Monday, 22 December 2008

Allerthorpe Woods

I had a couple of hours at the feeding station at Allerthorpe today, with a low sun it made the light perfect for photograpy and the common birds there were most obliging.
Whilst I was there there was;Blue Tit,Coal Tit,Marsh Tit,Willow Tit,Long Tailed Tit,Great Tit,Great Spotted Woodpecker,Treecreeper,Tree Sparrow,Chaffinch,Brambling,Blackbird,Robin,Wren,Mistle Thrush,Fieldfare,Woodpigeon,Barn Owl,kestrel,Sparrowhawk.
On the way back I clocked the waxwings at Shiptonthorpe.

Not a bad day.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Lincolnshire Safari

Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

Short eared Owl

Hen Harrier

female Kestrel


I went over to Lincolnshire at the weekend, primarily to see the grey phalarope at covenham, but then I went on for the raptors at Worlaby Carrs.
I set off befoire dawn on Sunday and arrived at Covenham reservoir at about 8.10, quite an impressive place.There were plenty of wildfowl on the water including mallard,wigeon,goldeneye and a single long tailed duck.There were plenty of redshanks feeding along the edge along with grey and pied wagtails.It took quite a while to get to the south east corner and although the sun was fully up it was absolutely freezing.
at firt there was no sign and I feared the worst especially as it had been such a cold night.However after some scanning with the scope i found it nearer the north eastern corner.
Along the way I met Graham catley who runs his blog (Peewit) that makes very interesting reading and we walked towards the bird, the light was very harsh and resulted in some rather contrasting images, very difficult for a decent shot.
great bird though and very confiding.
After about an hour and a half I thought it was about time to go and I set off back towards the Humber Bridge.I headed for Far Ings to check out the smew, it was there but kept its distance in the unfrozen part of Hotel lake.
It was very quiet there so I headed for Worlaby Carrs somewhere I've never been before.
At firts it looked rather quiet but as the afternoon wore on more andmore raptors put in an appearance.First it was a marsh harrier, then hen harrier followed by a kestrel, then a buzzard and sparrowhawk.In thelast hour of daylight the short eared owls put in an appearance.
quite an enjoyable day, the photos weren't up to much but the birds for early December were quite special.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Hessle Bullfinches

Despite the arctic conditions, I wrapped up warm and went out to the Country park at hessle this morning in search of bullfinches.
parking up at the Humber Bridge car park I was encouraged by the soft piping of a male bullfinch right above my head as i was getting my gear ready, it didn't hang around for long so I didn't get a shot.
I went futher into the park towards the small feeding station, on the way I saw a couple of obliging goldcrests but not much else.
On good advice from one of the Birdforum members I took some food and put it on one of the bird tables, one of the robins almost followed me as I sprinkled the food, with a bit of patience I bet you could get them feeding from your hand.
It wasn't long before the robins were joined by a good number of common birds, all extremely obliging.
After about 15 minutes a small flock of bullfinches landed in the bushes above me and they were quite wary at first, the striking red breast of the males was almost dazzling.
It dind,t take them long to get used to me and pretty soon they were taking food from the feeder about 15 feet away.
most times I have seen a bullfinch they have been a grey and white blur as they fly away, but these birds were extremely confiding and along with all the other birds, made for an enjoyable morning despite the intense cold.
A tip for anyone visiting-take some birdseed.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

East Hull Waxwings

I managed an hour on Marfleet Lane this morning to view the waxwing flock.
These really are beautiful birds and the large flock makes quite a spectacle.
They kept flying round from tree to tree and were being chased away from one rowan by a particularly agressive mistle thrush.
There looked to be quite a lot of berries so hopefully they will hang around for a while longer.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

More Rarities

Pied Wheatear Pied Wheatear

Steppe Grey Shrike

Steppe Grey Shrike

Steppe Grey Shrike

Steppe Grey Shrike

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear
I had a drive into Lincolnshire for the couple of rares that have been there for the last week.
First stop was the Steppe Grey Shrike at Grainthorpe.
The drive down was a bit dodgy, but easy enough to find.
I was rather suprised by the almost total lack of any other bids in the vicinity.
The bird itself was extremely obliging and despite the recent bad press about photographers hounding the bird, the small crowd was very well behaved and the bird just kept on feeding and perching totally oblivious to anyone no matter how close.
Then on to saltfleet for the desert wheatear, again a complete lack of any other birds 9apart from a flock of mobile snow buntings) but again it performed very well ad I spent a considerable amount of tuime watching the bird as it was too close to photograph.
The sun came out in the last hour and it was then I was able to get my best shots, I also used my P5100 and it did not let me down, I'm very pleased with these shots.
Today I went up to Scarborough and managed some record shots of the great northern diver but missed out on the iceland gull (we were on the wrong slipway!) and the long tailed duck.Then called in at reighton for the pied wheatear.It was quite elusive at first but then showed quite well as the temperature rose and the insects became more active.
Some cracking birds I wonder what will be next?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Late Autumn at Spurn

Waxwing in the fog



Duskey Warbler

Had a trip down to Spurn today,despite the fog I managed a few decent shots and there was some brilliant birds.
I started in the hide at canal Scrape, a couple of snipe were feeding on the waters edge and redwings and fieldfares were all over the place.Next I went in search of a pallas's warbler at the Crown.Quite a few crests, a confiding siskin and the birefest of glimpses of a 'possible'.
I then went down Beacon Lane, plenty of thrushes again but not much else on the way down.I flushed 3 woodcock on the way to beacon Ponds and there were a few common waders and plenty of brent geese.
On the way back there was a rather wet waxwing on the gatepost at the top end of beacon Lane.
It was rather wet but let me get within 10 metres, a stunning bird.There were another 2 waxwings on the way down and 3 mealy redpolls feeding outside the caravan site entrance.
Then on to Spurn Point, just past the big car park there was quite a few goldcrests feeding on the grass, along with some more redpolls and siskins, whilst looking across some bushes one of the goldcrests landed briefly on my scope!fantastic.
there were hundreds of redwings and fieldfares flying over plus plenty of robins.theer was a black redstart on the sea wall and a pair of late blackcaps on the parade ground.Back at the car park there was a small flock of extremely confiding redpolls along with a couple of siskin and brambling.
Got a brief view of a merlin on the way back up Spurn Road, but didn't see the Dusky warbler.
When I got to the gate there was a hawfinch feeding on the roadside, by now light was fading fast, but a report of the Duskey warbler showing well had me heading back down the peninsula, it showed down to a few feet but it was extremely difficult to get a shot.Whilst watching the duskey warbler, a flock of about30 snow bunting landed on the beach for a few seconds.
I thought I would call in at the Crown on the way back and to cap of a perfect day, I managed to connect with the pallas's warbler.
It was literally dripping with birds today, probably one of the best days ever.