Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Ghost of Father Ted

Female Kingfisher at Fairburn
On Tuesday we returned to Tophill Low.  The Smew was still present, but only after we left the hide, so these pictures are from  the previous Friday. 
Record Shot of Smew at Tophill (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Shoveler (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Buzzard (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Blue Tit (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Blue Tit (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Ditto (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
Immature Female Pied Wagtail
 Coots on the March!
 Unwanted Mammals on the Reserve

On Wednesday and Thursday we went north to the Wolds and saw a good selection of birds in quite bright conditions at times, especially on Wednesday.  In summary we saw: Nuthatch, Red Kite, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, Siskins, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Tree & House Sparrow, Red-legged Partridges, and Albino Pheasants, etc
Male Brambling
 Red Kite
 Eating Roadkill?
 Swallowing Roadkill
 Fly Past
 Record shot of Redwing
 In Better Light
The Tawny Owl - first spotted by Tony Robinson, and subsequently seen by the Weds afternoon group, then by both Thursday sessions, and even by the Robert Fuller group on the Saturday.  One participant asked only the other week why we never saw Tawny Owls, so it was great to find a reliable individual.    However, it was too misty to take photographs on the Saturday.
 By the Finder (c) 2016 Tony Robinson
Nuthatch (c) 2016 Tony Robinson
 Nuthatch (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
 With Beech Nut!
 Grey Wagtail - only photographable on the Wednesday, but heard and glimpsed on both the Thursday and the Saturday.
 Long-tailed Tit
 Just  included for the Undertail
It was on the Thursday morning that a surreal moment occurred.  I cannot remember the exact words spoken, but they went something after this fashion:
Student: What are those hundreds of tiny birds? 
Me: Pigeons. 
Student: They aren't pigeons, they are far too small. 
Me: they are a long way off. 
Student: What are they really?  They are NOT pigeons. 
Me: They are pigeons. 
5 minutes later they flew over us, they WERE pigeons! 

 White Pheasant (c) 2016 Aileen Urquhart
In Flight
 Mistle Thrush 
 Great Tit
 Hidden Sign
On Friday we were able to break the pattern and travel all the way to RSPB Fairburn Ings.  I set off at 7.30 to try and avoid the horrendous traffic.  The only problem was, I arrived to find the entrance locked and barred, as did other early arrivals on the morning session.  Lin Dyke was supposed to be affected by floodwater so we remained around the visitor centre, and walked on from there.  There was a male Bullfinch at the back of the feeding station, but it sneaked off as we arrived,  and there were at least 2 Willow Tits visiting, but no Nuthatch.  A Willow Tit was also visiting Pickup Hide, as was a Reed Bunting.  We went on to the Kingfisher Screen.  The water was high, and full of sediment so I was rather surprised to be confronted by a female Kingfisher with a recent catch in her bill.  In the afternoon a male was present.  If Mike got any pictures I will add those later.
Female Kingfisher at Fairburn
 Kingfisher (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
There was a fairly large flock of Lesser Redpolls lingering between the visitor centre and the screen alternating between the Alder trees and extracting seeds from the Silver Birch catkins.  One was particularly pink on its breast, which was captured by Jane's new lens!
Lesser Redpoll (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 Female Bullfinch
Record Shot of Lesser Redpoll
Meanwhile, from Bob Dickens hide we saw a sizeable flock of Pochard, several Great Crested Grebes, some Tufted Ducks, at least 3 female and one drake Goldeneye, and a few mainly distant Goosanders;  Last week a Goldcrest almost came in the hide, whilst this week the confiding bird was an importunate Robin.   
The Friday morning group have now seen 94 birds this term, whilst the Thursday afternoon have tallied 96, so who will be the first to reach the century?  Perhaps the Wednesday group have already attained that round total?

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