Friday, 9 March 2018

Finding a Possible 2019 Calendar Image


On Tuesday we were hoping for a day with large raptors but it was too overcast and windy on the wolds, so we diverted to North Cave Wetlands instead.  The icy conditions of last week meant that numbers of wildfowl were down, but most species were still represented.  We hadn't been walking for 5 minutes, and had stopped to look at the feeding station, when there was a loud clattering call to our right, and slightly behind us.  It was the flight call of a Green Woodpecker.  On inspection it was a male, and it remained there long enough for everyone to gain a good view.    
Male Green Woodpecker

 Nictating membrane partially closed
In all we saw 48 species including: Ruff, Tree Sparrow, Snipe, Pochard, Shoveler, Shelduck, Redwing, Soing thrush, but not a single raptor.
 Singing Siskin
 Ditto
 Ditto
When we arrived at Turret Hide Steve searched for and located a Green-Winged Teal.  It was a lifer for all but himself, and the first time one had ever been recorded during the classes.  
Green-Winged Teal [left front]
Tony Robinson went to North Cave a couple of days later in better light, when the Green Winged Teal was more active.
Green-winged Teal (c) 2018 Tony Robinson
 Ditto
 Dunnock (c) 2018 Tony Robinson

When we arrived at the final hide the three Snipe were relatively easy to find, but the Ruff seemed quite difficult at first, until the beautiful back pattern was discovered as it stood by some ledge facing away from us.  
Ruff
 Ruff [top left] & Snipe [bottom, centre]
Wednesday was actually a pleasant day - not sure how long it was since we had one of those.  We were able to go to the wolds.  The morning was quite still so the large raptors were slow to put in an appearance.  However, we did see a couple of Buzzards before too long.  Unfortunately, the feeder was empty so there was no sign of a Marsh Tit in the parking area.  Walking along the road we saw a couple of Moorhen, and a Herring Gull in the ornamental pond.  A Kestrel was also in the area, which was seen by both sessions.
Buzzard
 Ditto
The morning group went to check on the field which was crawling with 500 finches last year, unfortunately this year there were precisely none!  However, on the bridge a Treecreeper was heard singing, and then we did get a good view of it.  A Green Woodpecker also flew just over our heads.  They have been absent from this area for a couple of years, so it was good to see that they'd returned.  
Treecreeper 
 Treecreeper (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart 
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Robin (c) 2018 Aileen Urquhart 


We carried on along the tarmac, and shortly before the turning to a local beauty spot a Jay flew into a patch of woodland before disappearing up the grassy slope ahead of us.  There were more Buzzards on the bushes on the skyline, but the light was poor.  There was another there in the afternoon, but further up the slope there were also a couple of Mistle Thrushes.  The weir area was disappointing with no Grey Wagtail, and only 2 drake Unmentionables and a harem of 5 females.  
Sparrowhawks soaring
 As the day continued more raptors were seen quartering their territory, soaring, or just indulging in low level flypasts.  The frequency of spotting Red Kites improved after lunch with at least 4 seen at any one time.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen near the feeders behind one of the cottages, and a Pied Wagtail was in its customary place on the apex of the roof.  On the return journey we had a really good view of a Marsh Tit.  We heard snatches of their sneezing throughout the day, but this was the first time one stayed still long enough for everyone to take a good look. 
Marsh Tit
 Reflections (c) 2018 Hugh Wood

On Thursday and Friday the planned locations were waterlogged, so we switched to Ness End Farm in the hope of a Bittern, and other reedbed specialities.  In both cases we went to the large green Main Hide first.  There were plenty of Goldeneye (3 drakes and more females), but they didn't really ever come close enough for photos.  However, the Water Rail on Thursday morning when we had the hide to ourself was probably the star bird. 
Water Rail
 Ditto 
 Ditto
Thursday was a less bright day, so although a pair of Marsh Harriers flew very close to the hide, the light was rather poor.
Female Marsh Harrier
 Bird and the Bridge
 Female Marsh Harrier
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Record shot of Sparrowhawk drying off
 Sparrowhawk
On Friday morning on the flooded path Mike found a Chiffchaff, and whilst we were watching that and a Treecreeper another Chiffchaff was seen.  These were silent, as they were busy trying to find enough insects to consume, but the Treecreeper sang merrily throughout.  A female Bullfinch was also seen. 
Chiffchaff
 Ditto
 Ditto
Chiffchaff (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
 Ditto
Treecreeper
  Ditto
Target Lake has been quite disappointing in the past but in the last two years it has definitely improved.  We were rewarded with close views of Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebes, and then this afternoon a male Marsh Harrier came hunting extremely close to us.  It passed very low over one of the islands and flushed 5 or 6 Snipe which managed to evade its clutches.  However, something else may not have been so lucky, as it appeared to have a single white feather in its talons.
Little Grebe
 Ditto
Little Grebe (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
Male Marsh Harrier
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Great Crested Grebe
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto

 Ditto
 Ditto

 Great Crested Grebe (c) 2018 Jane Robinson
 Ditto
 Ditto
On the riverbank most sessions saw Wigeon, and one session a pair of Teal.  
 Wigeon
 Ditto
 Drake Teal
 Ditto
Bullfinch 
Lesser Black Backed Gull
On Thursday morning a family flock of Long-tailed Tits searched the reedbeds for insects, and were reminiscent of their non-relatives - Bearded Tits. 
 Long-tailed Tits
 Long-tailed Tit
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Kingfisher
 Female Goldeneye
 Ditto
Gadwall
Angel of the South Bank
After a longish wait on Thursday afternoon, Brian spotted a flying Bittern which seemed to fly high over the trees and cross the road before disappearing into the ponds on the other side of the road.  
 Record shot of Bittern
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Rabbit
 Evil Eye
 Alternative Evil Eye
Coltsfoot
In late news apparently, the Avocets have returned for the first time this year to North Cave Wetlands.  However, they often come and go in the early days of their return, so they may not be around all this weekend.  
Avocet (c) 2018 Hugh Wood
 Ditto
 Ditto
 Ditto

1 comment:

Jane Robinson said...

Fantastic marsh harrier! Definitely a calendar shot!