Friday, 17 January 2020

Week 2 of 2020

On Tuesday we returned on a very blustery day to Sewerby.  It wasn't windy on the beach.  High tide was supposed to be at 7am, but at 9.30 the tide was still in, so presumably it was a very high tide.  We went round the grounds first then returned to the beach when the tide had gone out.  The Great Crested Grebes were still on the sea. there were quite a few Oystercatchers, but only 2 Turnstones. We didn't see any other waders.
Female Goosander
 Great Crested Grebes
 Feral Pigeon
Snowdrops and Winter Aconites
On Wednesday we went to East Park in Hull
Jay (c) 2020 Aileen Urquhart
Mistle Thrush
Mistle Thrush (c) 2020 Aileen Urquhart
Goldfinch (c) 2020 Aileen Urquhart
For the President of M.A.S.
 Ring-necked Parakeet
Ring-Necked Parakeet (c) 2020 Tony Robinson
Tufted Ducks
 Drake Tufted Duck
Female Tufted Duck 
 Drake Goosander
 Goosanders Scrap
 Drake Goosander 
Drake Goosander (c) 2020 Tony Robinson
 Drake Wing Markings
Coot Feet (c) 2020 Aileen Urquhart
Great Crested Grebe
 Stock Dove
Some of the morning group went on to North Cave Wetlands and had good views of Green Woodpecker and Rooks.  
Green Woodpecker (c) 2020 Tony Robinson
 Rook (c) 2020 Tony Robinson
 Wallaby & Joey (c) 2020 Aileen Urquhart
On Thursday we had our first visit of the year to the Yorkshire Wolds.  Some people from Beverley had seen some Red Kites on roadkill as they came into the village.  We shared cars past the beaters lining up ready for a shoot - not ideal!  We walked down the hill and heard a Green Woodpecker laughing and observed a few Red Kites launching themselves into the air from various trees.  We walked into the neighbouring village, where new boy Jeremy spotted a female Bullfinch just outside a garden, we then spotted 2 more females and a well-concealed male.  
 Female Bullfinch 

We travelled through the local plantation to view the habitual Tawny Owl which was snoozing outside its presumably fetid nest-hole.  Outside we had good views of a Goldcrest, which then flew back across the road to where the Bullfinches had been until they were frightened off by a reversing Rix tanker.  We walked along the main road for a while but mainly encountered Tree Sparrows.  When the tanker had gone we walked to our usual vantage point, but this time it was almost bereft of birds, although a Sparrowhawk was seen flying over the trees on the hilltop.
Tawny Owl
 As we returned towards the bridge four white rumps were observed, and three of these were Bullfinches again, but one belonged to a Brambling.  When we got to the bridge it was in the leaf litter among mainly female Chaffinches.  A Treecreeper was heard and then seen climbing up a smoothish beech and then a fissured oak.  
House Sparrow
On the journey up the hill I found a female Kestrel perched on top of a hawthorn bush.  We carried on past the cars and again saw a few Bramblings.  We were now among the shoot, but we did eventually see a Marsh Tit.  
White Pheasant - same species as normal Phez
In the afternoon we went in our own cars and parked in the village, had a wander in the same places as in the morning, and then we walked up to Bratt Wood, and explored a possible new venue for the Spring.  
On Friday we visited North Duffield Carrs for the first time this year.  I wasn’t expecting too much, as we had a report from a local that this was the one place in the Lower Derwent Valley completely bereft of birds supposedly because the water was too deep.
Whooper Swans
 Ditto [immature on left]
As it turned out there was quite a lot to see, although it was pretty distant.  A singing Skylark in the car park was a real tonic before we started, and a single Fieldfare flew across the adjacent field and then on to the main site. We saw nearly 100 hundred Whooper Swans in total including several family groups flying south.  There were dozens of Wigeon grazing on the bank, plus smaller numbers of Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Mallard on the water.  To the right on a more distant inundation were good numbers of Whooper Swans and Pat spotted a Black Swan.  This may have been the same bird we saw here two years ago.
Whooper Swans and Greylags (c) 2020 Jane Robinson
 Whooper Swans (c) 2020 Jane Robinson
However, the heart-thumping highlight for me came when I turned the handle of the far hide.  A Barn Owl had obviously taken up residence in the hide and banged its head on one of the glass windows.  I left the door open and retreated to give it chance to make its exit.  However, a pane of glass was missing, and that’s how it escaped from the hide.  

On the walk between the hides we saw several Bullfinches, a single Stonechat and half a dozen Reed Buntings. We went on to Bubwith Bridge at the end of the morning session.  There were more Whooper Swans and these were fairly vocal, which was very evocative in the wind and rain. Two Kestrels seemed to fly into each other in this area and a Pied Wagtail flew over. 
Heron (c) 2020 Jane Robinson
Black-headed Gulls on a Hay Bale (c) 2020 Jane Robinson
The big highlight in the afternoon were the three Stonechats feeding in the field containing the strip of weeds. 

 In the rain
Whooper Swans at Aughton Ings  (c) 2020 Mike Woods
I visited Aughton Church in my lunch hour by following Jane & Pat.  The main route was closed, and after a diversion down a very narrow and then rough lane we parked in the very limited space available.  There were quite a lot of Whooper Swans at closer quarters than we’d seen them so far, plus our first Greylag Geese.  Unfortunately, it was pouring with rain at the time, so the time spent there was extremely limited. 
Towards Sunset (c) 2020 Mike Woods