Wednesday, 11 February 2015

In Flight Entertainment

Monday was beautiful and the forecast for Tuesday was pretty positive so, we went to Allerthorpe as planned. Unfortunately, a thick mist had rolled in overnight, and the journey was fraught with major hold-ups and thicker mist. It got particularly bad around Market Weighton, but luckily it actually lifted a little in the normally static Vale of York.

Barn Owl (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
The morning started well with Siskins flying over the car park, a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling nearby, and plenty of activity around the feeding station. Most of these were the common garden visitors: Great, Blue, and Coal Tits & Robins. However, the highlights were a few Marsh Tits and some very confiding Long-tailed Tits. 
Long-tailed Tits
 Marsh Tit
 Marsh Tit
 Marsh Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Long-tailed Tits (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Marsh Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Great Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Coal Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Blue Tit (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 The woodland walk was very uneventful, but as soon as we came into the open I spotted a small bird of prey, whilst new boy Mark spotted a Green Woodpecker flying behind us, and which landed on a conifer, where it remained long enough for everyone to see it. Nearby another Green Woodpecker laughed on two occasions, but remained hidden from sight.
Green Woodpecker (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
We walked to the exercise bench, but the summer Yellowhammers were absent. We did see 5 Redwings, and a Kestrel, before we had a close view of a female Green Woodpecker. 
Female Green Woodpecker
 Record Shot of Female Green Woodpecker in flight
We travelled to the nature reserve, and visited the pond, but everything seemed really quiet. Then Maggie spotted a Barn Owl, which flew quite close to us, and was seen hunting for the next 10 minutes or so. Whist we were watching that at least 2 Jays came towards us - one disappeared across the main path, whilst the other went into the main woodland. 
Barn Owl (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Barn Owl
 Fungi (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
We returned to the car park using the path along the southern edge of the wood. The fields contained a few Fieldfare, and then we stopped by a large gate. It was here we caught sight of some large flocks of small birds in the various hedgerows. Some of these were definitely Chaffinches, but others were too far to be safely identified, but they could have been Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings. As we watched them 2 Buzzards flew towards us before landing in a tree near the possible Yellowhammers. 
Treecreeper (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 We carried on and had good views of two Treecreepers, but the Goldcrests were much harder to locate. Although the weather was disappointing, the birds we saw ensured that the two locals have decided not to cross it off their list of places to visit!
Poor Record Shot of Fleeing Roe Deer

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