On Wednesday we met in one of the few decent-sized car parks in the Yorkshire Wolds. We met half an hour later than usual to avoid a wet weather system, which passed through the region early in the morning. We shared cars along a winding rural road, successfully dodging all the kamikaze Pheasants, as we headed to a high point with a great outlook. Last week on a very still day there were at least 5 Red Kites perched in trees, but on this much blustery day there were none. A Green Woodpecker called twice as it flew across the valley, and was the first bird of interest. We walked back down the hill and soon reached the shelter of some surprisingly leafy trees. Here there were plenty of Blue and Great Tits, a Robin, Wren, then an elusive female Brambling. In the afternoon there was a Treecreeper, but it was impossible to photograph. The biggest surprise was a male Blackcap, presumably this is an continental bird, which has recently arrived. However, it should relocate to the lowlands as soon as possible. The area of Yorkshire it was found it, is often the very coldest parts of our locality at is time of the year.
Red Kite (c) 2013 Tony Robinson
Record Shot of Red Kite
Sparrowhawk (c) 2013 Tony Robinson
Unfortunately we couldn't find last weeks big Brambling flock, but this may have been because of the presence of Sparrowhawks in the area. First there was one, then a second joined it and they continued to spiral on a thermal for much of the morning. At one stage they were even in the sky at the same time as a Red Kite and a Buzzard, which was quite a spectacle.
Blackcap (c) 2013 Tony Robinson
Record Shot of Red Kites
Record Shot of Red Kites
On the return journey the sightings of small passerines had declined, but we were rewarded with a close view of a Goldcrest. This came just after my sighting of a Jay, but unfortunately, I think I was the only one quick enough to see the latter...In the afternoon we saw at least 10 Red Kites all in the sky at the same time. A very loud jet flew low through the area, scattering hundreds of Fieldfare, several Redwings and thousands of Woodpigeons. In the end we saw at least 10 Red Kites settle in one tree, near enough for us to observe.
Raining near Drax
Black-throated Diver (c) 2013 David Tasker
In the meantime a Tuesday stalwart was at North Cave Wetlands was photographing a bird we've never seen during the classes - an elusive Black-throated Diver. This is the first record of this species at North Cave Wetlands.