Normally, we visit 4 different locations in a week of classes, but last week we only visited two. The weather was grey & misty, especially during the morning so there weren't as many chances of photography as usual.
On Tuesday & Thursday we visited Potteric Carr. There were an amazing amount of grown adults clamouring for a sighting of a Bean Goose! This is a family, which has all the charismatic appeal of watching paint dry. Anyway, these geese were too far to visit within our 2-hour time frame There were some incredibly rude photographers in the feeding station hide. They piled all their gear & clothing on the bench behind them & even though there was standing room only, they never offered to move it to allow any OAPs to sit down. Of course the OAPs were too polite to ask them to shift it!
The mild weather seemed to have prevented the usual sightings. There were only single flyovers of Redpolls & Siskins instead of the large flocks you expect at this time of year. Piper Marsh was almost completely drained, so there was no chance of Bittern here. Even the Kingfisher which can usually be guaranteed at this site, was only seen by the Tues pm session. The bird of the reserve was a drake Pintail, which was glimpsed by every class which visited.
The Wednesday & Friday sessions went to a location on the wolds. The morning groups shared cars to a water area & then on to the Red Kite Roost, whilst the pm sessions spent their whole time in the company of the Kites. Each morning was enlivened by Water Rails - 3 different individuals were heard on the Weds am - but other birds seen included Bullfinches, Grey Wagtail, Marsh Tit, Yellowhammers, Red-legged Partridges, Fieldfare, Redwing, Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tits & a Coal Tit.
Birds seen at the Red Kite Roost other than the kites included: Buzzards, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Brambling, and a local rarity - Nuthatch - first spotted by Les. A Little Owl was heard 'barking' in the distance on one of the days, and a Siskin flew over. It was a little windier on Friday & 12 Red Kites were seen in the sky at the same time, but if we had stayed after 3.30 then I'm sure we'd have seen even more.
One of the 12 Red Kites
Sticking its Tongue Out
Female Bullfinch Stretching for a Bud
Distant Water Rail
Willow Tit [left] & Great Tit
Possibly Aniseed Funnel [Clitocybe odora - thanks to Nick Cantle]
Great Spotted Woodpecker
'Brain' Fungus (?)
Dog Vomit Fungus (?)
Yellow Slime Fungus