Monday, 16 January 2017

Rest of the First Week

The rest of the week didn't quite live up to the delights of the urban park.  The problem on Wednesday was the horrendous wind, but despite this both groups saw the redhead Smew at Tophill Low.  The morning group got round the southern part of the reserve at a  terrific pace, and even had time to visit North Marsh.  They missed 2 Otters by 20 minutes, apparently!  Where have I heard that before!  The afternoon group even managed 40 species, just 3 fewer than the morning session, which is an excellent start to the term.
Long-tailed Tits (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
 Pheasant (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
 Buck Roe Deer (c) 2017 Tony Robinson
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Candlesnuff/Stagshorn Fungus (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
 Fungi (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
Fungi (c) 2017 Aileen Urquhart
 On Thursday sleet showers were forecast, so we had to abandon our unprotected venue for North Cave Wetlands.  The morning group had an exceptional 53 species, including a gorgeous male Stonechat, Ruff, Marsh Harriers, Brambling, Mandarin, Fieldfare, Redwing, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard, Wigeon, Pochard (good numbers), Shelduck, Teal, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, etc.  Another birder reported a Hobby, which couldn't be right!  The afternoon added 4 more species including Bullfinch, Oystercatcher, Green Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit making 57 on the whole day.  I don't appear to have received an official tally for the Thursday afternoon group, but I guess they saw more than 40 species, but possibly less than 50.
Stonechat spotted and correctly identified by Jenny
 Ditto
 Another Chat family member
 Ditto
 Ditto
On Friday the weather was even worse, and as I set off the snow suddenly reached almost blizzard-like conditions.  However, before I reached the Humber Bridge it had eased off.  Unfortunately, several members took fright and stayed at home.  We had a strong wind to contend with so the birding wasn't quite as good as the previous day.  Nevertheless, the stand-in bird counter managed a tally of 39.  This didn't include a Magpie, so I'll have to make a special effort to point those out next time, as we've failed to include those in the past!  Meanwhile the official Friday am bird counter came to the afternoon and counted 40 species including a Magpie!

At lunchtime I spent time driving slowly and carefully down Dryham Lane, which gave me the chance to photograph the sometimes elusive female Green Woodpecker.  The Wildbird didn't turn out in the light covering of snow, so the coffee brought at lunch time by an afternoon member was most welcome.
Female Green Woodpecker
 Record shot in the large ash tree
 Yaffle
 The Red Crown
 Turning the Other Cheek
Although the weather was a bit disappointing - what do you expect in January - we did manage a respectable tally of birds every day of the week.  It's going to be a lot greyer in the week ahead, but at least it should be dry!

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