Saturday, 29 September 2012

BONXIE in the LDV (and lots of Marsh Harriers)!!!

I decided to go and check out the local floods to see if there was any birds worth noting today.  Just as I pulled up at my first destination I got a call to say that there was a Bonxie (Great Skua) to the north of Selby heading towards the Lower Derwent Valley (LDV). Wow! Local Mega!! (I think there's been a few York Recording Area records; somewhere between 2 and 4 I think) I'd just got to a decent viewpoint so started scanning, hoping, then thinking, if it was going to turn up it will have gone over my garden! Ouch! That would have been a monster of a garden tick!! Trying not to let that put me off I kept scanning back and forth but unfortunately there was no further sign of it, so, just like the [at least] 2 Arctic Skuas and 2 Gannets that I've missed this year they go on the big pile of dipped birds!! Would have been a good bird to have gripped Tim off with while he tarts about on North Ron!

The floods were rapidly increasing this morning, looking at the flood banks was a bit like looking at Murchison Falls! Pouring over..  The birds were moving around all the time as their feeding/roosting spots were going under.  There was 100+ Lapwing, 60+ Golden Plover, lots of Snipe and 2 Ruff with several hundred Starling in amongst them. The water also flushed out loads of duck, several hundred Teal, Mallard and Gadwall with a good (increasing) number of Wigeon and a few Shoveler.  Counting birds was near impossible due to them never keeping still, mainly due to the water but also by the continuous presence of several Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Marsh Harriers. If all that wasn't enough, it was blowing a gale, right into my face! I gave it a few hours before retiring back home for a few hours of the T20 Cricket world cup!

Marsh Harrier 

Marsh Harrier 

Marsh Harrier 


Swallow (almost got it!)

Late afternoon saw me back down at the Geoff Smith Hide at North Duffield Carrs. As above, there was a substantial increase in the water level here compared to yesterday, but still enough places left for roosting Marsh Harriers, good job too as there was between 10 and 12 that came into roost tonight.  Unfortunately they didn't play ball for photographing them as by the time a couple came close there was hardly any light left!

A couple of the Marsh Harriers

The sky was full with Swallows and House Martin, thousands of them, perfect for a Hobby I thought, unfortunately (for me) the Hobby had already been through, 30 minutes before I arrived in the hide! One of those days!  The floods on Bubwith as viewed from North Duffield had a small flock (c12)Tufted Duck and there was 3 drake Pochard too.  Thousands of Black-headed Gulls this evening. Additional interest was provided by a pair of Kestrel, single Barn Owl and a male Sparrowhawk that hovered (yes that's right) before dropping into a reedbed, picking out some prey and flying back to its perch next to the hide!

Tomorrow's quest is for a Yellow-browed Warbler or Little Bunting given the presence of these inland today... wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there I'm Matt and im new to birding the York area after living in the US for 8 years. It would be great if you could follow my blog The Bat Birder. I could also really use some help on an odd pipit I saw the other day. Thanks -Matt