Bookings have recently opened for the courses starting early in the New Year. If you are looking for a Christmas present with a difference for the wildlife lover in your family, why not get them to enrol on a Wednesday or a Friday afternoon? These are the sessions with most vacancies at the moment.
After a very lean couple of years, early indications imply we may get an influx of Waxwings this year. If this is the case then the planned venue may be dropped at short notice and a visit to a supermarket may be taken instead! These are photos taken at an urban location last time we had Waxwings visiting us.
Another bird we have only seen rarely during the classes is the striking Hawfinch. Several years ago a pair turned up not far from York, so we switched venue to connect with them. If some arrive at a reliable venue this February, then we will change our planned destination to ensure attendees see them.
Hawfinch (c) 2015 Chris Cox
Another colourful winter finch we are hoping to see is the Brambling. These are more regular than the previous two species, and there are several locations that we may see them.
We are even more likely to come across Redpolls during the courses, but very few are as bright as this male!
One family of birds which are always exciting to watch are raptors or birds of prey. One bird we are hoping to encounter is the enigmatic Hen Harrier. Female or "ringtail" hen harriers are most often seen, but last year a stunning male patrolled an area we often visit.
Some winters Rough-legged Buzzards can be easy to identify, and this is another bird we may make a special trip to observe.
Numbers of Red Kites continue to increase locally, and we hope to see these carrying nesting materials, as the individual pictured here.
Roosting Long-eared Owls in secure locations, which won't be disturbed are quite scarce, but if a location where they won't be flushed is available, then we will travel to see these special birds.
Unlike the Long-eared Owl, we will probably see Short-eared Owls at several venues. These are exciting to watch as they quarter an area in daylight hunting their prey.
Finally, we will visit a unpretentious urban location, which has an amazing array of birds, including the ever popular Goosanders.
Pair of Goosanders
So, if you are interested in seeing some of these species on a weekly basis, or have a friend who would like to do so, please consider joining either the Wednesday or Friday afternoon sessions, where you will learn about birds and other wildlife in a friendly and welcoming environment. We currently have people coming weekly from Skipton, Osset and York to sample the delights of East Yorkshire Wildlife. Why not join them?