Saturday, 31 October 2009

Return of the Woodcock

Woodcock - one taken earlier this year
Shaggy Ink Caps
aka Lawyers' Wigs
Common Ink Cap
Member of Milk Cap family?
Fairy Caps
Fairy Caps
Sulphur Tuft
Great that the Woodcocks are back. It's a subtly marked enigmatic bird to have so close to home every Autumn. 3 flew up from under the same Lime tree; whilst a 4th was under a nearby tree, which was in a completely different direction from that which the others flew off from. Shame that instead of taking a photo of the longest-sitting bird, I tried to ensure 10-year-old Ben saw it too. Of course, it flew off before he could catch sight of it on the ground, and before I even attempted to take its picture. While looking for more there was plenty of different fungi species to divert the eye. Also present, a flock of 200 Starlings - quite unusual round here these days. There were at least 27 Carrion Crows, 3 Magpies, a Song Thrush, a pair of Great Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Splash of Colour

Even a King has to Poop!
Great Black-backed Gulls
Orange-Peel Fungus
Common Toad
Went to a reserve to which I'll be taking the classes in the next few weeks. The Kingfisher was very obliging, but didn't stay long, and of course Ben didn't want to wait for it to come back. Are all ten-year-old this patient? There were many more sorts of fungi than a few weeks ago, and the Parasols in the car park should look excellent in a few days time. The Orange-Peel Fungs probably won't survive, as it is growing on the path to one of the most popular hides at the moment! The Common Toad was crossing the main road to the reserve, and should survive this time, as I picked it up & moved it to the side of the road it was heading for. As I was leaving there were plenty of Great Black-Backed Gulls, some Red-legged Partridges, a pair of Yellowhammers and a Buzzard.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Jack's All Right!

Jack Snipe (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Jack Snipe (c) 2009 Mick Sharpe
Jack Snipe (c) 2009 Mick Sharpe
Snow Bunting (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Redwing (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Redwing (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Redshank (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Stonechat (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Stonechat [female] (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Water Rail (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Water Rail (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Turnstone (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Turnstones & Dunlin [front] (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Turnstones & Redshank [behind] (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Knot under Rigg (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Brent Geese (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Last Wednesday’s classes were washed-out, so they were re-arranged for today. It was an amazingly warm day for late October with the morning being especially fine. Some Siskins flew past before the class started, and there was a report of Twite among some Linnets. A late ordinary Swallow (sigh) was near the car park! However, the bird of the morning was definitely the Jack Snipe, which was a new bird for 66.6% of the class. I’m pretty sure it’s also the 1st Jack Snipe we’ve ever had in 6 years of these courses! Thanks to David Constantine & the other bloke for helping us get on to the static bird. It was great to see the size contrast, as it was stood next to a Common Snipe! 2 Water Rails were also present, which showed fairly well. We went elsewhere on the site, and noted plenty of Stonechats, several Redwing, Blackbirds and Fieldfare. We sneaked past the film crew, which were interviewing the Lifeboat staff. Travelling back we had good views of c50 Brent Geese. We popped back in to see if the Jack Snipe was showing any better – it was performing its classic bobbing up and down feeding action – the 1st time I’ve had a good view of that, and a Redshank came very close to the hide. The afternoon session started with reports of both Snow Buntings and Richards Pipit being in the area – we went for the Snow Bunting, but just missed it! 2 Water Rails were on show again, but the Snipe had disappeared. As the tide was coming in we tried for the waders, and although the light was tricky, and the tide not particularly high we saw: Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Golden, Grey & Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Knot, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Cormorant and several Stonechats again. Brian wasn’t here today, but there must have been at least 40 species on show.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Farewell to Normanby

Jay (c) 2009 Richard Hampshire
Red Deer Stag (c) 2009 Pat Crofton
Young Red Deer Stags (c) 2009 David Ware
Another Stag
Fallow Deer - one of each
Fallow Buck
Long-tailed Tit
Fairy Cap?

Our final visit to Normanby had all the usual ingredients. The Red Deer rut seems to be over, but this time the Fallow Deer were growling for the first time. Jays were everywhere as on previous visits, but we did have a few closer views on this occasion. Redpolls flew over a couple of times & Pat C saw some Siskins & Nuthatches. The rest of the group eventually saw a Treecreeper. We had good, if brief, sightings of Green Woodpecker, and a more distant view of a Great Spotted, but their scarcer cousin failed to show. The Bullfinches didn't really play ball this time, but we did have better views of Redwings & Goldcrests. Also present: Mistle Thrush, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Skylark etc. A very enjoyable venue, especially with exclusive access to areas not normally open to the public.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Top Notch

Water Rail (c) 2009 Jackie Dawson
Water Rail
Kingfisher (female)
Record shot of Kingfisher
Wren (c) 2009 Jackie Dawson
Great Tit
Treecreeper (c) 2009 Jackie Dawson
Black-headed Gull
A Cetti's Warbler was recorded at this location yesterday, but there was no sign of it today. However, there were 2 Kingfishers, 2 Water Rails and plenty of Wrens at the same hide. There were also 2 Water Rails at a different hide. We saw 4 different Treecreepers around the reserve and plenty of Goldcrests. The wasp's nest was starting to decay, and the first stirrings of Orange-Peel Fungus were beginning to emerge. Something frightened all the wildlfowl off the large reserve, but we were unable to track down a raptor. Overall, we must have seen or heard about 40 species - plus the weather was kind to us. The rain didn't start until the class had finished.