Thursday, 8 December 2016

Another Day, More King fishers!

On Wednesday for the second consecutive day I had to leave at 7.30 in order to get through the Hull traffic to reach RSPB Fairburn Ings on time.  The weather was overcast at first, so wasn't really an awful lot better than the mist of the previous day.  However, the Kingfishers were still in evidence, so that helped brighten everyone's spirits.  Paradoxically, the Green Woodpeckers were harder to locate than they were in the fog, but we did see one a fair distance off.  The wildfowl was easier to see on the large lake, but wasn't particularly close.  In the afternoon Tony and other morning retainers went off to Lin Dyke where they enjoyed good views in better light of some Goosanders.  A nice end to the Wednesday term, and the Goosander and Willow Tit helped the am team attain the 100 species for the Autumn term.
All Goosander photos (c) 2016 Tony Robinson
Drake Goosander
 Female Goosander
Female Kingfisher
 Trying to Blend in
 Male Kingfisher
 Record shot of Green Woodpecker 3 miles away!
 Drake Goosander
 Cormorant - in Breeding Fettle!
 Female Bullfinch
 Redwing - with sun
 Redwing - without sun
 Red Kite

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Farewell Maggie, You will be Missed!

Today, for our final Tuesday morning of 2016 we travelled all the way to RSPB Fairburn Ings, which we should have visited last week, but illness intervened.  I set off just after 7.30 because of the misty conditions, and the traffic in Hull seems to be getting worse every week.  After leaving the M62 the mist turned into thick fog, so the prospects seemed rather bleak.  This was also Maggie's final class, so the photos here are a showcase of her talents.  Just look at the feather detail in the Kingfisher and Nuthatch - especially when you think how dark the conditions were today.
All photos (c) 2016 Maggie Bruce 
 As we gathered in the car park 2 Nuthatches flew overhead making their way to the feeding station.  There were also some nasal sounds from the hedge in the car park, which emanated from a Willow Tit - perhaps it was going to be a little more promising after all.  Finally, we had three different flyovers in the mist of Green Woodpeckers, all heading into the reserve.  At the feeders a male Reed Bunting was paddling about on the concrete and 3 Willow Tits were in evidence, including one very strangely-plumaged individual.  Pat had a very confiding Robin on her hand both here, and in the reserve later on.
Female Kingfisher - note the lipstick
 Pickup Hide was disappointing, as there was conservation work going on in the area, but Willow Tits and Reed Buntings were still in evidence.  As we walked to the Kingfisher screen we found a few Lesser Redpolls, but they were at the top of Silver Birches, and their colours couldn't really be discerned in the foggy gloom.  A male Kingfisher was behind the screen, and when we returned later there was a pair and the female in particular came very close.

We walked to the highest point, and on the way enjoyed good views of a pair of Green Woodpeckers hopping around on the ground.  One of them landed on a fence, and later on a branch of a Silver Birch.  It also flew across a wide area with us looking down on it, from which we could admire its bright yellow rump, red head and green upperparts.  Many participants were able to say that these were the best and longest views of a Yaffle that they had ever enjoyed.  Later, this was matched with the prolonged and close views of the female Kingfisher.  
Record Shot of Green Woodpecker through the mist
The walk to the Bob Dickens hide resulted in drake Goosanders, and a very smart Goldeneye.  There were Pochard, Teal, Shoveler and Great Crested Grebes on the large lake, but the mist hampered further viewing.

When the light conditions are so bad, it's still possible to photograph birds around the feeding stations as these photos show:
Willow Tit
 Willow Tit
 Tree Sparrow
 Coal Tit
 Great Tit

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Under the Weather

Last week was a week like no other in the past 14 years.  Around lunch time on Monday I began to feel a little queasy, and shortly afterwards I was violently ill, which lasted the remainder of the day.  I knew I wouldn't be able to make it to RSPB Fairburn Ings, so the Tuesday group was altered to North Cave Wetlands.  Unfortunately, I felt worse after trying to eat breakfast on the Tuesday, so I couldn't make it to North Cave either.  Luckily, Steve is a regular there, and he took everyone around.  They managed to see 45 species including a Bar-headed Goose, Herons, Little Egrets,  Snipe, Redwings, Fieldfare, and plenty of other stuff.  No one had a camera, so all the NCW pictures are from North Cave Wetlands later in the week
Marsh Harriers (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
Because the weather was beautiful on Wednesday the 7-times postponed class to Alkborough Flats was able to go ahead.  I'm afraid I again felt ill after breakfast, so I was able to meet the others in the car park, and set them on their way, but then had to return home to use the facilities.  John was able to arbitrate, whilst the others worked in collaboration to ensure the correct ID was arrived at.  Of course most birds were identified correctly, although one participant did reveal that some LBJs remained unidentified.
Little Egret (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart 
 Snipe (c) 2016 Tony Robinson
 Snipe (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
 Black-tailed Godwit (c) 2016 Tony Robinson 
 Record shot of Spotted Redshank
Marsh Harrier (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
 Reed Buntings (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
 Teal (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
 Fungi (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
On Thursday I realised that after breakfast I wouldn't be able to make it to Potteric Carr, so the venue was switched to North Cave Wetlands.  This time I was well enough to accompany the group, but I had to rush home during the lunch hour.  

We managed to see 57 species in the morning, with another 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  The am group couldn't remember seeing a Magpie, but I'm sure they did, so the real tally was probably 57.  We saw most of the birds the Tuesday group did, but we were also lucky enough to see the Mandarin.  The Friday group was a repeat of the Thursday with a similar amount of bird species seen.  This is the first time a whole week of bird photographs have been added, but with none of them taken by myself.  I'm hoping that for the final week, I will be able to carry my camera again.  

Goldfinches (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Great Spotted Woodpecker [male] (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 'Leucitic' (?) Blackbird (c) 2016 Dick Watson
 'Russian Blackbird' (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Bullfinch (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Goldcrest (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
  Little Egrets & Cormorant (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Mandarin (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Mandarin (c) 2016 Dick Watson
 Immature Mute Swan (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Mute Swans (c) 2016 Dick Watson
 Pochard (c) 2016 Dick Watson
 Redwing (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Make Kestrel (c) 2016 Margaret Richardson
 Siskin (c) 2016 Dick Watson
 Siskin (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Snipe (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Snipe (c) 2016 Dick Watson
 Song Thrush (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Teal (c) 2016 Dick Watson
 Record Shot of Bar-headed Goose (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Ladybird on Teazle
 Herons (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
Heron (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Heron [with photo-bombers!] (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Heron (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
(c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart