Friday, 19 August 2016

Here's looking at You, Kid!

Yesterday afternoon a male Sparrowhawk popped in to the garden for a bath.  He didn't know that heavy rain was forecast today, and he would have unlimited water for the next 36 hours, or so!   He stayed for over 5 minutes, but was on the alert the whole time, looking for danger in every direction.   despite his vigilance, I was able to creep from the back of the room to almost to the front of the window, taking shots the whole time.  He appeared to have some brownish tail feathers in his tail, so he may not have been as mature as we originally suspected, but he was old enough to father a brood locally this year.
Despite looking through the double-glazing he hadn't spotted me
 Right profile
 Checking behind
 membrane coming over eyes for protection before a splash in the bath 
 Checking the rooftop
 Having a splash
White nape and back feathers, where outer feathers have been plucked off by thorns when chasing prey

 Thoroughly waterlogged

Monday, 8 August 2016

Spoonbills at Alkborough

Last week I visited Alkborough Flats, and was surprised to see as many as 11 Spoonbills.  This is the largest number of individuals I've seen on the Humber.  As you can see from some of the photos several of these were immature birds - the ones with black tips on their primaries.  These birds must have had a wonderful breeding season on the near continent, as prevailing winds can't be responsible for bringing quite so many of these strange looking birds to these shores.
All Spoonbill photos (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
My classes will be resuming towards the end of September and we will be visiting Alkborough, but it is very unlikely that the Spoonbill will still be there, so I let all my 'students' know about the birds, so they could visit to try and find them.  Several people have let me know that they've seen them including Jane, Pat, Dave & Joan from Friday mornings, Simon & Chris from Friday afternoons, and Lynn from Wednesday mornings.  They all saw more Spoonbills than I did, with the record currently standing at 15.
 Spoonbill, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit & Black-headed Gull
Same Species, plus a Cormorant
 Record Shot of Greenshank (c) 2016 Lynn Hall
 The Maze at Julian's Bower (c) 2016 Lynn Hall

Friday, 29 July 2016

Autumn Vacancies

These beauties are almost guaranteed this Autumn
Male Bearded Tit

Bookings have now opened for the 10-week Autumn term, which begins at the end of September.  At the time of writing there are a couple of vacancies on Wednesday afternoons, Friday afternoons, and Thursday afternoons.  There are fewer vacancies in the mornings. 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 looking for special migrants including: Redstarts, Whinchats, Wryneck, Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe and Hen Harriers.  Autumn is also the best time of year to enjoy really good views of Bearded tits, so we'll be going to see them. 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 includes mammals, and fungi with  in the early weeks 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 on the address at the top of these site.

Please find below a series of photographs taken during the last 2 years of the classes, and the vast majority of these from the Autumn.

Kingfisher (female)
 Family of Bearded Tits
 Ring Ouzel
 Rough-legged Buzzard
 Snow Bunting
 Starling Murmuration
 Water Rail
 Centi's warbler )left) and Bearded Tit
 Bewick's Swan
 Black-tailed Godwit [Archive photo]
Jack Snipe
 Great Grey Shrike 
 Pallas Warbler

Thursday, 21 July 2016

End of Term Specials

At the end of term I led a few one off visits to either rather special places or those that are a little further away.  From a photography point of view the final visit - to Thorne Moors - was probably the most rewarding with at least 4 Hobbies (all heading west) and a very obliging Turtle Dove.  There were plenty of interesting insects, and a rather shy Grasshopper Warbler.
Record Shot of Hobby
 Record shot of Hobby
 Turtle Dove
  Most Photogenic view of Thorne Moors (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Black & Yellow Longhorn Beetle
 Black & Yellow Longhorn Beetle (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Clouded Border Moth
 Clouded Border (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Wasps nest in a Gate's lock
 Emperor Dragonfly
 Hawker Sp.
 Large Skipper
 Sedge Warbler
 Large Hoverfly Sp.
 Diving Beetle
 Marbled Whites at Brockadale
 Yellow Shell at Brockadale
A week earlier we went to Wykeham Forest where the best birds included a hovering Bullfinch, a parachuting Tree Pipit and a soaring Goshawk. 
Hunting Bullfinch 
 Hovering Bullfinch (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Ditto (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Record Shot of Goshawk
 Parachuting Tree Pipit
 Tree Pipit
 Parachuting Tree Pipit
 Tree Pipit 
A week earlier we went to a brand new reserve near Driffield.  there wasn't many photo opportunities as we visited after a deluge of rain, but we were able to see the potential of this venue ready for proper visits next May.
Peacock Butterfly Caterpillars 
 Thorne Moors - Large Red Damselfly (c) 2016 Jane Robinson