Monday, 8 October 2018

North Yorkshire......Saturday & Sunday 6th/7th October 2018.

A couple of days away with Mrs R to north York's staying at East Ayton close to Forge Valley saw us seeing a few birds on our travels in which wasn't really a birding holiday at all,but just a couple of relaxing days away.
 Saturday saw us visiting lovely Thornton-Le-Dale and a blustery and wet Whitby,but some confiding Turnstones at Whitby made the visit worthwhile.
 Sunday saw us visiting several places including the lovely villages of Rosedale,Hutton-Le-Hole and the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy as we toured around the Moors and Wolds,seeing a few nice birds and scenery.The best of which went to 3500 - 4000 Pink-footed geese flying over Wharram Percy,which was a fantastic sight to see and hear. 
 I have included here a selection of photos of both the birds,landscapes and some of the places we visited during our trip.
Beck Isle Cottage,Thornton Dale.

A Blustery Whitby Looking North Towards Sandsend.

Turnstone,Whitby Harbour.

Turnstone,Whitby Harbour.

Turnstone,Whitby Harbour.

Turnstone,Whitby Harbour.

Whitby Abbey,What A Fantastic Iconic Building.

Sunrise At East Ayton.

Some Nice Scenery Near To Rosedale.

The Road Into Rosedale.


Red Grouse,Rosedale Moor.

St.Martins Parish Church,Wharram Percy.

St.Martins Parish Church,Wharram Percy.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Barton Pits & East Halton,Saturday/Sunday 29th/30th September 2018.

With the rare chance of getting out birding on two days this weekend,i decided to visit Barton Pits on Saturday and the local patch at East Halton on Sunday,the following is a summary of what i saw and some photos thrown in as well.

Saturday 29th

Today i planned to walk from the 'New' visitor centre up to Leggot's Quarry and back,taking in Far-Ings,Chowder Ness etc.
 The main feature of the visit,was a westerly passage of Pink-footed Geese up the estuary as on my last visit here and today's totals were a decent 1002 birds.
 Other highlights included in the visit,saw at least 47 Bearded Tit being seen around the Outdoor Pursuit Pit reed beds,my first Rock Pipit of the autumn flying west along the shore at Chowder Ness,1 adult female Marsh harrier and a couple of Siskins heading west.
 I also had brief views of a Bittern and Kingfisher on Ness Lake,but it was just nice to get out and about in the sun today.

Sunday 30th

Today's local patch visit was pretty damn good to be honest,with some nice birds seen,including one pretty scarce bird here to be fair. 
 The first highlight went to lovely juvvie Grey Wagtail watched feeding around the margins of Winter's Pond and it gave some nice views just after first light,before flying off south,the first i have seen on the patch this year.
 Next goodie was the best bird of the day,as a grey goose took off from Winter's,flew over my head calling and headed towards the Skitter and landed in a stubble field at the back of the mitigation area.I walked up onto the bank to scope the bird,which to be fair was quite a way off,but I'm certain from it's call and structure,thin tail band at the tail tip in flight,big head and wedge shaped profile that this was a Bean Goose
 I watched it for a good while and flocks of Pink-footed Geese flew closely over it and it did not show any interest in them at all and there was also at least 50 birds feeding close by on a stubble field,strange behaviour i thought if this was a Pink.It was then flushed by a passing aircraft and joined the Pinks feeding nearby which in turn where flushed and i didn't see the bird afterwards.
 Other goodies seen today included 2 Marsh Harrier,a juv. and the adult male from Dawson City,1 Siskin which flew west,Kingfisher(At last!) at the Skitter and last weeks adult Med Gull was still present at the Skitter along with the pair of Stonechat.
 So with 4 additions to the patch year list and some great birding to boot,it was another great visit.
Pink-footed Geese,Heading West At Barton.

Part Of An Irrupting Flock Of 47 Bearded Tit,Outdoor Pursuit Pit.

Male Bearded Tit,Outdoor Pursuit Pit.

Cormorant,Ness Lake,Far-Ings.

West Bound Pink-footed Geese Over Far-Ings.

Curlew,Chowder Ness.

Gadwall,Ness Lake,Far-Ings.

Sunrise Over The Humber,East Halton.

Pink-footed And Greylag Geese,Winter's Pond.

Adult Med. Gull,East Halton Skitter.

Adult Med.Gull,East Halton Skitter.

Male Ruff,East Halton Skitter.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Local Patching......Saturday 22nd September 2018.

A free day today and a pretty decent forecast,well no rain anyway,saw me heading to the local patch at East Halton/Goxhill.
 I arrived just as it was getting light,to a stunning sunrise,hopefully an omen of things to come during the visit.
 After getting all my kit together,camera,pack up etc.,i spent the first half an hour scanning Winter's Pond first.
 Highlight's here included,9 Little Grebe,17 Shoveler,150 Sand Martin and 40 Swallow.No sign of any Green Sands today,only half a dozen Black Wits on the far side of the pond.
 As i walked the resident male Cetti's Warbler was sub singing,like they do at this time of year and as i moved onto the Humber flood bank,the first of the days skeins of Pink-footed Geese slowly moved south west,heading for their wintering grounds on the upper estuary.
 I spent the best part of the first hour scanning the river here and 3 additions to the patch year list were gladly added,the first was a juv. Common Tern which flew west,close in,the next a nice surprise in the form of a redhead Red-breasted Merganser,an annual addition it seems,but nice all the same and finally 6 Common Scoter loafing on the river.
 In the bushes along here,at least 7 Chiffchaff and a single Willow Warbler searched for food to fuel their long journeys south.
 The next section of the walk between Winter's and East Halton Skitter saw an impressive flock of 250 Goldfinch and 50 Linnet being seen and the first of 4 Marsh Harriers hunted along the fields towards Winter's.
 Today the Skitter was alive with birds,with at least 100 Black-headed Gull's feeding in the haven,along with at least 350 Black-tailed Godwits making for an impressive sight.I walked around to the other side of the haven and around the pools,which were pretty dry to be fair and managed to find a smart adult Med.Gull which showed nicely before flying onto the inland fields.Also on the newly ploughed stubble,were at least 550 Golden Plover and about 450 Black-tailed Godwits mixed in amongst them.
 As i walked onto the newly mown flood bank towards the old gas installation,a couple of nice sightings included a pair of Stonechat,which were pretty evasive to be fair and promptly flew off down a hedgerow,the second,a couple of Wheatear,were more confiding,with one of the birds showing really nicely.
 Between the Skitter and Dawson City,it was pretty quiet,with the only highlights being the adult male Marsh Harrier from Dawson hunting the salt marsh,a single Common Buzzard and 56 Pinks on their regular winter pasture near Dawson and a few more Chiffs and a Willow Warbler.
 As i neared Goxhill Haven,another couple of sighting's brightened the visit,again,as earlier in quick succession.The first,was another Wheatear,which i only saw briefly before it disappeared,the second was a cracking juv. Whinchat which showed nicely,before flying off inland.The latter was new for the patch year list,so i was pretty chuffed.
 The rest of the visit was pretty hard going,with not much else new for the day being seen,apart from a Treecreeper feeding with a roving tit flock in Red House Wood and 3 Roe Deer,which included a fantastic close encounter with a buck near Winter's Pond.
 So all in all,a total of 11.5 miles walked today with some nice additions to the patch year list and a decent tally of 626 Pink-footed Geese moving west and 80 species logged overall made for a superb visit.
Winter's Pond At Sunrise.

Looking Towards The Humber Sea Terminal At Killingholme Haven.

Adult Mediterranean Gull,East Halton Skitter.

Adult Mediterranean Gull,Flyby,East Halton Skitter.

Little Egret,East Halton Skitter.

Distant Record Of The Male Of The Pair Of Stonechats,East Halton Skitter.

Female Wheatear,East Halton Skitter.

The Second Female Wheatear,East Halton Skitter.

Whinchat,Goxhill Haven.

Common Buzzard,East Halton.

A Lovely Encounter With This Buck Roe Deer Dozing In The Afternoon Sun.

After He Woke Up And Saw Me.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit Update.........

After finding a colour ringed male Black-tailed Godwit on my patch at Winter's Pond on the 8th September,i have now received the full life history of the bird back from the ringing project in Iceland.The following is a summary of the birds movements and age etc.

Male bird - CR Combination - Green/Green left leg,Green/Lime right leg,ringed as a 2 year old bird at S-Mulasysla,Alftafjordur,Starmyri eastern Iceland on the 03.05.00.,making this bird an incredible 20 years old.
 He has travelled widely being seen at Belfast Harbour RSPB in Northern Ireland,Wexford Slobs in Southern Ireland,North Killingholme Haven in Lincolnshire,the Ribble Estuary in Lancashire,Paul Holme Strays in East Yorkshire,Wheldrake Ings in the Lower Derwent Valley,in East Yorkshire,the Dee Estuary in Merseyside,Frieston Shore in Lincolnshire and finally my patch at East Halton in Lincolnshire.
 The bird spent all his winters here in the UK,mainly on the Dee Estuary/Wirral in Merseyside,before returning to Iceland to breed.
 What a fantastic insight into a birds life and again,just goes to show how important ringing birds is to study their migration and help in the conservation of so many of our birds.
 A big thank you must go to Dr. Jenny Gill for her original reply and the forwarding of my details to Boddi at the Iceland Wader Group and also for anyone interested please check out the superb Wader Tales Blog ran by Graham Appleton of the BTO,with contributions from Jenny and others,the blog can be found here @ .
The 20 year old male Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit,seen feeding at Winter's Pond,East Halton,08.09.2018.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Barton Visit.....Saturday 15th September 2018.

A change of scenery today and a visit to my old patch at Barton,saw me concentrating my efforts around the western clay pits area,the following is what i encountered during my visit.
 I parked today at the visitor centre and after getting all the kit together,began proceedings by looking around Barton Reedbed reserve first.
 First nicety to enter the notebook,although a commoner one these days,a male Cetti's Warbler blasted out his song on the edge of the dipping platform as i passed by and overhead a juv. Marsh Harrier slowly quartered the extensive reedbeds looking for it's first meal of the day.
 As i walked,the hoped for sound greeted me,which i had been wanting to hear,the distinct 'wink wink' call of Pink-footed Geese.I watched as my first 11 birds seen this autumn,slowly made their way west up the estuary.It was really great to hear and see these beauties,one of my fave bird species.
 The westerly passage of Pinks,was a feature of the visit,with other flocks of 16,43,5,4,31 and 15 and also a flock of 19 birds which dropped onto the Pursuit Pit for a well earned wash and brush up after the long journey from their Icelandic breeding grounds,just great to see.
 I continued my walk in between showers of drizzle,in pretty poor conditions at times,passing by Western Approach Pit which held a single Wigeon in amongst the local Shoveler and Gadwall,another sign of autumnal migration.
 I eventually made it to Ness Lake hide as another shower passed over and spent some time drying out as i watched more Gadwall,Tufties,Shoveler,a single Chiffchaff and heard 5 more singing male Cetti's Warblers.
 As the rain stopped and i had dried out,i walked around to the elevated hide which overlooks the old scrapes and enjoyed some nice views of a fishing Kingfisher,which caught several fish before disappearing onto Ness Lake.
 Distant views over the Humber bridge,saw me watching a Peregrine as it chased something before perching on the overhead cables.
 I carried on walking as it rained again,but this time i managed to get some reward,as i got some cracking views of a male Cetti's Warbler as it flitted about in a nearby Hawthorn hedge.They are such smart birds and it's a real pleasure to watch them when they do show well.
 After walking along the edge of the new pits and logging singles of Blackcap,another Chiffie and a Reed Warbler i arrived at the old visitor centre car park to the lovely sight of Hummingbird Hawkmoth buzzing around some Red Valerian before it shot off out of sight,a nice addition to the days sightings i thought.
 Down the edge of Hotel Pit and more warblers in a tit flock contained another Chiff and this time a pristine Juvvie Willow Warbler,as well as a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper.
 The final stretch back to the car saw me seeing 2 Bar-tailed Godwit as they motered east along the estuary and some superb views of 6 Bearded Tit as they 'pinged' in the reedbed next to the visitor centre buildings.As i have mentioned in the past,Male Beardies really do rank as one of our most stunning native birds.
 Well what a nice morning out and about,despite the dodgy weather,this hobby is great!.
Pink-footed Geese Heading West In The Murk.

Bar-tailed Godwits Bombing East.

Female Bearded Tit.

Male Bearded Tit.

Nice Moustache!.

What A Cracking Bird These Males Are.

Male Bearded Tit.