Friday, 26 February 2021

Late Result!

Nothing of note to report of late birdwise except the first displaying Buzzards (5) over Mill Hill. I had a stroll down to the cliff mid-afternoon with Bud...

On Guard!

Afterwards, we watched the Sunset...


and the Moonrise...



...but wait...as I write...Tawny Owl on the wire outside the lounge window!!!



Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Local Pulse of Action

It doesn't happen often!

We had an hour down the cliff off Seaside around lunchtime. As I arrived it became apparent (even to me) that a decent number of RTD's were offshore, the pleasing thing was that some were pretty close...

Next a Cormorant heading powerfully South in striking plumage...

Sinensis "type"...no gular pouch angle analysis!

There were also a couple of Common Scoters (P.71, H.70) on the sea, my FOY. Then a strange occurence. I picked up a large Falcon below the cliff some 400 yards North. It was coming towards me at speed making large arcs before flying SW across the field...

Saker hybrid complete with jesses?

Obviously very long-winged with a stout head and bill. Quite plain with little barring, especially the tail. Great to see though...whatever it was! Someone's lost a Falcon? A nice visit to the Cliff!

Lockdown continues to cost me birds as Velvet Scoter and Slavonian Grebe (York Area Lifers) continue to be seen at Acaster Malbis and Bank Island respectively. 4 Smew ( including a drake) are also being seen at Thorganby. Knowing my luck, one will turn up at Duff!!

The NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD continues in Devon. There must be plenty besides moi who are extremely frustrated by the continuing travel ban, as surely no-one would travel to see it...would they?!!!


Monday, 22 February 2021

Local Appreciation

Just a few thoughts to share while I wait for the boss in Hull. Just before we set off I took Bud and enjoyed c200 PFG (P.70, H.69) returning North plus a drumming GSW and a singing Song Thrush. Not a bad haul within 200yds of the front door. Got me thinking...

As I go into my 65th Spring, which will definitely be spent at home, some of the old clich├ęs spring to mind. After this morning's sightings "count your blessings" immediately sprang to mind.

It's also my first Spring in retirement, so I have my best opportunity to fully cover my Patch and hopefully discover some quality birds. No excuses!

There's always better...there's always worse. Comparison's with other sites are futile and counterproductive. The context of a sighting is important and very satisfying if earned. Time spent is also vital, as is exploring all possible habitats... frequently.

All this is fine in theory but it's practice that gets the Birds. Some promising Southerlies on the way, giving hope for FOY sightings. 

So let's get on with it..

Southerly stroll

Worked my way down, then up to Cliff Farm yesterday morning. Definitely signs of Spring with birds singing and displaying including my FOY Meadow Pipit (P.69, H.68)...


A Tawny Owl joined in...calling at 3.30pm!

Our wintering Stonechats are still present and at least 10 Reed Buntings are back in the Old Hive cut. Alas, no sign of any Snow Buntings but at least 60 Ringed Plovers are still around.

A strange bird was seen in Skegness recently, causing much conjecture amongst Birders! Opinions varied, as always, from Robin through to RED-THROATED THRUSH...


The pic does favour the latter!!!?

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Cyprus 18 - A timely reminder!

I've noticed plenty of Birders giving themselves a boost in these dark times by posting memories from trips gone by. Perfectly understandable in my book. So, why not join the club? I was tagged in to a post this morning by a pal I met in Cyprus. He posted a picture of a BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER we both enjoyed at Paphos Headland. I even saw it fly in the following morning at dawn and land on the Jolly Roger in the harbour! 

You'll have to take my word for it!


More of this dream bird HERE. It was the perfect trip with incredible views of some Stellar birds, including male CASPIAN PLOVER and CREAM-COLOURED COURSER on the same piece of land at Mandria!!! My luck was definitely IN. I hope to go back one Spring...soon?


Let's hope we can all enjoy a bird-filled Spring as things improve, albeit slowly...

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Snakey

I had to go to the Optician late morning (got to keep an eye on things) so a trip down Snakey and a dog relief stop produced c10 Yellowhammers and a couple of Corn Buntings. Great to hear bird song in the rising temperatures (11C). Quite a few squabbling Skylarks about also.

On leaving the Opticians in Hedon high street I heard an unusual sound. A bird...a Woodcock...in the middle of the road, having unfortunately been struck by a car. I was pleased to see after loosing a few feathers it flew off strongly down the road at head height! Definitely a sighting I wasn't expecting.

On reaching Snakey again I decided to park up and do my walk. Almost immediatly 2 more Woodcocks flushed from the roadside ditch. I managed an image at last...


Then a couple of Snipe from the adjacent field closely followed by my FOY Grey Partridge (P.67, H.66). Things were going well.

Yesterday evening I'd had a brief view of a decent number of Fieldfares and I was hoping they were still around. I walked further along the road in the direction of Holmpton, towards the Welwick turn. As I reached the turn a large flock of birds rose out of the set-a-side...Fieldfares (c300) and Starlings (c150). Quite a sight!

The Fieldfares eventually settled in some nearby trees...


Unfortunately the cloud had increased and it was very overcast now but the birds were very active and soon returned to feed in the field. I returned to the car and headed home...



As I approached the Village I got another bonus Barn Owl sighting...


The day was completed when I heard my FOY Tawny Owl (P.68, H.67) from the lounge. Spring in the air...


Tuesday, 16 February 2021

A different look

Still decent numbers of Snow Buntings (c20) down by Old Hive but very skittish...




Different birds IMHO than the birds by Mill Hill on previous days, which were far more confiding. Another couple of Woodcocks were seen powering low across the fields. A late afternoon Tesco run produced a Barn Owl and I just managed to "catch" a large flock of Fieldfares (c200) at dusk...


...possibly returning birds?

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Unexpected Guests

Brutal SSE wind today which kept me inland with a walk down Snakey with the team. Nothing of note was seen...until we turned for home and a Woodcock flew low South across the field opposite the Cottage. I can't say I earned that one...but I'll take it!

A lunchtime peep at the feeders revealed 4 Long-tailed Tits. Hyper-active as always, they didn't hang around...

The late afternoon Tesco run involved a brief stop at the Sewage for the Budster. The wind was still fierce but a quick scan of the beach revealed my FOY Sanderling (P.65, H.64) working its solitary way along the tideline...


You just never know...and on that note...

Update at 4.30pm: Just settling down to watch the match when a Barn Owl (P.66, H.65) drifts past the lounge window...

A ghostly apparition...literally!

It also flushed another Woodcock. It was present for 40 minutes. Wonderful. Easy Birding!

Friday, 12 February 2021

Surprise sightings

Today I covered a few areas around the Village. Three Cormorants and a couple of Dunlins west down Snakey was notable. I then headed for the cliff, although I wasn't looking forward to it in a strengthening, icy easterly! As I passed the horse paddock I noticed some waders by a frozen pool (temporary scrape no less!). Initially two...

...soon became three...

After yesterdays Curlews, this was another "first" for me! I then started to walk towards Mill Hill and into the teeth of the wind...

I hadn't gone a hundred yards when I saw some movement. 2 Snow Buntings were busily feeding some 30 yards into the field, despite the brutal conditions. Oh, go on then, just one...


As I returned from Mill Hill I noticed a few small gulls wheeling South. To my surprise, they turned out to be Kittiwakes! (P.64, H.63), I saw three...


Amazed to "catch" anything considering the conditions and my numbing fingers. Modern cameras eh.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Cold Weather Movements

After yesterday's SB sighting it made sense to have a change so we headed North this morning to the second Pill for our stretch...

More Icicles...

Nothing of note was seen bird-wise. When we returned to Seaside road Louise did the coffee run and I carried on South to Mill Hill...I wonder why?

Within 200 yds I saw the "friendly five" from yesterday some 30 yds from the path...


...but they soon flew off high West. Never mind, I needed more exercise so we carried on to Mill Hill. As I turned the view immediately improved dramatically, as the sun was now behind me. As I approached School lane, almost miraculously, "the five" were there again, in almost the same spot! 

I rattled a few more shots off and headed home for my coffee. You can't have too much Snow Bunting...






The perfect antidote to Lockdown...

Mid-afternoon found me doing my duty by heading to Tesco for provisions. My mate (Buddy that is) insisted on coming with me, as he told me he needs to relieve himself more than once a day!!! When I pulled up a Woodcock (P.63, H.62) exploded from the roadside ditch. An ovedue addition. As he was "doing his duty" I spotted a small flock of birds in the adjacent field...Lapwings...

Ironic after not recording this species last year in the Village? Always nice to see, especially locally. A beautiful bird...

I even got a fly past...

27 birds in total...they then departed South. 

Not bad in 5 minutes! Onto Tesco. A brief stop to see 3 Curlews on the cliff edge at the airfield at With (first time I've seen anything decent here!)...

...and that was that...

Maybe down to the weather?

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Special Bunting

...for many reasons. Buntings generally aren't my favourite family but there are some crackers. Love to see Painted and Varied in Texas. My favourite on the British List is definitely Snow Bunting, which is handy, as they sometimes occur in the Village! I was fortunate enough to see them in summer plumage in Barrow, Alaska on 25th July 2007.

We've had an elusive flock of 20+ roaming the enormous arable field to the south of the Village for weeks now, although I hadn't seen them for a few days (mainly due to the gale force Easterlies). Anyway, our exercise walk stretched South along the cliff just after 10. The wind was stronger than forcast but we carried on...

Not much cover here!

As you can see it was a bit fresh. There were even icicles on the cliff edge...


Richard reported that he'd seen 3 SB but we hadn't seen anything of note by the time we reached Old Hive where Richard was stood. After a chat he headed back and we continued to the copse...to shelter!
We didn't stay that long before heading back North. A few Ringed Plovers (c30) were dotted around the field, making regular short, low flights. Once over Mill Hill I decided to take a short detour with Bud while Louise headed home to brew the coffee!

Nothing initially but then 3 small birds flew low across the field and landed about 30 yards away. Yep, Snow Buntings! As previously reported the large flock exhibited atypical behaviour and were VERY skittish but as I slowly approached these birds, they seemed less nervous and behaved more as you would expect..."new" birds? This was good news as I was hoping to get a pic or two...at last. I managed a few before heading home to thaw out...
 





Stunning little things...I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it again...So fortunate to have this species visiting the Village...