Saturday, 31 March 2012
Friday, 30 March 2012
Thursday, 29 March 2012
I was surprised to hear the sub-song of a Blackcap yesterday outside the South Lagoon hide at Tophill Low. The Blackcap has one of the most energetic and beautiful songs of our summer migrants. I don’t normally hear my first of the year until 6th-9th April, so this individual was very early. He was even close enough to photograph. There were plenty of Chiffchaffs singing and some noisy, squabbling Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and good numbers of Peacock butterflies sunning themselves. The Little Grebes seemed to be in full breeding plumage & EVEN Mallards looked quite smart.
The Blackcap is a warbler, and if you are interested in trying to get good views of what many people seem to consider quite a difficult family, we will be spending quality time with at least 7 species of warbler next term. We will also be identifying any butterflies, mammals, dragonflies, flowers or fungi we encounter during our walks.
I’ve now begun to take bookings for next term. There are plenty of vacancies on Tuesday afternoons, and a few on Friday afternoons, but most of the other sessions are almost at capacity. If you want more details, please see the panel at the top right of this blog.
Here is what Pam Eldred, a relative newcomer to the course, says of the classes:
Monday, 26 March 2012
Saturday, 24 March 2012
The Friday session ventured into South Yorkshire to a site they’d never visited before. Although we didn’t see anything really outstanding the participants were impressed with this new location. We did manage to see a brimstone, a Peacock and in the afternoon a Comma. The basking female Adder was a bonus for those who missed the 4 Adders the previous Friday. There were a pair of Mistle Thrushes in the paddock, but no sign of any early returning Wheatears or Ring Ouzels.
On Thursday we travelled to the north wolds and the morning group saw one large Sparrowhawk displaying followed by 2 others. We also encountered a couple of Red Kites, and several Buzzards. Others birds seen included Green Woodpeckers, which may have ejected a Little Owl from its nest-hole, plus a Treecreeper, Mistle Thrushes, Marsh Tits and a very confiding Goldcrest.
On Wednesday the groups walked the complete length of Flamborough Head. The morning group was rewarded with amazing close views of an acrobatic male raptor. Meanwhile the supermarket workers had been very busy since the previous week, as the shelves were now well stocked with Kittiwakes, Razorbills and to a lesser extent Guillemots. There were also many more Puffins than usual, probably because they had just returned to the cliffs, and weren’t hidden away incubating an egg. There were also plenty of small passerines including Yellowhammers, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. The one spring migrant seen was a Wheatear among some WW2 buildings.
On Tuesday a few people turned up for Potteric Carr – the turnout was much better for the afternoon session than the one in the morning. The weather was excellent & wildlife was also pretty good with Tuesday’s 1st Brimstone, Peacock & Comma butterflies of the year, plus several singing Chiffchaffs. At least 2 pairs of Long-tailed Tits were seen nest-building & the bird feeding station was a lot quieter now that the weather has improved. A Grass Snake was spotted by both groups – this was my first ever at this site, but won’t be the last, as I now know where to look. Although Spring seemed to have finally sprung there was also a relic of winter - a single Whooper Swan was spotted by the afternoon group.