Sunday, 27 April 2008

King Eider Again

Couldn't resist another shot at the King Eider.

Another brief view of this cracking bird.

Wood Sandpiper & White Wagtail

We called in at Swinemoor yesterday after seeing the King Eider.There had been some reports of white wagtail and wood sandpiper so we set off towards the hump back bridge.

A single white wag was feeding on the banks of Barmston Drain.Nice bird and a lifer.

Further down we saw a wood sandpiper feeding quite close in a flooded part of the common.

Managed to get quite close, and I was pleased with the results.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

King Eider

Went up to Flamborough today for the King Eider.When we arrived at the car park thre was a group of birders to the North of the North Landing car park (reports suggested that it would be to the south).

We made our way to the cliff top and there it was in front of us.

I set up and managed about 6 shots before it was flushed by a fishing boat.

Another 5 minutes and we would have missed it.

Magnificent bird.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Lesser Yellowlegs

Went down to Swinemoor a couple of times this week, both early morning visits and with wildly varying results.
The firt trip was Wednesday morning and the fog was like pea soup.
Fortunately the bird stayed long enough for me to have another crack at it and this morning the sun was up, the conditions were perfect.
I parked up at Hullbridge and walked south along the riverbank, the flooded field to the west were full of birds lapwing,redshank,shellduck,ruff,golden plover,snipe and greenshank.
Almost opposite the hump back bridge I niticed a dark coloured wader, and yes, this was it!
Took some record shots then carried on walking south.
Fortunately the yellowlegs was feeding at the edge of the pool nearest the riverbank.
It stayed in the same area for about 2or3 minutes -just enought time to get some decent shots.
First one i've ever seen, really chuffed, made my day.
I was back at the car for 7.30am thoroughly pleased with the mornings work.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Quick Trip to Kilnsea

Had a chance for some birding after tea the other night, wondering where to go,I got an e-mail from Birdguides -Hawfinch at Crown and Anchor, Kilnsea.

I've never seen a hawfinch before so after battling rush hour traffic, I got to Kilnsea for about 5.30.A beautiful Spring like evening.

There was initially no sign then another birder appeared and apparrently the hawfinch kept doing a circuit every 20minutes or so.

Almost immediately it appeared and flew to the top of a tree.I tried to get a shot, but there were branches in front of me so the camera focusssed on them and not the bird, but wow what a stunner!

It disappeared again for about half an hour then a plump bird appeared on some branches in almost direct sunlight, i went closer to check and sure enough it was the hawfinch.The sun spoilt the view but at least i managed a couple of shots.

I was joined by a couple more birders and a few more fleeting views.

Then the hawfinch flew up to a branch stayed in almost perfect pose for about 30 seconds.Its at times like this when digiscoping can be extremely frustrating i must have focussed on every twig and branch in view apart from the bird.When I got onto the bird it dropped down out of sight.

We were treated to great views of a song thrush in the meantime plus plenty of green finches, goldfinches and robins.A single siskin stopped briefly in the tree tops but the star of the show was the Hawfinch a very special and memorable bird.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Chilly trip to Spurn

had a ride down to Spurn this morning, with a hope of seeing the recently reported ring ouzel at Sammy's Point.Got there for about 7.00am and it was quite sunny albeit cold and windy.

The RO was in the first horse field to the east of the car park.It wa squite obliging and I was happy with the shots I took.There was alaso a kestrel nearby and a fleeting yellow wagtail.

went on to Spurn Point and connected with a couple of black redstarts.HArdly anything else about.

By now the wind had picked up making it almost impossible for photography.

Quick look at canal scrape but just the usual swans, coots moorhen and little grebe.

Roll on Spring.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

More from Sunday

Brent geese
Great Tit

Spring In the Air (Part 2)

Green Winged Teal

Pied Wagtail
Had chance to get out again on Sunday morning and hoped for something unusual.A green winged teal wasn't exactly what I hoped for but a'first for Spurn' made this special enough to warrant a visit.

Drove through Thorngumbald at about 6.30 and saw a fleeting barn owl, nothing much more of note on the rest of the way.I arrived at Long Bank at about 7.00 and found that I was first on scene.A meadow pipit was nicely perched for exactly the same amount of time it took for me to set up my scope, and flew off just as I was about to take its picture.

The air was alive with the sound of skylarks and the sun shone strongly, this was much more like Spring.

There was a nice flock of curlew in the field opposite the marsh but no apparrent sign of the GWT.

I thought I would scan the area with the scope and a distant pool produced a single ruff,wigeon and a few teal.At this point I was joined by a couple of black country birderes, their dulcett tones rang out across a once peacful landscape!

Almost at once one of them latched on to the teal, the excitement raised the volume by a number of decibels.

I managed a couple of record shots and beat a hasty retreat to more quieter parts.

A quick look on canal scrape produced only little grebe,coot, moorhen and some finches so I went right down to Spurn Point in search of wheatear.

It was fairly quiet in the parade ground but a blackcap was a first for the year.

back up to the warren in search of a reported firecrest, these have always been a somewhat mythical bird for me (goes back to when I was at school and a firecrest was something that was talked about but never ever seen).

The report was from near the seawatching hide, a quick look produced nothing but a flypast whimbrel was another first for the year.

Just as I went back to the car a singing wren caught my eye, these birds are extremely photogenic especially when singing.

It was at this point a small (what I thought was a leaf) blew in about 5ft away,

A closer look revealed it was a firecrest, perched amongst the gorse flowers possibly one of the most delightful poses imaginable, but in true firecrest tradition it disapeared in the undergrowth befopre I even thought about turning my camera on.

From the warren I went up to Beacon Lane, plenty of common stuff around, but as it was nearing high tide I wanted to get up to Beacon Ponds.By now the sun was beaming down, no wind-I had a sweat on.

Finally arrived at the ponds to be greeted by precisely 1 ringed plover and 2 oystercatchers-nothing else!

On the way back down I saw a small brown warbler flitting across a small flooded area.Not being particularly adept at the Sylvia family I put this one down to a reed warbler and another first for the year.

Last port of call was Sammy's Point.fairly quiet but there was a couple of brent geese a couple of wheatear(yet another first for the year) and a stray fieldfare.

A far better day than Saturday and a true sense of spring being in the air.

Monday, 14 April 2008

More from Saturday

Spring has sprung (Part 1)

Had quite a nice weekend with a couple of trips to either side of the county.On Saturday I had a walk around Skipwith Common, somewhere I've never been before.

Parked upo in the car park at about 7.00am and the air was full of birdsong, willow warbler,robin,great tit,wren and chiff-chaff creating a delightful tune.

As I walked into the reserve nearer the pools the wildfowl became more apparrent with grey-lag goose little grebe,teal and mallard all putting in an appearance.The continuous song of willow warbler and chiff chaff prevailed.

Next a mistle thrush proclaiming its right to sing the loudest followed by a whole range of the tit family blue,great,coal,willow and long-tailed.

A clearing made for a good photo opportunity and the wrens were certainly obliging.

The sun popped in and out but it never got above chilly, 3 swallows overhead reminded me that it was supposed to be spring, but a shiver was never far away.

As I walked back to the car I saw a light coloured bird flit from bush to bracnch, I was somewhat disappointed when I discovered ot was only a female stonechat with its mate waiting in the wings, damn I thought it was something far more unusual.

By now the wind was biting but I still managed green woodpecker great spotted woodpecker and a fleeting jay before I got back to the car park.

I was greeted by a loud robin and just as was about to put my scope away a pair of treecreepers hung around briefly before disappearing.

On the way out I spotted a pair of red legged partridges and managed some fairly decent shots.

My next port of call was Allerthorpe woods, nothing particularly special except a singing yellowhammer and flock of linnets.

It wa here that I got the message about the black-necked grebe at Tophill Low.I got there at about 1.00 only to find the grebe at the other side of D reservoir so a quick route march round to the east hide and latched on to the grebe it was heading headlong towards the hide i'd just been in, so I marched back again (one way to get warmed up!).The grebe was about 100yards away, fantastic bird.