Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Not Scarborough

On Wednesday last week we didn't go to Scarborough, but went to our standby location, North Cave Wetlands, as Wheldrake wasn't quite the place to go after a lot of rain.  The morning started well with a Green Woodpecker 'laughing' in the large Ash tree on Dryham Lane.  We didn't get particularly close, but a humble bridge camera shows it throwing its head back to laugh!
Marsh Harrier (c) 2017 Tony Robinson
 Green Woodpecker (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
 Green Woodpecker (c) 2017 Lynn Hall
One of the most colourful birds seen was a Mandarin Duck which flew off Carp Lake, before returning a few minutes later.   
Mandarin (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
However, undoubtedly one of the highlights was the cream crown Marsh Harrier, which hunted within a few feet of the windows of Turret Hide for what seemed like half-an-hour.  It didn't manage to catch anything while we were watching, but it came close.  It was the nearest we've been to a Marsh Harrier at any of the other more renowned Marsh Harrier locations in our area.   By the time the harrier was a few feet away the day had turned very grey and drab, so the photos are amazing considering the available conditions.
Marsh Harrier (c) 2017 Tony Robinson
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Towards the end of our time watching it, the Harrier settled on an island before attempting to drown a Moorhen.  It tried this several times, and for many minutes, but the Moorhen managed to escape in the end.  It's rather a shame it wasn't successful with a Coot, which pollute any location in which they are present!
Marsh Harrier (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
 Attempting to drown a Moorhen & terrifying a group of Shelduck
 Forcing the Moorhen under water
 Feeding the Wildlife

Monday, 20 February 2017

3 Days at Scarborough

For the last week before half term we spent 3 days in Scarborough. We usually started in the harbour, where the best bird was a Black-necked Grebe, which showed well, especially early in the week.  Later, when things calmed down on Friday, it may have made its way onto the sea.
Black-necked Grebe
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 The Great Northern Diver appeared on the Tuesday, and was seen on the sea after that, but was very distant by Friday afternoon.
 Great Northern Diver
 With a crab, once the legs had all been removed.  
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On one day we saw a Shag in the harbour, but on other days they were well out on the sea.   
Shag
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 A Pair of Shags
Distant Shag showing the crest
On most days we saw a Guillemot around the harbour, but on Thursday a Razorbill took its place.  
Razorbill
 Guillemot (c) 2017 Mike Woods
Every day there were plenty of confiding Turnstones around the harbour.  We saw Purple Sandpipers on Friday afternoon, but the light wasn't right for photographs.
Turnstone
 Ditto
 Large Flock on the Jetty
 Final View of Black-necked Grebe
 Turnstone (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
 Coloured Leg Rings (c) 2017 Mike Woods
The Rock Pipits were usually seen on Marine Drive, but on Friday afternoon one was on a boulder under the harbour.
Rock Pipit (c) 2017 Mike Woods
 Rock Pipit on too high an ISO
On Thursday we found a young Grey Seal pup in the harbour, which was still present on Friday morning.  Unfortunately, when I took its photo on my mobile, a crowd gathered, and the general public attempted to do the same.  You had to lean right over the jetty to take its photo!
Young Grey Seal
Ditto - on a mobile
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 Herring Gull (c) 2017 Mike Woods
After the harbour we walked along Marine Drive to try and see the Peregrines.  Occasionally we saw a pair perched only a few feet apart from each other.  They looked pretty inert perched on the cliff, but occasionally they performed exciting fly pasts.
Peregrine
Peregrine
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 Female Peregrine
 Peregrine
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 Peregrine (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
 Peregrine (c) 2017 Mike Woods
 Rock Pipit
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 Rock Pipit (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
 Fulmar
Once we had a good look at the Peregrines we moved on to a derelict cafe area to try & find the Black Redstart.  This was only really successful on Thursday, both morning and afternoon.  
Female Black Redstart
 Record shot of Black Redstart in flight
 Black Redstart
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From the cafe area we moved to Scalby Mills.  There were hundreds of Wigeons and gulls here, but with nothing of scarcity value.  The best bird was probably a distant Red-throated Diver seen on Friday morning.   
Oystercatcher losing its winter plumage
 Wigeon
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 Wigeon (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
 Curlew (c) 2017 Mike Woods
 Redshank (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
 Oystercatcher (c) 2017 Mike Woods
 Cormorant taking off 
 Ditto
 In Flight 
 Drying Itself
 Record Shot of Red-throated Diver
Cormorant (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
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 Great Black-Backed Gull among Herring Gulls (c) Jane Robinson
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 Scarborough Castle from Scalby Mills
After classes some people went on to Forge Valley for the Nuthatches, whilst the Friday morning group went on to the raptor viewpoint where they had good views of Crossbills.  Meanwhile a couple from Friday afternoon found a female Scaup on Scarborough Mere.
Male Crossbill (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
 Crossbill (c) 2017 Jane Robinson
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 Female Scaup (c) 2017 Mike Woods
Lack of Punctuation  (c) 2017 Mike Woods