme at the moment!!

Back to birds. The ROLLER continues just up the road despite the horrendous weather. It must be the most photographed bird for many a year. I admit I had another peep as I was going north to Flamborough for the adult Rosy Pastor but it moved on. Gives an excuse to post a pic anyway...

Friday, 8 June 2012

Euros - great start

Just watched the first game...surprisingly entertaining! Still, we don't play till Monday. No bigger fan than me but can't see much progress with the current squad. Having said that we've had so called "golden generations" in the past who performed miserably so maybe Uncle Roy can whip 'em into shape?

Took Bud out this morning down the lane and I could hear a Cuckoo close by. I optimistically went back for my camera. I could still hear it but with the trees now in full leaf I didn't fancy my chances of a pic. As I bent down to throw his stick the bird landed on a bare branch right above my head! By the time I'd sorted myself out it had gone...

Saw the physio today. It seems I must continue to be patient regarding my hip as it could be up to 3 months before it settles down completely. OK, so be it, but I'm not sitting around any longer, I might even climb on a bike again if I can force myself to wear one of those daft helmets!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Worth a try

It seems we have an adult male! Must admit I couldn't imagine anything brighter. He was quite close to the road this morning as I passed on my way North in a futile attempt to strategically position myself for the BLACK KITE fly-over!!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Hopes dashed

After doing some bits around the house I looked at the weather forecast for this evening, looked OK, so I thought I'd have a run up to Aldbrough.

The skies were clearing as I arrived, things were looking good for a pleasant hour watching this beautiful bird in the evening sunshine. I saw a couple of familiar faces and I walked down to have a chat.
I glanced into the field to see if it was on it's favourite post only to see a photographers head sticking up about half way between the road and the post!

Surprisingly, the bird was at the far side of the field!!

I like to think I've mellowed (slightly) over the years? So I walked slowly up to the gentleman and politely asked him if he'd mind retiring to the roadside, explaining the "favourite post".

He did come back but then gave my friend and I several reasons why we were wrong and he was right! Hopefully you can read between the lines here!

The fact that thousands of people had seen fit to view and photograph from the road over the past week or so made little impression here.

Unfortunately the atmosphere I cool down. My friend was still in heated debate as I drifted off over the hill.


As my recovery hopefully continues and in line with my (forced) quest this year to achieve late first sightings, I saw my first Swift (80) in the village this morning!!!
As mentioned previously I love this species. Not the best looking of birds but what a performer and it's lifestyle is truly BIZARRE! More here if you're interested.

Looks like there are 2 ROLLERS. Amazing! Thoughts of maybe male and female so close? Surely not...almost certainly NOT but it's nice to dream of a breeding attempt? Wouldn't that be special.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Day out

Had a ride up to Flamborough yesterday. We just happened (yeah right) to pass the ROLLER site, so it seemed rude not to stop!

Unfortunately the bird was distant so we continued. A couple of traffic problems slowed us down, so our intended visit to Bempton was abandoned. Instead we went to the headland and took Bud a walk.
Louise noticed a group of Birders looking into the gorse field. "I wonder what they're looking at"? Like I didn't know.

So I had a brief peep at the superb male Red-backed Shrike.

On the way home another stop at the Roller Site was in order. Again distant views. So, being a good lad we continued so we could watch the Jubilee concert. As we passed "the post" I glanced to my left and the bird was back on his perch in glorious sunshine!
Louise being the star that she is suggested I try again. We parked up and I made my way to the gap in the hedge. You guessed it, back into the distance the bird had returned.

Really enjoyed the Concert. You won't be surprised to here I particularly enjoyed the wrinklies BUT I was really impressed with the young lad with the guitar...whoever he was? Just looked it up...Ed Sheeran.

Best performance...Shirley for me.

Still fiddling with my new style Blog.
Anything could happen! The new format allows more scope and I've managed to work out how to add some pages at the top.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

(forced) Work in Progress!

Well, I've managed to (inadvertently) delete my Old School Blog! Pity, I liked it.
So, I'm forced to do a bit of re-designing. Things might look a bit odd for a while, but hopefully things will come together eventually...


Made a couple of brief visits today to see the ROLLER. Both times I was hoping for a window in the horrendous weather. No luck. Whilst I was there it was sitting it out on it's favourite post.
Tough day for the Star attraction. Forecast much better tomorrow so I'm hoping to see it in bright sunshine if it hasn't had enough of the British Summer. Now that WOULD be special...

England squad crumbling by the day. Still, takes the pressure off Uncle Roy! Expectation level it should be after past tournaments!!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Robin tribute night...just had to post this beautiful ballad

ROLLER Revisted

Couldn't resist another trip to Aldbrough to see the Star attraction.

Hard not to get complacent as you get older regarding certain species you've seen before.

ROLLER doesn't command MEGA status but is a TOP bird at anytime. When it's 10 miles down the road...

I was (foolishly) hoping to see it in the sunshine this afternoon. Unfortunately, it was more like February with a stiff Easterly wind. The poor bird must have definitely realised by now this wasn't the Mediterranean! It wisely spent quite a bit of time sheltering...

not perched up on it's favourite post.

Nice to see Barry Bishop and Rich Willison amongst quite a few other familiar faces...

Friday, 1 June 2012


Had to pay homage to this fine bird. Thought I'd missed it in choosing to go for the ORPHEAN WARBLER. So well pleased when it was re-located just up the road at Aldbrough!
Pity the light wasn't better but pleased with the images considering the distance.
Obviously a spectacular bird. Best views I've ever had of this species. Might even have another peep in the morning if it's still present.

Nearest I get to a video!

Then it was gone

Can't extend the Patch to fit this...unfortunately!