Wednesday, 14 December 2016

New Year Resolutions


I resolve that the new winter term will begin on 10th January 2017.

I resolve we will visit 10 different venues chosen to encounter a wide range of species.

I resolve that the first Tuesday class will have close encounters with Goosanders.
I resolve that the first Wednesday class will see a Smew.
Drake Smew (c) 2016 Vince Cowell 
I resolve that the first Thursday class will see a Pintail.
I resolve that the first Friday class will see a Purple Sandpiper
I resolve in the following weeks every student will encounter at least one Kingfisher, and hopefully more than one.

I resolve that if a reliable Hawfinch site turns up, we will drop everything to see them.
I resolve that if we have an invasion of Waxwings, we may even visit a supermarket to get a good view!
I resolve that if a Long-eared Owl can be viewed without disturbance, we will do our best to observe it
I resolve that if a Rough-legged Buzzard takes up residence, we will see if we can spot it
I resolve that we will enjoy views of Bramblings 
I resolve that those wishing to learn the difficult task of identifying birdsong will be given every opportunity of doing so, even a Nightingale:
Looking ahead to the Spring Course, I resolve we will visit 3 brand new reserves never visited by us before.

I resolve that will we hear the soothing purring of the sadly declining Turtle Dove, and perhaps even see one!

I resolve that we will go to venues favoured by Cuckoos, and try and spot one!

I resolve we will try and see my favourite family of colourful British birds including: 
a Redstart
(c) 2016 Maurice Gordon
a Wheatear:
a Whinchat 

 and even the less colourful, but beautiful songsters, Nightingales:

Later, in the year I resolve we will have more encounters with waders, including Bar-tailed Godwits:

In summary, I resolve that during the whole year we will see a wide-range of birds to please and delight everyone on the course.  In the summer we will also identify Butterflies, Dragonflies, Flowers and Moths.

So, if you are interested in joining the classes, or have a relative who would like to start wildlife watching with a group next year, please contact me on the details at the very top of this site.  Please note that there are most vacancies on a Wednesday afternoon, but if you prefer another day or time, please contact me.  It's always worth asking.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Goodbye to the 100+ Autumn Term

For the final Friday session of the term we travelled to the Red Kite roost which every other session had already visited.  There was a flock of around 50 Bramblings, but they were much further down the road this time.   In the afternoon they were impossible to see as some over-rich yobbos were blasting Pheasants out of the sky at just that point.  
Red Kite with roadkill
Of all our visits this term this was the windiest by far.  Luckily, it was fairly mild, so it didn't appear that anyone was too cold.  There were some Redwings and Fieldfare just where we parked, and a few Red Kites perched in trees.  One of these was obviously chewing something, but I didn't notice until I checked the photos that this still had a tag in place - Red 7.  We think it was eating the remains of a roadkill Pheasant.
 Redwing (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
This time we were able to see a few Fieldfare and Redwings perched for several seconds before they flew off, but the light wasn't terribly good. 
Red Kite
 Immature Red Kite
 Red Kite in Flight
 In Flight (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
Red Kites (c) 2016 Mike Woods 

The Tawny Owl was still in its tree, and the Grey Wagtail was on various rooftops.  A pair of Marsh Tits were in the village, but there was no sign of the Nuthatch or the Treecreepers.  One surprise was a Heron high on a hillside with no standing water, and a leucitic Woodpigeon perched in a tree.  The Siskins remained as flyovers, and weren't seen particularly well.  
Tawny Owl
Tawny Owl (c) 2016 Mike Woods
 Marsh Tit (c) 2016 Mike Woods
Grey Wagtail
 Leucistic Woodpigeon
The morning group travelled the short distance to Huggate for an end-of-term meal, but details of their gormandizing hasn't been forthcoming.  And that's marks the conclusion of the Autumn term in which every morning group saw more than 100 species, and some of the afternoons did too.  Next Autumn I'll try and ensure that there are more encounters with waders, and hope the conditions aren't as windswept as they were this year.  

The winter term commences on the 10th January during which we will be hoping to see Waxwings, Bramblings, Long-eared Owls,  Rough-legged Buzzard, Hen Harriers and hopefully see better views of Bramblings.  We will be differentiating all the species of wildfowl, and each week as a new songster joins the dawn chorus we will be expanding our knowledge of those too.

Postscript on No.7
Hi Michael, this is great news for us as this bird is a real old favourite. She has been the resident female in a wood on XX estate who was tagged Orange/Red7 in 2003 at Harewood and came to East Yorkshire the year after. To our knowledge she has successfully raised more than 20 young. I personally haven’t seen her for more than a year so this is fantastic news for me. 

Please feel free to share this info with your group. N

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Another Day, More King fishers!

On Wednesday for the second consecutive day I had to leave at 7.30 in order to get through the Hull traffic to reach RSPB Fairburn Ings on time.  The weather was overcast at first, so wasn't really an awful lot better than the mist of the previous day.  However, the Kingfishers were still in evidence, so that helped brighten everyone's spirits.  Paradoxically, the Green Woodpeckers were harder to locate than they were in the fog, but we did see one a fair distance off.  The wildfowl was easier to see on the large lake, but wasn't particularly close.  In the afternoon Tony and other morning retainers went off to Lin Dyke where they enjoyed good views in better light of some Goosanders.  A nice end to the Wednesday term, and the Goosander and Willow Tit helped the am team attain the 100 species for the Autumn term.
All Goosander photos (c) 2016 Tony Robinson
Drake Goosander
 Female Goosander
Female Kingfisher
 Trying to Blend in
 Male Kingfisher
 Record shot of Green Woodpecker 3 miles away!
 Drake Goosander
 Cormorant - in Breeding Fettle!
 Female Bullfinch
 Redwing - with sun
 Redwing - without sun
 Red Kite