Sunday, 31 July 2011

A bit of local stuff

A bit of local birding and non-birding today with plenty of gardening. A trip to the large lake at the University resulted in 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls in amongst 400+ Black-headed Gulls and while driving back from the garden centre I had a single Little Egret flying between North Duffield and Bubwith, the bird was flying along the road. I got a report later in the day that there was 3 Little Egret this afternoon on the reserve at North Duffield. I still hope to get this on my garden list!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Nightjar Surveying

Spent last night looking for Nightjar, however we drew a large blank! Highlight came prior to the actual survey, in the form of a day hunting Tawny Owl!

I'm looking forward to some more Two-barred Crosssbills arriving in the next few weeks...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Plenty of House Martin

Many House Martin present around the garden with lots of fledglings recorded. Good news is that the/a pair of House Martin again appear to be breeding within the nest on my neighbours house over my driveway. Hopefully I'll get some that actually fledge rather than another pile of dead chicks under the nest! There was a good 50+ birds flying around the street this afternoon, many pausing to rest on the house roof and aerials. Good to see so many fledglings. Lots of Swift screaming around too.

We had an interesting visitor to the garden yesterday. While sat in back garden having a cuppa yesterday afternoon, with both dogs and the cat a racing pigeon dropped into the garden 'water-feature'! It didn't stay long though as it attracted the attention of all of the animals!

Friday, 22 July 2011

More Quail!

Went to a site on the Yorkshire Wolds last night and had at least 6 Quail singing, several of them were in new locations which was good to see. An amazing year in East Yorkshire and the Wolds for Quail!

This makes about 20 Quail at this particular site this summer! Not bad for a random patch in the wolds! Interestingly 95% of these birds have been within Barley fields.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

So nearly a Little Egret garden tick!

There's been a Little Egret knocking about down on Bank Island at Wheldrake for the last couple of days. I've not had one here since we moved over here so was quite keen on catching up with it. A couple of drive-bys after work have failed, likely mainly because I couldn't be bothered to walk the 50 m to the bird hide, and the rain etc. I was going to have a look this morning on my way to work but in the end didn't need to...

While walking the dogs around the village I decided to dodge the wet vegetation walk and opted to wander along a farm track going out of the northwest of the village, after a very short while I noticed a white shape coming across me, it was a Little Egret!!! Now anyone who reads my blog often enough will know I keep a garden list! Once I'd checked it wasn't white-morph Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret or white-morph Western Reef-Heron my next thought was, is it going to fly past my garden... Luckily it went down in a ditch and I was happy I wouldn't have seen it from the garden, so nothing missed, just a nice local bird! I carried on walking the dogs getting good views of the breeding Yellow Wagtail, Tree Sparrow and a couple of singing Corn Bunting that have just recently moved into the area.

Whilst walking back to the house along the lane that runs behind the house I noticed a bird flying away from me being mobbed by crows, it was the Little Egret again, this time it would have been visible from my house/garden, gutted! It circled back towards me where it landed atop a Willow tree with 3 Crows going crazy at it. I legged it back to the house with the dogs in tow ran upstairs, leaned out of the bedroom window to scan the Willow tree, but it had gone. Mega gutted!!!

This would have been one of my better garden birds on my rapidly increasing list! Nevermind, tomorrow I might make Jenny walk the dogs and I'll sit and watch for the Egret! I had a similar run around with Grey Heron a couple of times so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it may still be around.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Passage Waders - York

An evening walk around the new lake at Heslington East produced a flock of 20 stunning summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit, unfortunately they were flushed by someone walking along Low Lane and they flew south towards the LDV. A single summer plumaged Dunlin was also present on one of the flashes.

An adult Red-legged Partridge was seen with 10 chicks in tow. A pair of Grey Partridge were seen too.

Whilst driving home a strategic stop produced incredible views of Barn Owl feeding up its nest, with a pair of Tawny Owls at their nest too.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Marsh Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs

I managed to get great views of the Marsh Sandpiper on Wednesday at Blacktoft Sands RSPB Reserve. The bird was 'missing' when I arrived however appeared again after a short while roosting up. It eventually showed itself properly, a rather ugly moulting adult. Certainly not the prettiest Marsh Sandpiper I've seen! After a brief spell feeding it flew out of sight around the corner and I decided that I couldn't be bothered to wait for it to come out again so left. There was plenty of Spotted Redshank and Dunlin around with a few Greenshank foraging too.

Whilst at Blacktoft I had to really work hard to resist the urge to drive to Daventry for the Greater Yellowlegs. This urge got harder and harder as the reports kept coming that the bird was "showing well", my main concern was would I be able to get there before it moved off naturally or got flushed! I was good though and came home. After a few more hours of the bird "showing well" I regretted not going as I realised if I had of left when news broke I would likely be watching this mega, as had been many of the UK twitching glitterati who has twitched the bird and already left the site!

After several hours news came out that the Yellowlegs was distant, and then more-or-less simultaneously news that it had been re-identified as a Greenshank. Surely this referred to the latter record when the bird was distant and the Yellowlegs would be somewhere out there? Then a picture was put on birdforum and a couple of blogs showing the Yellowlegs when it was "showing well" - only one problem, it wasn't one! It was a slightly commoner Greenshank!

This amazing balls up is hilarious! Not for the poor bloke who found it and released the news of this "mega" (everyone makes the occasional mistake) but for all those clueless twitchers who happily ticked the bird as Greater Yellowlegs. This really shows the skill levels of many of these people!

I'm glad I stayed at home, I would not have enjoyed turning up on site to realise I'd twitched a Greenshank! If it was Nordmann's then that would be a different story!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Quail Anyone?

Just back from an evening Quail survey in the Wolds. Managed to record between 12-14 birds with 1 seen in flight. Not bad for a random spot in the wolds!!!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Finally some birding!

I've not posted for a while, don't see the point in posting if I've not got anything to say!

Had a very successful local evening walk resulting in cracking views of a couple of Barn Owls feeding their nest. A pair of Tawny Owls showing very well on phone wires and a very showy pair of Little Owl too. Also had at least 4 Quail in some Barley fields.

A very enjoyable evening walk.