Friday, 21 March 2014

Synchronised Fishing

On Thursday we travelled the enormous distance into West Yorkshire for our second crack at RSPB Fairburn Ings.  There was a Bullfinch at the feeders really close to the visitor centre.  We tried the area round Pickup hide first where at least 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were going at it each other "hammer and tongs".  I couldn't determine if the 3rd bird was a male or female, but they chased each other round and about for the best part of half and hour while we were watching.  Meanwhile a Green Woodpecker was laughing nearby and even did a fly past while we were trying to disentangle what the Great Spotteds were upto.  A Treecreeper was nearby, and a Willow Tit was singing, but we were too mesmerised by the woodpeckers for a while to take notice of the other species.  There was an amazingly confiding Robin in both visits to Pickup, which gave us our own concert.  At the feeders themselves were some Reed Buntings.
Pair of Kingfishers - Female [with lipstick on right]
Record shot of  Bullfinch
 Male Great Spotted Woodpecker
 Female Great Spotted Woodpecker
 Reed Bunting
 Confiding Robin
 Our Own Private Concert
At the Kingfisher screen we did see a pair, but they were quite distant.  We walked through a relatively barren wasteland to Bob Dickens hide, which was a lot quieter than last week, but we did see Oystercatchers, Gadwall, Teal, Goldeneye, and some rampant drake Shoveler, which chased a poor female round and round the lake.  Phil G spotted a Great Crested Grebe against the far bank, and eventually everyone managed to spot it.  
Distant Original View of Kingfishers
 Male Kingfisher with catch
We returned to the Kingfisher screen where we were rewarded with amazing close views of the pair, which even did some synchronized fishing as they both returned to their perch with a small fish in their bills.  Chris noted the identification difference that the female has some lipstick on her lower mandible, so he quickly picked her out. 
 Female Checking on the Male
 Both Kingfishers with Fish
On the return journey the Woodpeckers seemed to have banished the usurper, and were even drumming side by side.  The male on a vertical tree, and the female on a small branch at the top of a stump. 
Lesser Redpoll
 Canada Goose
In the afternoon the differences were a Lesser Redpoll near the feeders, and a Nuthatch, which I didn't know were present at the reserve.  There was also a Willow Tit singing near Bob Dickens hide.

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