Friday, 27 November 2009

Two into One

Red-necked Phalarope (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Bearded Tits
Bearded Tit
Ruff (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Willow Tit
Broadband didn’t seem to be working yesterday, so yesterday's & today’s sightings are amalgamated under the same entry. For once, we were at the same location for 2 consecutive days. Both Thurs sessions started well with the beardies showing clearly for all participants. The Red-necked Phalarope also performed for both sessions. Only the Bittern let things down with no showing after the reeds it had been using to conceal itself had been cut down. Other birds seen included a couple of Willow Tits, Redwings, Curlew, and Redshank. We were upstairs in one hide while a photographer downstairs snapped what he thought was a Wren, but it turned out to be a Cetti’s Warbler! Friday was almost completely different. The weather was better but the Bearded Tits weren’t seen between 8.45 am & 1.30pm. The Red-Necked Phalarope was seen by most, but not all participants, and we missed the Bittern by 10 minutes! Golden Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits and a very confiding Ruff were new birds added to the mix. It does look as the winter progresses that the Bearded Tits are becoming less reliable bankers!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Fungus Galore - & Bittern

Bittern (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Bittern (c) 2009 Tony Robinson - having a shake!
Bittern (c) 2009 Tony Robinson
Bittern (c) 2009 Michael Flowers - out again in very poor light
Bittern (c) 2009 Michael Flowers - now it's raining
Goldfinch (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Sessile Earthstar Geastrum fimbriatum
Common Earthstar Geastrum triplex
Russula sp.
Russula Sp.
Puffball sp. (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart Russula sp. (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Milk cap family? (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart
Glistening Ink Cap (c) Aileen Urquhart
Common Ink Cap (c) 2009 Aileen Urquhart

Common Earth-ball

Fly Agaric
Candlesnuff Fungus or Stagshorns
Hoof Fungus

Les Ellis or Dave Stevenson?
Birch Polypore
This afternoon was the first time we had to leave a Bittern - it had been showing for well over half-an-hour. The rain had set in, and the light was going, so we had to set off back to the visitor centre. There was also a second bird at the back of Piper Marsh. That was the bird highlight of the afternoon, but the fungi on the way were extraordinary, both in the number of species and the quantity of each. This is the first time we'd come across Earthstars. It was another blustery day with most of the best small birds seen in the morning. The Redpolls were elusive this time, but there was a single Siskin. Mother drain was very cloudy, which may be why the Kingfisher is no longer present.

Wind Avoidance Again

Bullfinch (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
All remaining photos on this post (c) 2009 Howie Speight
Goldcrest Blackbird
Sulphur Tuft?
Pale Form of Turkeytails?
King Alfred's Cakes
Snakeskin Maple?
Ash Keys - the staple winter diet of the Bullfinch
The forecast for yesterday was horrendous again, so we tried the underground location, and had no trouble with the wind. It wasn't as wet as forecast, and the wind certainly didn't seem as if it was gale force! We were rewarded with very close views of Treecreepers and Goldcrests. Mistle & Song Thrushes were additional birds since last week. We also had good views of the Bullfinches, but they were definitely easier to see in the morning. There was no sign of either the Common or Shaggy Ink caps - so, they'd either shrivelled away, or someone had picked them! Only a few weeks left of this term, and no sign that the weather will improve!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Not So Old Rope

All Red-necked Phalarope shots (c) 2009 Vince Cowell
Red-necked Phalarope
A more typical pose
Bearded Tit shots (c) 2009 Michael Flowers
Looks great from a distance - but eyes a bit creepy close-up!
The reason it needs the grit
Although my cold hasn't completely gone, I risked the inclement weather to try & photograph the Red-Necked Phalarope now the vast crowds have dispersed. It wasn't there when I arrived at about 9am, but Lawts had seen it fairly close, so while he went to look for the Beardies I stayed with a couple of East Yorkshire-ites to wait for high tide. It reappeared about 15 minutes later, as it could be glimpsed in a patch of threadbare reeds, busily pecking at the exposed mud. It played cat and mouse with us for some time, but as the tide continued to come in, it came down to the channel opposite & spent a good five minutes preening. When it finished cleaning itself, it was very busy & hardly stopped for a second in the awkward lighting conditions. The wind was still pretty ferocious after last night's gales, so once it had again retreated behind the reeds, I'd spent over an hour there in an unpleasant wind, so decided to retreat back to the Beardies. I took my place at the boardwalk/gravel path junction whilst a white-haired chap was ready on the boardwalk. I had been there less than 10 minutes when I spotted 2 birds in the reedbed on the left, so signalled the other chap, and he'd just set up his camera when first the female then a male bird came out. The male was showing really well, when a burke in a high-visibility top (and bins!) bustled right past them, frightening them away & asked if they were about!!! He stayed less than 2 minutes before bustling back. The last I saw of one was a male as it flew south over the boardwalk a few minutes later. Lawts & pal came in for a few minutes, but decided to go back for the Phalarope. Dave Mansell arrived and gave some very valuable insights into the birdlife of the Scarborough area. We waited approximately another hour, but the birds didn't return. I sloped off back home, while Dave went to try for the Phalarope, and possibly the Beardies later in the day. I hope he got some good shots. My very grateful thanks to Vince Cowell for allowing me to share his Phalarope pics from yesterday - when the bird seems to have been incredibly confiding - enjoy!