Monday, 17 September 2018

Two Days in Blacktoft makes a Hard Man Humble

The Thursday and Friday sessions started earlier than the other classes this term.  Both of them went to RSPB Blacktoft Sands.  The Thursday 1m group encountered 37 species, whilst the Friday am group did even better - 41 species seen, and another two heard.  I'm afraid I have no figures for either pm session.  Many hides looked out onto a little water and vast areas of mud, but Marshland made up for it.  We had close views of Ruff, Snipe with more distant views of Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, ordinary Redshank and Teal.  The Friday group did see a huddled figure of a Curlew sandpiper.  However, Wednesday stalwart came to Blacktoft under his own steam a day before we visited and managed some good views of this species, which has been elusive for many groups.  - photos below.  Other highlights included Thursday mornings Bearded Tits, which kept flying high before plunging down back into the reeds.  Another star bird was an immature peregrine which powered through the reserve on Thursday morning.  
Ruff (male)
 Immature Reeve
 Male Ruff (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
Immature Ruff (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Curlew Sandpiper (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Bearded Tit
 Green Sandpiper
Size comparison Ruff v Dunlin
 Dunlin (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Lapwing (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Lapwing, Redshank, Spotted Redshank
 Yellow Wagtail
 Meadow Pipit
 Marsh Harrier (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Common Darter
 Roe Deer
Green Sandpiper (c) 2018 Mike Woods
Yellow Wagtail (c) 2018 Mike Woods 
 Pied Wagtail (c) 2018 Mike Woods
 Konik Ponies
Meanwhile, in Ossett there were some fine opportunities, as you can see below. 
Kingfisher (c) 2018 Mike Woods
Little Egret (c) 2018 Mike Woods 
 Mink (c) 2018 Mike Woods

Monday, 3 September 2018

Autumn Term Starts Soon

My Autumn classes resume in a fortnight's time.  We will be making a special effort to try and see Bearded Tits, which are doing well on the humber.  I suspect they've had a good breeding season, and I even saw some in the afternoon last week, which bodes well. 
Bearded Tit
Last Autumn was rather poor for Short-eared Owls, but this year the early indications are we are going to be falling over them this Autumn!  Fingers-crossed!  We are certainly going to a few locations, where we should see them if they do arrive in numbers this year.
Short-eared Owl
Last Autumn we endured a similar situation with Hen Harriers.  I have already seen a beautiful male this Autumn, so I have great hopes that we will see them in reasonable numbers in a few weeks' time.
Female Hen Harrier
 Male Hen Harrier
Numbers of Rough-legged Buzzards seem to fluctuate from year-to-year, but if they are around, we will do our best to connect with them. 
Rough-legged Buzzard
Barn Owl numbers have never recovered from the winter of 2010, and the Beast from the East won't have done them any favours.  However, we are going to good Barn Owl venues, so we should see them.
Barn Owl (c) 2018 Chris Cox
Autumn is usually a good time to see waders, and we are visiting wader venues at high tide to observe them.  We are blessed with several good sites on the estuary, so we will try and see Black-tailed Godwits, Golden Plovers, Ruff, Dunlin and Knot.  if we see pectoral sandpipers or other transatlantic vagrants then they will be a bonus.

A summary of what to expect on the Autumn course is given below:
At the time of writing there are a couple of vacancies on Wednesday afternoons followed by Thursday afternoons and Friday afternoons.  I'm afraid I cannot take any more bookings on the Tuesday morning or Friday morning sessions. 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 by looking! In the Autumn we'll be paying special attention to migrating birds and waders. If you want help sorting out your Dunlin from your Knot, and pointing out the differences between singing Black-tailed Godwit and Bar-tailed Godwits then this is the place to be. We are going to locations where you will hopefully see and not just hear Bearded Tits and Water Rails. Towards Christmas we will also make a special trip on the wolds to encounter large birds of prey. 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 also includes mammals, and fungi with butterflies, and dragonflies in the warmer months. 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 contact me on either the email or mobile details at the head of the page.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

2019 Wildlife Calendars ready

My new 2019 Yorkshire Wildlife Calendar is ready!
Barn Owl (c) 2018 Chris Cox

A unique feature of the calendar is that it includes 300+  lines of info of what wildlife to see, & when & where to see it.
My new 2019 Yorkshire Wildlife Calendar is hot off the press. It features photos of Barn Owls, Wheatear, Greenshank, Kestrel, Great Crested Grebe, Whitethroat, Redstart, Shoveler, Marsh Harrier, and a Yellowhammer.    
Marsh Harrier

All photos were taken in Yorkshire, quite a few of them during my birdwatching classes either by myself or people who have been on my course including 2 by Chris Cox.  Cost £9.26 for 1 (incl P & P) to UK addresses only.  Cost £8 if collecting in person [2 calendars are £17.65, and 3 calendars are £26.25 by post]