Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A Quiet Day at Kiplingcotes

It was rather quiet at Kiplingcotes yesterday.  The Yellowhammers when we eventually found them were still in their winter flocks.  The Bullfinches were hard to find, and the Linnets hadn't returned yet.  We did see some Fieldfare, Red Kites and Buzzards, and we were caught in a snow shower.  Overall, still disappointing there this year.  A late highlight was a single Willow Tit feeding at the bottom of a hedge.  The only sign of approaching spring was an early returning Meadow Pipit.
All Photos (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
Male Yellowhammer
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Yellowhammers
 Reed Bunting
 Willow Tit

Monday, 2 March 2015

Bright on Top

On Friday we started well with 5 feeding Redpolls on the alder trees.  We saw plenty of Long-tailed Tits and came across 3 very vocal Water Rails, one of which walked across the path behind us. it was far too swift to photograph.  However, in complete contrast there was a very confiding Goldcrest, which was seen by both morning and afternoon sessions. 
Goldcrest
 Lesser Redpoll dropping a seed
 Goats
 Redshank
 Coltsfoot

Friday, 27 February 2015

Another Day, Another Solitary Redpoll

On Thursday because of an unpromising forecast we relocated to North Cave Wetlands. True to form it was rainy and blustery. We went the opposite way to normal to avoid the worse of the rain. There were Greenfinches, Goldfinches, and the usual suspects around the new feeding station. Peering across the water we could see Wigeon, Teal, Oystercatcher, some Snipe and a single Redshank. As we walked along to the first hide a pair of Song Thrushes were feeding in the grassy borders among Blackbirds and Robins. 

Hair raising - Lesser Redpoll

More Snipe were visible from the hide, and a Little Grebe in the far distance. As we approached Turret Hide we spotted a female Reed Bunting near the feeders. The Island Lake was full of Shelduck and Gadwall, as well as other wildfowl we had already seen.
Lesser Redpoll

 Ditto
 Ditto
We began a circuit round the back of the reserve, and saw a male Kestrel. The field on our right held a pair of Red-legged Partridge, plus plenty of Lapwing. Meanwhile on Reedbed Lake, a small group of Pochard added to the species tally. As the sky brightened a Skylark could only just be heard singing before the grey clouds and rain returned. 
Lesser Redpoll

The walk round the perimeter didn't add much new. The tardiest members of the group managed to spot a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Finally, when we were in South Hide a Pied Wagtail was heard flying over. The best bird of both morning and afternoon was again a solitary Redpoll, but this time it was pink. Overall, the group counter recorded 48 species during our visit.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Little Bird Lost

on Wednesday we travelled to the Vale of York.  Even though it was a beautiful day, winter was still firmly in control.  There was very little improvement since over a fortnight ago.  There were lots of Fieldfare in the field near the car park at the beginning of the morning session.  Yellowhammers had returned to their summer territories, but they had abandoned them by the afternoon.  Marsh Tits were around, but they were not as easy to see as they had been 2 weeks ago.     
Lesser Redpoll
 Ditto
 Ditto
The Green Woodpeckers were harder to locate with only a distant laughing heard during the morning, but nothing after lunch.  Before the second session the car park was alive with Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other.  
Reed Bunting
 Treecreeper
 Ditto
However, the bird of both the morning and afternoon was a solitary Lesser Redpoll plaintively looking for companionship.  In the morning it was in one of the Dog Mess Central areas, in the afternoon it came to see us near the pond.  Three Jays were present in the latter area after lunch, but we didn't get very close views. 
Dunnock
On Tuesday we had to contend with strong winds in the South Cave area, so these photos by Maggie seem almost miraculous in the circumstances!
Goldcrest (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Buzzard (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Fungi (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Colourful Times Ahead - Spring Bookings have Opened!

Bookings have now opened for the ever popular Spring Term.  100 species are expected including almost guaranteed sightings of the illustrated birds.   

At the time of writing there are a couple of vacancies on Tuesday mornings, and Friday afternoons, and a couple on Friday mornings. There are fewer vacancies on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you are interested in another session, please ask. For at least 2 hours a week encounter the natural world as a completely new sensual experience. You'll be amazed what you'll find just by listening, and not only be looking! In the Spring we'll be paying special attention to trying to see declining summer visitors including Turtle Doves, Cuckoos and Redstarts. We'll also be focussing on birdsong in general. The rest of the term will be spent, at some of the best and several unknown secret locations to visit in Spring. So, if you are interested in learning more about your local wildlife in beautiful and secluded venues for less than £10 a week, then this is the course for you! We visit a different local hotspot each week and identify all the birds and as much other wildlife as we can. This will include mammals, butterflies, dragonflies and wild flowers. The course runs twice daily Tuesday to Friday. If you are interested in more details of the course, or wish to be placed on a waiting list, please leave a comment next to one of my posts or email me 
Redstart
 Turtle Dove
 Kingfisher
 Cuckoo
 Puffin
 Green Woodpecker (c) 2014 Chris Cox
 Whitethroat

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Best Sort of Grey

On Saturday afternoon my oldest nephew wanted to show me his new Little Owl and Tawny Owl sites, but they failed to show.  Instead, we had to make do with a male Hen Harrier.  
Male Hen Harrier
 ditto
 ditto
 ditto
 ditto
ditto
 ditto
 ditto

ditto
On Friday we had our final visit to muddy Wassand.  Apart from the  Marsh Harrier, the colourful Jay in the afternoon was the most photogenic bird.  
Jay
 On a grey Thursday we crossed over the Humber Bridge, and quickly found a small flock of Redpolls, one of which was a very pink male.  Other birds included Goldeneye, Herons, a single Curlew, a large roosting group of Redshank and a very distant flock of Black-tailed Godwits. 
Lesser Redpoll 
 ditto
 Heron
 Redshank
 Curlew

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

In Flight Entertainment

Monday was beautiful and the forecast for Tuesday was pretty positive so, we went to Allerthorpe as planned. Unfortunately, a thick mist had rolled in overnight, and the journey was fraught with major hold-ups and thicker mist. It got particularly bad around Market Weighton, but luckily it actually lifted a little in the normally static Vale of York.

Barn Owl (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
The morning started well with Siskins flying over the car park, a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling nearby, and plenty of activity around the feeding station. Most of these were the common garden visitors: Great, Blue, and Coal Tits & Robins. However, the highlights were a few Marsh Tits and some very confiding Long-tailed Tits. 
Long-tailed Tits
 Marsh Tit
 Marsh Tit
 Marsh Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Long-tailed Tits (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Marsh Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Great Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Coal Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Blue Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 The woodland walk was very uneventful, but as soon as we came into the open I spotted a small bird of prey, whilst new boy Mark spotted a Green Woodpecker flying behind us, and which landed on a conifer, where it remained long enough for everyone to see it. Nearby another Green Woodpecker laughed on two occasions, but remained hidden from sight.
Green Woodpecker (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Ditto
We walked to the exercise bench, but the summer Yellowhammers were absent. We did see 5 Redwings, and a Kestrel, before we had a close view of a female Green Woodpecker. 
Female Green Woodpecker
 Record Shot of Female Green Woodpecker in flight
We travelled to the nature reserve, and visited the pond, but everything seemed really quiet. Then Maggie spotted a Barn Owl, which flew quite close to us, and was seen hunting for the next 10 minutes or so. Whist we were watching that at least 2 Jays came towards us - one disappeared across the main path, whilst the other went into the main woodland. 
Barn Owl (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Barn Owl
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Fungi (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Ditto
We returned to the car park using the path along the southern edge of the wood. The fields contained a few Fieldfare, and then we stopped by a large gate. It was here we caught sight of some large flocks of small birds in the various hedgerows. Some of these were definitely Chaffinches, but others were too far to be safely identified, but they could have been Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings. As we watched them 2 Buzzards flew towards us before landing in a tree near the possible Yellowhammers. 
Treecreeper (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 We carried on and had good views of two Treecreepers, but the Goldcrests were much harder to locate. Although the weather was disappointing, the birds we saw ensured that the two locals have decided not to cross it off their list of places to visit!
Poor Record Shot of Fleeing Roe Deer