Sunday, 4 March 2012

An On & Off Spring

On Friday we went to an area of the north Wolds. The morning started well in slightly misty conditions with fairly close views of a Red Kite, a female Kestrel and then a Buzzard. We also enjoyed several excellent close-ups of various Treecreepers. A Mistle Thrush serenaded us on and off throughtout the morning, and other passerines included Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tits. There were some frantic calls of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, but the birds themselves were only glimpsed briefly on the tree-tops before they flew off. A Sparrowhawk was soaring in upward spirals until it disappeared from view. One disappointment was the lack of Marsh Tits, which used to be guaranteed in this area. The group had to be satisfied with views of Coal Tits instead. A couple of dark blue Pheasants showed that a darker strain had been introduced since our previous visits. The raptors were slightly more difficult to observe on this occasion as the whole site was swirling with Black-head & Common Gulls, plus very noisy Jackdaws & Rooks. The afternoon was cloudier and cooler than the morning, and several Marsh Tits were heard and even sighted. At least 2 Red Kites and 2 Buzzards were seen. The afternoon participants were probably most impressed by a Little Owl, which I pointed out to them. It looked like a bump on a tree at first, but eventually they discerned its distinctive shape!

Coal Tit
Red Kite
The Thursday session visited Blacktoft Sands, where there were plenty of duck species, but not a single wader – the legacy of the bad weather the other week. There were a few Marsh Harriers, which are always worth watching. Some ponies from Poland were the only things worth seeing near the Ousefleet hide, so it was a long walk for very little reward.


Coots - doing what they do best - just wish more of these encounters were fatal
Immature Mute Swans
Darker Pheasant
Remains of the Hornets' Nest

The tutor wasn’t late on Wednesday, but he was still the last to arrive. The activity round the feeding area was frantic, with some great views of Marsh Tits, but the Rats were an unwelcome addition. The day was overcast, so there were no snake sightings, and the am session only had a brief glimpse of flying Crossbils, but the afternoon group had prolonged views of a pair of them at the top of the conifers.

Yellowhammer (c) 2012 Aileen Urquhart
Redpoll (c) 2012 Aileen Urquhart
Rat (c) 2012 Aileen Urquhart
Record shot of a Jay (c) 2012 Aileen Urquhart

The week didn’t start too well with the tutor getting lost, but then three others did too. The early arrivals checked the lake in the car park, and saw Oystercatcher, Teal, Lapwing. One of the lost rang to say she had arrived, and as I took the call I could hear a Woodlark. When then saw a couple one & off all morning. The pm session enjoyed the feeding station birds, which included Long-tailed Tit, and Reed Buntings as well as the commoner bird table visitors. Apparently a Redpoll had come down for a drink when the morning group passed that way. Both groups encountered Green Woodpeckers, and the Woodlark were seen very briefly performing their bat-like flights above the birch-tops.

Reed Bunting (c) 2012 John Sparham
Reed Bunting (c) 2012 John Sparham
Incomplete Long-tailed Tit Nest (c) 2012 John Sparham
Shoveler (c) 2012 John Sparham
Willow Tit (c) 2012 John Sparham
The Ubiquitous Bird of the Day!

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