Monday, 24 March 2014

About time...

Managed to get out birding a bit this weekend, just around the North Duffield Carrs area. Didn't go further afield and was mostly on foot.

On Sunday I had 4 Peregrine Falcon sightings, possibly all different birds. The highlights were one (a male) over my garden and one over the reserve that nailed a Pigeon after a couple of attempts after I'd picked it up circling at quite a height. There was also a fair bit of Buzzard displaying going on on Sunday, watched 4 birds roller-coasting over the garden and had another 4 birds about 2 miles south of the village. Also had a pair of Kestrel displaying over the garden. Looking forward to my House Martins returning soon, in 2011 they arrived on the 23rd, so could be any day now...

There was still a single Pink-footed Goose present on the Carrs, in with some Greylags. Also had a first-winter Glaucous Gull. I seem to always get Glaucous Gull at NDC in the late winter/early spring, think that's at least one in each of the last four years. They are probably fairly frequent if you bother to look for them (which I don't).

It was nice to see/hear a number of waders coming back to breeding grounds, e.g. Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew etc... Still lots of ducks around, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard. They are looking quite nice now, possibly even worth looking at for 5 minutes.

Unfortunately it started dumping it down with rain and the visibility went just as dusk came so no sign of any owls or the Bittern that was reported earlier in the weekend.

Bittern at North Duffield in November 2012 (Andy Walker) Details here.

Over the previous week I'd had several flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing all flying north or east, presumably heading back over to Europe to find somewhere to breed.

I had my first singing Chiffchaff of the year last weekend (16th), three near Kirkham Priory as I enjoyed a nice walk along the river.

I'm busy sorting out my preparation for birding trips coming up this year....

In May I shall be spending two weeks in Taiwan - the main target being Fairy Pitta, those who know me know how much I love seeing members of this family! There's also 20 odd endemics to get my claws into and a ton of potential armchair-ticks due to the number of very distinctive sub-species, just a matter of time!

In November I'm going to be having a bit of a big trip to Australia, will be spending time birding in South Australia, then in Queensland. I'll be birding in some great habitat with some great people so can't wait for that, will be visiting Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns and a whole lot of forest, bush, desert, sea and jungle in between. I really cannot wait for this trip. I hope to get another Pitta on this trip, Noisy Pitta but to be honest even the Pittas may get eclipsed by some of the other birds/families... Bowerbirds, Riflebirds, Honeyeaters, Fairy-Wrens, Albatrosses and a huge list of Parrots and relatives! Should be ok I think! Warning, I may not come back...

Will try and fit some local birding news in over the next couple of weeks too.... Got a couple of good book reviews coming up too... when I can fit them in.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Spring has Sprung!

Had a garden tick today - a Red Kite flew over heading east quite high up.

I was gardening today as it was a beautiful day, 16/17oC apparently. Also in evidence were my first butterflies of the year: Small Toitoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Brimstone - all looking very smart and fresh. Also had a few Bees and even several ladybirds! Beats looking at ducks and gulls...

Lots of birds singing/displaying today: Skylark, Lapwing and Kestrel and several nest-building: Robin, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Tigers and Great Whites in the LDV?

This last week there's been a bit of movement through the local area, almost making me want to get out birding. Almost.

Jack and Ollie found two Bean Geese at Bubwith on Sunday, Ollie forced me into his car at gunpoint so I was forced to look at them. They were very distant and then flew out of view onto some arable fields. Pretty certain they were Taiga's based on several of the features we could see, however better/closer views would have been preferable. (Ollie and Chris had found Tundra Bean Geese at Castle Howard the day before and these looked very different but we were all wary of how messy the whole 'Bean Goose' issue is). There has certainly been quite a bit of Pink-footed Geese/Whooper Swan movement over the last week or so so there may well be other 'interesting' geese/swans dropping in.

Mid-week and I got an email from a local birder alerting me that he'd just seen a Great White Egret along the Pocklington Canal after a tip-off from another local who had seen the bird the day before. Presumably the bird that was knocking about the local area for some months last year. One to try and catch up with again.