Thursday, 18 December 2008

January Term - Booking Now!

Kingfisher - one of the birds we should see next term!
(c) 2008 Michael Flowers

I have started to take bookings for the New Year course starting week commencing 12th January 2009. We visit a different East Yorkshire hotspot each week and identify all the birds and as much other wildlife as we can. Each session lasts at least 2 hours. During the early weeks we will mainly visit wetland habitats near Beverley & Hull, but nearer spring we also travel to areas of woodland, especially as birdsong becomes more noticeable. If the weather is kind to us we will explore the extensive floodlands of the Lower Derwent Valley, and another trip is timed to coincide with the likelihood of observing the stunning Smew. We should also be able to observe several species of raptor towards the end of the course. The sessions are designed to suit a range of abilities, with beginners being especially welcome. The venues are carefully planned several months in advance, but if a golden opportunity to observe an iconic species occurs, then last-minute changes may be made to the itinerary. For instance, recently one week was cleared so everyone had the opportunity to watch Waxwings at close quarters - this was a new species for more than 80 course members! For those interested in taking up wildlife photography, you will be shown some of the best local sites to capture some special images of your favourite species.
The course runs twice daily Tuesday to Friday. At the moment only the Tues am & Weds am courses are full, but several others are almost at capacity. If you are interested in more details of the course, please leave a comment next to one of my posts or email me on

End of Term Catch-up - Potteric Carr

Kestrel (c) 2008 Jackie Dawson
Great Spotted Woodpecker (c) 2008 Jackie Dawson
Great Tit (c) 2008 Jackie Dawson
In the morning we had good views of Treecreeper, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goldcrest, while the afternoon provided Kingfisher, Siskin and plenty of fungi. Unfortunately, the compulsory Water Rail & Bittern seemed to have forgotten the rules, and refused to show!
That's it for the birdwatching classes in 2008 - let's hope for even better birds & a lot better weather in 2009!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Red Kite Special 3

Long-eared Owl (c) 2008 Chris Cox
At least 6 Red Kites in the sky at the same time today - the highest tally so far this week. I thought you may be getting a bit fed up of Red Kite pics, so here's something different. This image was taken on Chris Cox's local patch. Those of you who know Chris will probably realise where that is.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Red Kite Special 2

Red Kites

The Red Kite viewings weren't as frequent today, but we did have some near fly-pasts, although it was usually too close to the sun for decent pics. No Peregrine and fewer small passerines today, but the views of the Buzzards were superior to yesterday.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Red Kite Special 1

Goldcrest (c) 2008 Philip Hargreaves
Red Kite (c) 2008 Philip Hargreaves
All below record shots of Red Kites

(c) 2008 John Batham
(c) 2008 John Batham & below
A very enjoyable, if cold session, with at least 4 Red Kites, possibly more. A Peregrine fly past our viewpoint, and both Sparrowhawk and Kestrel also put in an appearance. In woodland nearby we had Bullfinch, Redwing, Goldcrest, Blue Tit & Goldfinch. On the route to the viewpoint were a plethora of Pheasants, a few Red-legged Partridge and yesterday at least 3 Grey Partridge. Fingers-crossed that the roads won't be so icy tomorrow!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Autumn Friday 10 - Allerthorpe Common

Friday am session enjoying mulled wine & mince pies
(c) 2008 Bob Silcock
Continuing the Christmas theme...
Blue Tit
Reed Bunting (male)
Although we dipped on the Crossbills, quite a productive day, with Green Woodpecker, Jay, both Willow & Marsh Tits, and very confiding Treecreepers and Goldcrests. Also identified Skylarks, Lesser Redpoll, and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Thanks to Pauline for the mince pies & Elizabeth for the very warming mulled wine - a very civilised way to conclude the Autumn Course. The best pictures were obtained at lunch time in the car park in rather poor light!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Autumn Wednesday 10 - Paull/Barn Owl Safari

Barn Owl

Bar-tailed Godwits
Bar-tailed Godwit
Fraction of a Golden Plover flock
Red-legged Partridge
The roads were too icy for the Roe Deer Rodeo this morning, so the hardy souls who turned up walked around Paull instead. The tide was on the turn, but we still managed good views of several species of wader, plus Wigeon and some passerines including Reed Bunting and a very foolhardy Chiffchaff. Miles & Tony did a recce of the Stone Creek roads at lunchtime, and the afternoon session followed in their wake. We had Little Egret, Red-legged Partridge, Redshank, Common Seal and eventually in the fading daylight managed a very close view of an extremely obliging Barn Owl.

Autumn Tuesday 10 - Potteric Carr

Water Rail
Water Rail (c) 2008 Chris Cox
Water Rail (c) 2008 Roy Cull
Water Rail (c) 2008 Roy Cull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woopecker (c) 2008 Chris Cox
Great Spotted Woodpecker (c) 2008 Roy Cull