Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hes East ISSUES! (Greenshank, Wood Sand etc..)

Hes East has pulled in some new waders today with 2 Greenshank now present. The 2 Wood Sandpiper were still present today too. I'll hopefully drop in tomorrow on my way back from the office.

Whilst there last night I had a look around with Tim, Ollie and Jack and was disturbed by some mindless idiots chasing the (flightless) ducklings about the place right through the area with breeding birds. These 'people' were not uni students, I doubt they could read or write to be honest - just mindless thugs. You probably can't however say they 'should know better', well I guess you could but these sort of people just don't know better. To them it is OK to do what they do, no one has probably told them not to do it and they haven't got the brain capacity to figure this out themselves. They should have been told, but probably haven't. You can't excuse such behaviour but in some circumstances you don't expect anything better. It just makes your blood boil.

Jump forward to today. Tim has been birding this site regularly and regularly turning up great locally scarce birds and many local birders have twitched his findings (me included) and behaved impeccably.

Some background:

Last week when Tim found the Wood Sands he had to tell some of the local birders to back off and view from a more sensible location (after they came piling in over the brow of a hill flushing the birds) - this was not greeted with much intelligent dialogue and Tim was publicly flogged by either one of the perpetrators or his mate. This was frankly bang out of order.

Today Tim was again birding the site (seeing 2x Greenshank found by Ollie) when he spotted this. I don't know the guy in the photo, but having been told who he is I'm horrified! This guy is meant to be a representative of the York Ornithologists Club. When told he shouldn't be stood where he was Edited his attitude was phenomenally arrogant, rude and basically said 'I don't care' with a few choice words directed at Tim (and other "young birders"). This is what I would have expected from the thugs present yesterday, not from someone who is meant to be a) a birder, b) a representative of YOC and c) an adult.

Tim mentioned in his post a few days ago about potentially not releasing bird news from the site (which was greeted with disgust from the guy mentioned above). Yet given this latest behaviour might not be a bad idea.

Last week at Wheldrake people twitching the Blue-winged Teal were found stood on the roof of Swantail hide, bang out in the open - surprise, surprise, no birds anywhere to be seen, not to mention the disturbance here to breeding birds... As a result of this behaviour from some people news will not be put out in the future in many circumstances.

This kind of behaviour really angers me and be assured if you are seen to be doing idiotic things you will be reported, whoever you are. Feel free to do the same to me when you see me stood in the middle of a breeding colony or stood atop a bird hide... .

A few weeks ago a guy was chastised heavily for walking into a field with breeding waders at Wheldrake, this was [according to him anyway] by accident. Not great, but understandable if he didn't know the area as professed (and he was eventually apologetic), however this latter case is clearly an 'I don't care' attitude and this should not be tolerated.

I applaud Tim for bringing this to our attention and hope that birders visiting this, and other sites show some respect for a) the birds and b) the people finding them.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Wood Sand UPDATE (pm)

I spent an hour at the East Hes York Uni campus this evening up to dusk with Tim, Ollie and Jack as they showed me round this rather impressive area. Highlight was undoubtedly the 2 Wood Sandpiper that were feeding at rather close range, with a Green Sandpiper in tow. A walkabout provided good views of Pied and Yellow Wagtail, Lapwing and a single Common Sandpiper. Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Great Crested Grebe were noted on the water, along with a large flock of feral Barnacle Geese (and a load of hybrids). The site looks great for Spotted or Marsh Sandpiper, fingers crossed!

There are a number of issues with this site, mainly the management of the site in the long term, but also some more pressing immediate issues with people walking about where they shouldn't be, hopefully Tim and Ollie will get it sorted with the relevant people ASAP.

More locally it was more of the same today with loads of warbler song and the House Martin in and around the nest on my neighbours house.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Another local Wheatear and more Cuckoo

The day started with a local dog walk around the village, straight away I picked up Cuckoo that seemed to follow me round as I went on my way. Eventually by the time I got home it was sat in the tree behind the house singing! But before I got home I was treated to a chorus of warbles and rattles, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff,Common Whitethroat and a very close-up Lesser Whitethroat rattling away in the bottom of a blackthorn. The rape, that's been in full flower for the last 2 weeks was attracting in numerous Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit and Yellow Wagtail.

A walk somewhere I've not been before, Pocklington Canal from Hagg Bridge just after lunch was aborted due to the number of people along the tow path making it less enjoyable than hoped - though it certainly has potential when a bit quieter. A Cuckoo was also in evidence here, as well as several more of the aforementioned warblers, Corn Bunting and a Buzzard.

We decided to go for a walk somewhere a bit quieter and headed towards Menthorpe to the south of North Duffield but unfortunately there was some event thing going on there with lots of motor bikes and planes/helicopters! There was however also a single female Wheatear along the single track road. Just how many Wheatear are in the LDV at the moment and over the last few weeks remains one for debate - there must be loads! I'm not sure whether the number of birds is higher than most years, or the number of observers is higher than other years??? But they have certainly been spread all over with birds at Menthorpe, North Duffield, Wheldrake, East Heslington and over by Long Marston at least...

After the Wheatear there was not too much major excitement, but it was good to check out some areas that may potentially yield the goods in the future. A Mistle Thrush was provisioning a nest, the 3rd pair I've found locally this weekend.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Wood Sand and More Migrants

As per my earlier post today Tim found 2 Wood Sandpiper over at East Heslington in York at the University in the early morning. They were around on and off for most of the day by the sound of it, getting flushed occasionally by birdwatchers illustrating the art of no fieldcraft. By last light today there was at least one bird still present with a Green Sandpiper also at the site. At least two Wheatear too. Jono has put some photos of the waders on his blog here.

No birding for me today, not proper birding at any rate. I managed several Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff,2 Yellow Wagtail and lots of Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting on my dog walk locally this morning.

This afternoon it was evident that the House Martins were definitely by in, with a good dozen foraging over the house all day. Several Swallows were about too, but most of these seemed to be going straight through.

This evening, I had a garden tick in the form of a Yellow Wagtail over. I also had the/a Cuckoo over again, this time it was calling as it moved along behind the house.


Anotrher great find by Tim this morning.

Two on small pool behind Main Lake, East Heslington, York this morning; park in the village and take path from c.SE629505 for c.200m to view pool on left.

See Tims blog here for some pictures etc.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A pleasant local day

I had a really pleasant couple of walks this morning and this evening, making the most of the cool before and after the heat of the middle of the day.

This morning I visited a very nice woodland near Escrick where Jenny keeps her horse. I'd popped into the same woodland on Thursday night for a little exploration and thought it looked good. This morning it was pumping with birds, especially warblers with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and my first Garden Warbler of the year. Several GOldecrest and Coal Tits were busy foraging in the tree tops. Some huge Oak trees were busy with birds including Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Mistle Thrush was provisioning a nest. The woodland was looking really smart with the bluebells and wood anemone in flower. I even found these two urchins in there too...

This evening I took a brief trip down to Wheldrake Ings. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler were all singing away. A pair of Bullfinch looked like they were on a territory. A couple of Garden Warblers were busy nest building - this is amazing, these birds must have literally just arrived in the last day or so and are already on with building their nest!

Near the Wind Pump a sudden noise caught my attention, the reeling sound of a Grasshopper Warbler, my first of the year. A bit of movement and I thought I was on it straight away - that was easier than usual I thought, but typically it wasn't it! It was instead a Sedge Warbler! A bit more grilling of the bush and there it was. After a short while it came out and showed beautifully.

A brief scan of the marsh resulted in lots of ducks. The dykes were full of Sedge and Reed Warblers all in full song. At least 2 Cuckoo were calling, one sounded rather hoarse which was quite amusing!

As dusk approached six or seven of the Whimbrel flock present in the valley droped in to roost, another year tick for me. As dusk progressed 2 Arctic Terns were observed dropping into the bund infront of Swantail Hide (by Craig).

Lots of Hirundines (Swallows and House Martin at least) were noted today all over the place with there appearing to be more House Martin checking out their breeding locations in the village.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Frustrations of a Blue-winged Teal!

I didn't make it out today due to a mountain of reports to write but news from those out searching for the Blue-winged Teal at Wheldrake this afternoon/evening was negative with no further sightings after the original sighting this morning. I'll hopefully get out tomorrow to have a look for it, though not holding out much hope, seems very elusive!!!!

There was no sign of either the Osprey or Black Tern today by all accounts.

Found an interesting new woodland this evening that appeared full of potential for some good birds, was packed full of warblers.

UPDATE: Someone on Birdforum has reported on the Yorkshire thread that they had the Blue-winged Teal at 15.30. Directions aren't totally clear to me so I will provide better information later.


Blue-winged Teal IS still present per Natural England on the refuge at Wheldrake,this morning best viewed from the path between Pool and Swantail hides. Good luck! Its obviously elusive to say the least!!!

If you are visiting the site to look for this bird please watch only from the footpath. Do not enter the fields under any circumstances.

More Black Tern Photos

Check out Nigel's blog for some more pictures of the Black Tern present at East Hes Lake York yesterday. Good stuff.

No news either way today so far.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Osprey and Black Tern in York - Photos

A good day was had by a couple of lucky birders today! Great finds by Tim Jones this morning in the form of Osprey and Black Tern! Check out Tims Blog for record shots of these great birds. I didn't get chance to see either of these unfortunately but hoe to catch up with something good soon!

There appeared to be more migrants about again on my morning wander with more Common Whitethroats present, with several Swallows passing through heading north. This evening there appeared to be more House Martin about too. Interestingly, another Wheatear as been recorded at North Duffield Carrs this afternoon too.


Tim's just got BLACK TERN at East Hes Lake now in York (also Lesser Whitethroat). On a roll!


News from Tim Jones just now that he had an Osprey over East Hes (York Uni) heading towards the LDV. Keep em peeled!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Blue-winged Teal - Wheldrake Update

Lots of local birders have been grilling Wheldrake all day with no sign of the drake Blue-winged Teal that was seen late yesterday evening by several of the regulars after a cracking find by Ollie. It's more than likely still there but given the limited viewing locations and the vast amount of potential foraging areas it may prove tricky to actually catch up with it again.

There appeared to be a trickle of passage birds this morning with over a dozen Yellow Wagtail noted flying low north, with several others new in the fields through my dog walk circuit. There was also a 'new' Common Whitethroat in today too.

I was working from home today so made sure I had the window open all day so I could listen out for interesting birds. Highlights included Green Woodpecker, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, with Lesser Whitethroat and Linnet (seen at lunch time) all noted. The latter two new garden birds. Several House Martin and Swallow were noted on passage with the 'resident' pair still foraging over the house. Raptors noted included Sparrowhawk and distant Buzzard and a very frustrating glimpse at a falcon sp...

Monday, 18 April 2011

Blue-winged Teal - Wheldrake Ings

Just back from a very mad dash!

The day started rather successfully with a singing male Blackcap audible from the garden, followed shortly after by the Green Woodpecker that proved rather frustrating last week when I saw it fly over my house from about 500m away! Today I was in the right place at the right time! Up to 73 now!

On the way home I got a text from Ollie if I fancied going to Wheldrake this evening. Unfortunately I said I'd got a bit too much on so would regrettably have to give it a miss.

This evening, I'd just started watering the garden when the phone went. It was Ollie. He'd got a drake Blue-winged Teal at Wheldrake. Argh! I didn't think I'd have enough time to get down there with the remaining light but I thought it would be worth a shot. A very quick drive got me to Wheldrake. A quick 'jog' down to Swantail Hide saw me in place and scanning the refuge. Cuckoo, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler were all singing away. A few more of the local managed to get down. An anxious 40 odd minutes passed before it was eventually picked up in amongst tall grass but by this time it was more-or-less dark and fairly distant and nowhere near as showy as it had been when Ollie first picked it out.

Blue-winged Teal in flight © Dan Pancamo 2010.

Great find Ollie and thanks for the call. Check out Ollie's blog here for full account etc. I'll have to try and get down tomorrow evening if it hangs about. Hopefully it might make an appearance on North Duffield Carrs too at some point?

White-tailed Eagle - Sammy's Point - Eyes to the sky...

White-tailed Eagle flew west over Sammy's Point at 14:30

Eyes on the sky folks!!!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cuckoo! Cuckoo! (Savi's Warbler, Booted Eagle, Rufous Turtle Dove and Cretzschmar's Bunting UPDATE

A beautiful day yesterday and again today but (un)fortunately I'm flat out at work at the moment so couldn't make the most of the good weather and go out birding so spent the weekend report writing.

The Spurn area sounded good today with only it's second ever Savi's Warbler (only other was 1984) recorded at Sammy's Point - technically just outside the Spurn recording area I guess but not by far. The winds are set for SE for a bit so there could be more following on from the Red-rumped Swallow and Bee-eater from last week and today's Savi's. Typically elusive I'm glad I had good views of the Old Moor bird last spring otherwise I might have been having a frustrating evening...

Back home over the weekend I added Willow Warbler to my garden list, my 70th garden tick, and today a great surprise as a Cuckoo flew towards North Duffield Carrs over the back behind the house, number 71! A very pleasing addition to my garden list!

Common Cuckoo © Gabriel Buissart 2007

There has been some 'interesting' reports over the weekend, firstly a Cretzschmar's Bunting in Dorest that didn't materialize into anything (though there was an Ortolan in the county), a Rufous Turtle Dove was apparently photographed in a Suffolk garden but has not been seen since (with some grainy shots and talk of dodgy goings on) and today a probable 'dark-phase' Booted Eagle was reported in Lincolnshire (at the same site a White-tailed Eagle was reported 4 days ago)...

I'll hopefully get into the Lower Derwent Valley for a bit of patch work this week at some point to see what I can catch up with. I might try and connect with Ollie and Jono's Water Pipit at York University too. Then there's the Black Scoter too...

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Poison Warning Issued - Yorkshire

Further evidence of yet more appalling raptor persecution.... the following is an article from Todmorden News.

POLICE are warning people to stay away from dead birds after a suspected poisoning attempt against a Peregrine Falcon.

Officers believe a chicken carcass found at one of the rare bird’s Calderdale nesting sites was laced with poison in an attempt to attract and then kill it. Investigations are ongoing.

Special Constable and wildlife officer Phil Sanderson said it was a very worrying development.

“In all my 30 years’ service as an officer and now as the wildlife officer for Calderdale I have not heard of an attempt like this,” he said.

“People will use all sorts of deadly and highly toxic poisons in an effort to bring harm to these creatures.

“But the poisons they use are highly dangerous and indiscriminate. A child could have picked up this carcass and then who knows what would have happened?

“And dogs could be attracted to a carcass with deadly results. Not only is it very sad that someone would want to try and kill one of these beautiful birds but they are also risking people’s lives.

“If it is a carcass that is intended to cause harm then it will more than likely be split open.

“If you see one cover the bird up so that it doesn’t pose a risk to anyone else. If it looks wrong then it usually is.”

SC Sanderson is also warning off-road enthusiasts to stick to recognised and official sites as ground nesting birds enter a critical time.

“I take this job very seriously and will be watching over sites across Calderdale,” he said. “All the important sites are also monitored by local enthusiasts who keep a constant vigil for any suspicious activity which then comes back to me.”

Anybody who comes across a suspicious carcass or sees suspicious activity is asked to contact police.

HAVE you come across anything suspicious like this when you have been out and about? Email us at todnews@todmordennews.co.uk or hbtimes@hebdenbridgetimes.co.uk

This kind of thing really angers me in a big style. I'll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled during my upland surveys this year. I can't believe this sort of thing still goes on.

Rufous Turtle Dove in Suffolk!

Probably likely to be the least-watched Rufous Turtle Dove in the UK???!! Though I guess the county listers will be out for it with it being a first for Suffolk.

1 reported near Barsham, Suffolk this morning. photograph here. Apparently present for 3 days so far.

This is presumably a different bird to the Oxfordshire bird given that the Chipping Norton bird was still present this morning.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Cretzschmar's Bunting in Dorset? UPDATE

Possible reported in scrub by the visitor centre at Kimmeridge Bay DWT today according to Birdguides and RBA late this evening, also reported on Dorset Birds blog as 'unconfirmed report'... does anyone have any info??? Could be a good weekend!

This would be a massive bird if it is one with only 4 accepted records - all from Shetland (1967 and 1979) and Orkney (1998 and 2008). It would therefore represent the 1st mainland and 1st English record of the species (with records in 1989 in Lothian and 1875 in Sussex no longer accepted).

This would be a month earlier than any previous record... and also a lot earlier than any previous record in northwest Europe...

Cretzchmar's Bunting © Jan Svetlik 2008

News at lunchtime Saturday: No sign of reported possible. I guess we'll have to wait to see if there are any pictures of it?

Nuclear Power Station and birds: An interesting and informed article!

Noticed this article today from the Gazette (I think this is a paper in Gloucestershire) It shows brilliant journalism!

A NUCLEAR power station is proving the preferred location for rare breeds this spring.

A record number of bird species have been recorded at Oldbury Power Station, including the Spoonbill, of which there are only 50 pairs in the UK, and the Waxwing, which has less than 100 birds in the country.

A total of 151 different bird species have been recorded at Oldbury in the past 12 months by local birdwatchers.

Matthew Castle, head of environment at Oldbury, said: "Over the past few years we have been constantly striving to improve the diversity of species found around the site.

"We have worked hard to maintain and improve the habitats we have which include orchards, ponds, silt lagoons and hedgerows and we are pleased that our hard work is paying off."

The site is spread over 175 acres and has its own two-kilometre nature trail, which links with the Severn Way public footpath, attracting many visitors each year and providing a natural habitat for a wide range of birds and other wildlife.

Many birds are resident at Oldbury all year including Cormorant, Curlew, Heron, Shelduck, Buzzard, Moorhen and the Peregrine Falcons but there are many species which are only seen a few times each year or just once in a year including Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Little Ringed Plover, Woodcock, Arctic and Great Skua.

This kind of journalism annoys me, are there really 50 pairs of Spoonbill in England? Are there only 100 Waxwing in the UK? I think there was more than that in Leeds today!

Often these large industrial sites have natural areas created as some form of mitigation land and in the right places can get a decent bird list. I'm interested to know what record they've broken (unless they have 50 pairs of Spoonbill breeding!)? I doubt they have got the largest list from a power station site, I'd have thought that would be Dungeness? A few years back I did some year-round surveys on an old power station site in the Northeast, it was great and had about 160 species in the year highlights I can remember off the top of my head included Bluethroat, Black Redstart, 2 Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Waxwing, Golden Oriole, Marsh Warbler, Richard's Pipit, Kentish Plover, Great Grey Shrike, Caspian Tern, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pallas's Warbler, Barred Warbler, Jack Snipe, Snow Bunting...

They have done well to get Waxwing this year though!

Golden Oriole © Dixi 2004

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Lots of Kites

The day didn't get off to a good start. Whilst out walking the dogs I had a Green Woodpecker fly out of a small copse, this was about 400m from my house. I then had the pleasure/pain of watching it fly straight towards the village - not just any part of the village but my street! From my angle it appeared to go straight over my house! I'm certain that if I was looking from the house/garden I would have had it! Talk about frustrating! Nevermind! I've also had Great Spotted Woodpecker do the same thing and that has eluded me thus far from the garden/house.

A bonus during my dog walk was that the single Common Whitethroat had multiplied into two birds. Blackcaps appeared to be on the up too. The Golden Plover flock remains present but still no sign of any Dotterels - yet!

Surveying today was for raptors - the weather wasn't great but the day produced getting on for a dozen Red Kites, some showing incredibly well as they scavenged along the roads. We watched one bird foraging around a farm where it dropped down and picked up a sheeps afterbirth, it then flew up into a tree and ate it!

A trip to check on the horse produced some outstanding views of a male Yellow Wagtail (I used the horse as a portable bird hide) and a decent number of Swallows had arrived since I last went down.

Looking forward to the weekend, hopefully the weather will improve again and some more migrants will arrive in the LDV. I'd take Purple Heron or Bee-eater please!

Bee-eaters Todmorden West Yorkshire!?! UPDATE

News filtering out late this evening of 4 Bee-eaters reported at 6.30pm and apparently suppressed in the Todmorden area of West Yorkshire yesterday (Monday 11th April 2011).

I don't know the details of this sighting as yet but I hope they get relocated! I'll certainly have my eyes and ears peeled tomorrow!

There may be a reason other than blatant suppression that news of the bird did not make it out. For example they might have been found by lucky 'non-birders' etc... Will wait and see... Would be a good one for the garden list!

European Bee-eaters © Rashuli 2007

Information from Birdforum Yorkshire Thread and Heavybirder blog. Any further information would be great!

New News reported this afternoon from James Hunter on Birdforum who directed me to a blog (Calderdale Birds)with the following information from AndyC: I have spoked vis email to the finder of the bee eaters and he did not want any twitchers seeing the birds and did not put the news out because of this...

This seems a tad selfish and a bit of shame assuming there are no sensitive species in the area that twitchers could have disturbed?

2 Bee-eaters seen at Spurn this morning. Maybe Todmorden was enough to put them off the UK. After driving through there last week it wouldn't be a surprise.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Plenty of Migrants and Garden Birding..

I've been pretty busy with work at the end of the week and also over the weekend hence the lack of posts.

Like many I've been hit by a wave of migrants over the weekend, with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Swallow and Sand Martin all now definitely 'in'. A trip to North Duffield Carrs last night (Sunday) resulted in my first Yellow Wagtails of the year (2 flying north). Along with the giant female Peregrine. I'd been hoping for some White/Yellow Wagtails, Water Pipits or more Wheatear given that plenty of the above had been found by Ollie up at the top of the valley at Heslington, York. But I had no joy.

Today a local dog walk produced my first Common Whitethroat of the year, a male singing along a hedgerow. Whilst out surveying this afternoon I had a cracking male Yellow Wagtail walking along a minor road that allowed really close views.

I've added 3 new garden birds over the weekend with Grey Heron, Mute Swan and Chiffchaff all recorded. I had a Buzzard over high yesterday too, and for a moment a very high Great Black-backed Gull got me really interested...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

More Migrants

The morning dog walk produced a Willow Warbler singing away, along with a singing Blackcap along the same stretch of hedge. There was also at least 2 Fieldfare present. Lapwings are busily mating and establishing territories and the pea field is rapidly attracting more and more Golden Plover.

A couple of male Pheasants were making a din behind the garden when I got back, another garden tick!

I spent the day in the office today which was a shame given the weather, especially when I got news from the guys surveying one of my sites that they'd got a ring-tail Hen Harrier and Osprey! I'm out looking for raptors tomorrow on a different site so fingers crossed for something equally as good!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Swallows and Herons: The rigours of garden listing!

Finally got a garden tick this evening in the form of 3 Swallows that flew through low near dusk heading west. I'd earlier seen a single over the fields near the house whilst walking the dogs heading northwest.

It wasn't all plain sailing with the garden list today as whilst walking the dogs this morning I had two Grey Herons fly through that would have been clearly visible from the garden, the only problem was I was nowhere near the garden to count them! This is at least the third time this has happened with Grey Heron! One day I'll get them!

This has also happened with Great Spotted Woodpecker and Whooper Swan!

A Sparrowhawk was buzzing the garden birds all day and a Buzzard was seen distantly to the north. Despite having the window open most of the day I didn't manage to hear any Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff or better...

Monday, 4 April 2011

A couple of QUALITY local birds

Spent the day birding to the east of Skipton today, rubbish weather but still a few decent birds, lots of Golden Plover and Curlew. A small flock of 10 Swallow was nice.

Whilst having tea this evening I got a text from Russ telling me there was 2 Wheatear at Bank Island, Wheldrake. A fairly decent local bird. I thought I'd head over to North Duffield Carrs to see if there were any down there too. I almost didn't go as it was so black outside I thought it was going to start raining again.

As soon as I got my scope up to scan the reserve the first thing I dropped on was a female Wheatear!!! Happy with this I phoned Alan to let him know. After getting off the phone a male jumped into view. I managed to get a couple of record shots on my phone but they are typically rubbish! (see below).

A further scan around the reserve resulted in a count of about 32 Black-tailed Godwit, 4/5 Oystercatcher, a couple of Curlew and the usual ducks and swans, but now in much lower numbers - with much less water than my last visit.

A couple of Swallows were noted flying through with a single Chiffchaff singing away outside the hide. A Barn Owl flew through as I neared the car park and my first Willow Warbler of the year gave a brief bit of song.

As a postcript I heard that Jono had 3 Wheatear this evening at Bank Island. I wonder how many had dropped into the Lower Derwent Valley this afternoon?

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Another great local day!

I had another really enjoyable day today.

A local walk this morning produced some more quality birds and a few new Chiffchaffs. A roving 'flock' of 7 Jays were possibly my first in the local area and a potential garden tick in the waiting!

I purchased some trees to improve the value of my garden to the neighbourhood birds so that I can get more birds in. Whilst sorting the new plants out I had a second House Martin join the first bird foraging over the house. I had my second record of Redshank from the garden and another first, as a single Cormorant flew south overhead.

A brief trip out this afternoon resulted in a very special birding first for me. Pictures may follow...

Saturday, 2 April 2011

An Awesome Day

The House Martin greeted me as I opened the curtain this morning. I spent the whole day enjoying the ICC World Cup final today, what a spectacular game of cricket between the two heavyweights of the one-day game. I've been watching every game of the tournament and have thoroughly enjoyed it all and have been cheering on India from the start (based on knowing how good they are after a few years of IPL following!) My only negative from today was that Raina didn't get chance to bat, never mind, not long till the IPL now though.....

MS Dhoni hits a stonker of a six to win the World Cup for India.

During the lunch break I nipped over to Selby to get some shopping in, I was rewarded on the way back with my first Swallow of the year. A single bird flying low North just to the west of North Duffield village.

This evening I took a wander around the local area. Plenty of Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling, a handful of 'new' Chiffchaffs singing away. Reed Bunting and Yellowhammers singing. A small flock of Chaffinch contained at least 2, possibly 3 incredibly impressive summer plumaged male Brambling! A bit of a surprise but very enjoyable nonetheless.

I didn't get down to North Duffield Carrs today unfortunately but will try tomorrow at some point. A Little Egret was recorded briefly this morning but flew off towards Bubwith.

A few local birders have reported Blackcap, Willow Warbler Sand Martin and the odd Swallow today. Nationally, things seem to have really kicked off with Purple Heron, Black Stork, Garganey, Hobby, Spotted Crake, Wood Sandpiper, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Cuckoo, Wryneck, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, House Martin, Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Redstart, Black Redstart, Red-flanked Bluetail, Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher, Serin and lots of Osprey all reported (admittedly mainly from the south). Numbers of Waxwing, Iceland Gull and Glaucous Gull all remain fairly high.

Friday, 1 April 2011

New Office Tick!

I had a very busy day in the office today but it was made all the more enjoyable by a pair of Mute Swans that flew low over the city centre and made it onto my office list (my work office not home office/garden list). They looked like they were dropping down onto the river.

Mute Swan landing.

I also had a single Chiffchaff singing away in the city centre this evening.

I'm looking forward to getting a bit more quality local birding in over the weekend and hope I'll find a few more migrants, and hopefully something good.