Saturday, 31 January 2015

Hiding from the Wind & Snow

On Thursday snow and strong winds were forecast, so we relocated from the Howardian Hills to our standy-by underground location.  It was very quiet at first, but we did come across some Goldcrests before we reached the feeding station.  In the afternoon the birds had spread out more, so weren't only located around the bird tables.  
Male Bullfinch 
 Great Tit
 Mistle Thrush

Sunday, 25 January 2015

On the Crest of a Wave

On Friday we enjoyed a sunny morning, and less sunny afternoon  at Tophill Low.  Both groups saw the Red-Crested Pochard, but it didn't show as well for any of us, as it did for working party volunteer David Ware, as his striking pictures illustrate.  We enjoyed some good views of Goldeneyes and a Marsh Harrier.  An immature Heron flying from a ditch along the west rim of O reservoir surprised us all, whilst 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers getting over excited all day around the car park was an amusing sight for all spectators!
All Red-Crested Pochard Photos (c) David Ware
 Drumming Female Great Spotted Woodpecker
 Immature Heron
 Immature Male Marsh Harrier

A Sunny Day in the Park

 Tufted Ducks
 Mistle Thrush
 Feeling Like a Duck?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Grey, Sleety Day

On Wednesday there was a threat of heavy snow, so we switched to N.Cave Wetlands. Throughout the whole morning session we were accompanied by a light falling of sleet. We visited the new verandah area first, were we saw what looked like a Peregrine Falcon zoom overhead, followed fairly swiftly by a female Sparrowhawk. The Teal took to the air, as did a solitary Snipe, but they all remained unharmed. Later in the morning we saw a fine male Marsh Harrier, which we were assured was a different bird to the one seen yesterday. 

All photos (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
One of the best birds was a Green Woodpecker, which was in the area of the field feeding station. We also saw: Siskins, Goldfinches, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Ducks, 2 Herons, Lapwings, a single male Bullfinch, and Reed Buntings in the area of the Maize Field. 
 Ear Fungus

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

New Winter Location

Today we visited the new hide at Wassand for the first time. Everyone made the trip including a couple all the way from Howden, so that was 9 day tickets. We started on the long trek, and soon in the brilliant early morning sunshine we had at least 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming either side of us. One was using a far more obviously deeper resonating bough, but both bursts of noise tailed away and lasted less than a second, so they were the same species.
All Photos (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Male Marsh Harrier
We reached the gate and started walking through the woodland. This was alive with birdsong and a few calls. A Treecreeper was one of the first birds we watched. The birds were mainly common tits, but we didn't locate any Long-tailed Tits. Some Redwings took off from the side of the path near the Mere but they don't pose for decent views. As we neared the hide we flushed a Woodcock, which was seen by most participants.  
From the hide itself there were Goldeneye, Pochard, Teal, Shoveler, and one Buzzard flying along the line of trees, but there was quite a lot of ice, so the waterfowl weren't too close. However, the warden arrived, and this seemed to coincide with a corresponding increase of interesting species. The first of these was a beautifully marked male Marsh Harrier which hunted along the edge of the reeds opposites he hide. At one point it bombarded a Heron, and another time was mobbed by a Magpie. It later settled on the edge of the reeds for a preen. It's pale eye could be seen through the telescope.  
 Claws of a Treecreeper
The second bird was a Bittern which flew right toward the hide. It was very hard to see in the thick reeds, but it was possible to see it at times. On the return journey about 50 Barnacle Geese flew just over our heads towards the mere.

1st winter Drake Goldeneye
 Barnacle Geese
 Shoveler & Teal
 Herring Gulls
 Not sure, why these are even here?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

In the Pink

Jay - Still Present!
 Drake Goosander
 Goosanders (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
 Pink-footed Goose Sandwich
 Male Sparrowhawk
 Drake Tufted Duck
 Bad Hair Day
 Adult Black-headed Gull - winter
 Black-headed Gull moulting into breeding plumage
 1st winter Black-headed Gull
 Common Gull
 Feral Pigeon
 Disposable "Assets"
 Disposable Asset (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
 Record shot of Stock Dove (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
 Redwing (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
 Well, Really (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart