Sunday, 26 April 2009

Spring Jewell

After reading some rave reports on Birdforum about some nightingales at a site 'out of county' I decided to give it a go.
I left the house before dawn and got there about 6.15.
I was the only person there yet the sun was up and the woodland was absolutely alive with birdsong.It really was a job to distinguish one type of bird from another, but as I walked further into the woods I could hear the unmistakeable sound of a nightingale.
The first one was very shy and I caught a brief glimpse.
Continuing further in I got to the far corner of the site without hearing another.
Doubling back I caught a glimpse of another but still not a proper view.
Heading back to where I started I heard yet another in the undergrowth but this time it flew up into a tree almost fully exposed.
It went through its full repertoire whilst I took some shots, the rich warble decibels higher than any of the other birds.Its whole body vibrating s it sang out its tune.
I stayed for about 4 hours and got good views of most of the common woodland birds on site but the nightingales got quieter as the morning wore on.
This was the first time I had seen and heard a nightingale but these birds easily lived up to their legendary status.
Another couple of weeks and the leaves and undergrowth will be fully up so they will be even more difficult to view.
Today however was a day that will remain etched in the memory for a very long time.




Canada Goose Chick

Long Tailed Tit



Friday, 24 April 2009

Swine Moor

I've been to Swine Moor on the last couple of days on the lookout for another rare wader.
last night it was quite still and there was millions of flies, I walked round towards the stone bridge and almost immediately I saw a flock of about 100 golden plover, some extremely smart in their summer plumage.
Further towards the bridge there was quite a few snipe and a couple of ruff.
I then walked all the way round to the river Hull, not much on the way roud apart from plenty of willow warblers and a singing yellowhammer.
walking back along the riverbank I saw a single little ringed plover,grey heron and a couple of redshank.
Almost oppossite the stone bridge I saw a small wader on the edge of the biggest pool, speckled back and yellow legs- a wood sandpiper, my first of the year.Not quite a mega but very nice all the same.
On the way back there was a pair of little egrets a few pied wagtails, 6 yellow wagtails a pair of whimbrel and 2 singing reed warblers.
When I went back today I went the same way as yesterday, but on the bank of barmston drain, there was a nice sight of swallows and housemartins gathering mud or nestbuilding.
I watched them come back and forth for about an hour along with a single yellow wagtail and a noisy kingfisher flitting up and down the drain.
The wind was much stronger today so I didn't go all the way round, but the wood sandpiper was on the same pool again.
Not much else about.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Easter Week

Its been quite a busy week during easter and I thought I would summarise it in one post.
Starting with Easter Saturday, I went down to Patrington Haven for a walk with the dog and saw some decent birds including a marsh harrier,small flock of twite,my first yellow wagtail of the year and my first swallow of the year.
On the Sunday I went to Spurn and saw a blue headed wagtail,a very smart male redstart a few more yellow wagtails along with another first for the year-a white Wagtail.
On the Monday I went out with a couple of friends to try to amass a big list.
We fell short of our target of 100 species, but we did manage some good birds including a common buzzard,litle owl,marsh harrier,kingfisher and ring ouzel.
Then down to Spurn again on Friday night in decent light I managed a few shots of a black redstart and went back again on the saturday.However the weatherhad changed it was very cloudy and very cold.
I did manage to see a hawfich, a couple of bramblings and siskins also some half decent vies of a subalpine warbler and a spectacular hunting merlin on the way home.
Another good week, although we could now do with some decent weather to get the Spring migrants properly moving.
Black Redstart

White Wagtail

Blue Headed Wagtail


Blue Headed Wagtail

Blue Headed wagtail



Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Heffalumps and Wouzels

I managed a couple of hours out with the scope at the weekend.
I thought I would check out sammy's Point which usually produces something of interest at this time of year.I had a walk along the riverbank without much success (not even a wheatear)then as I went back to the car I spotted what I thought was a rather pale looking blackbird, sure enough it was this ring ouzel and whilst it was a little skittish, I was pleased with these pics.
I then went up to Tophill Low and managed some shots of the reported Jack Snipe.
It was showing very well but kept its distance, this shot was about the best of it.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

At Last!

I have been looking for Woodlarks for the past two Springs,without success -until yesterday.
because of the sensitive issues regarding this scarce breeding bird I am not going to disclose the location, although it is fair to say that the vast arable landcape of the east Riding is not the most suitable habitat.
I managed to leave work early and went to the first of two sites where I have found out that they inhabit.
No luck there so off to the next site.
Having never seen or heard a woodlark before,I didn't really know what to listen for.
The first 'probable' was a tantalising glimpse of a rather plump lark calling rather unusually.
Further into the site and I could hear a wonderful liquid song from what sounded like a couple of birds.
Not easy to trace in the trees, but then a pair landed about 20m in front of me and started feeding, wow I was in awe.
They kept feeding and calling for about 15mins before the male rose and continued his song.
Fantastic! I know these are not the rarest birds in Britain but I was thrilled to find them myself and get such wonderful views.