The past week wasn't the greatest for photo opportunities. Tuesday should have featured a visit to the South Bank, but strong winds curtailed this trip, and North Cave Wetlands was lousy for taking pictures - none survive from that trip. It was windy again at Tophill Low, so there weren't that many chances of taking photos of the best birds 300+ House Martins and 3 Chiffchaffs. The wind was blowing straight into North Marsh, so there was very little chance that the Kingfisher would be on its perch, and we had a fruitless vigil. As the morning session was about to end attention was drawn to a small feisty raptor attacking & being mobbed by Crows. At first it seemed to be a young Hobby, but the wings weren't swept back enough and on one occasion its role was taken over by a male Sparrowhawk which was noticeably larger and broader-winged. Then when the first bird passed behind some dark vegetation and flipped over, so we could see from its front that it was a female Merlin. She then flew higher right through the large flock of House Martins a couple of times before she singled one out. Needless to say the House Martin easily managed to evade her attentions.
On Thursday and Friday we travelled to Fairburn Ings. The Lin Dike area was supposedly flooded, so we walked from the Visitor Centre to Bob Dickens Hide. The Thurs pm & Friday am groups were the only 2 which were rewarded with the immature male Kingfisher, although a Thurs am 'student' remained behind if only to prove that Kingfishers aren't in the same category as leprechauns, fairies and pure moonshine - his life ambition achieved, I wonder what his next bogey bird will be? The immature Green Woodpecker on Thursday am was a nice compensation.
There were plenty of Redpolls and Siskins and a few Jays at Fairburn - all birds which are a little thin on the ground in East Yorkshire. However, late September and early October, doesn't seem to be the best time to visit Fairburn, I wonder what is?
Immature Male Kingfisher - Fairburn
Blackcap - in the garden
Woodpigeon Squab - on the Fairburn Boardwalk
Green Woodpecker - Fairburn (c) 2012 Phil Todd
Lapwings (c) 2012 Phil Todd
Record shot of Goldcrest - Tophill Low
Comma - Tophill Low
Common Darters - Fairburn
Darter - Fairburn