Friday, 29 April 2016

A Lot To Catch Up On

With next weeks trip to Scotland rapidly approaching, I thought I'd better catch up on a few bits and pieces I've seen over the last few weeks.

Monday 18th April
Finally connected with 2 Corn Buntings on the way to North Cave, having managed to miss them everywhere else!!

Tuesday 19th April
Had my first, if a little brief, visit to Welton Waters today and was amazed how many birds were about, it had warmed up quite a lot so had probbaly helped. My only year tick of the afternoon was Whitethroat, but had my best ever views of 3+ Cetti's Warbler plus Marsh Harrier and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Cetti's Warbler (Listen until the end)

Friday 22nd April
With a few possible year ticks at Tophill, I headed up for a few hours. The first hide delivered  in the form of a Common Sandpiper, which was apparently the first of the year for the site, so was nice. Into South Marsh East Hide for the next, which had reportedly been elsuive. First bird in front of the hide, with the naked eye was the hoped for Red Crested Pochard!!

Drake Red Crested Pochard (unfortunately spent most of the time asleep!)

Next up was a bird that I'd been struggling with this year, having failed several times at North Cave, but finally caught up with Lesser Whitethroat. Again there were plenty of Cetti's Warblers, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs but didn't have time to try for the elusive Garganey at Hempholme.

Monday 25th April
The second Garden Mega of the year and again while I was putting the rubbish out...

Male Blackcap

Despite the awful weather yet again, I decided to go to North Cave and was rewarded with my first Reed Warbler of the year along with a patch tick in the form of Pink Footed Goose on Island Lake.

Pink Footed Goose

Despite the worsening weather conditions, I also managed another Lesser Whitethroat as well as a pair of Blackcap.

Tuesday 26th April
Having been gripped off by the stunning photos of the confiding Kentish Plover in Manchester yesterday, I decided to have a go for it once the kids had been picked up from school. Driving through heavy rain, snow showers, debris strewn across the motorway and football traffic, I thought it wasn't going to be my night and even more so when I arrived at Audenshaw Reservoir, to find the gate locked!!! Fortunately a couple of locals showed me the loose bars on the 6ft fence and I was able to squeeze through, ssshhhhh!!! The bird could be seen almost immediately but I was hoping for better views so joined the small crowd on the opposite bank. 

The twitch

My view

Male Kentish Plover, my first for 20 years and only my third ever

Friday 29th April
With several good birds on offer at North Cave yesterday, I had hoped some of them might have stuck around until today but with atrocious weather, I felt somewhat lucky to see my first Common Tern of the year on Main lake, along with a Common Sandpiper. Moving up to Crosslands hide, there were several Lesser Black backed Gulls along with, rather surprisingly, my first Knot for the reserve, a bit of a surprise!


British Year List: 159
Yorkshire Year List: 153
North Cave Year List: 95

Friday, 15 April 2016

Back To Blackoft!!

Tuesday 12th April

Surprise of the day when I had my first ever Chiffchaff in the garden, unfortunately it was only seen briefly but nevertheless a great record. After finishing some work off, I headed to North Cave, the East path seemed to be crawling with birds, several Blackcap, Willow Warblers and lots of calling Chiffchaffs. Viewing from Crosslands hide, there was a Little Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin.

It was there, honestly!! Must start keeping a pair of bins more handy

Friday 15th April

Having sorted a few bits at home first thing, I decided to head out in search of a few year ticks. With news of a few Sedge Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats at North Cave, I was tempted but with the possibility of a few extra waders at Blacktoft, I headed along the M62. Just before turning off towards Goole, I noticed a huge black bird above the motorway, a Raven!!

Carrying on towards Blacktoft, my first Swallows of the year were seen in Swinefleet, Arriving at the reserve, there were several Sedge Warblers as well as a few calling Cetti's Warblers. I then went in all of the hides but it was soon apparent that wader numbers were very low partly due to the weeks high tide, there was also no sign of the  pair of Garganey. Other birds seen included the large Black tailed Godwit flock, a small flock of Avocets and a booming Bittern. Also seen was several Marsh Harriers visiting their nests and one fantastic food pass.

Having decided to cut my losses, I headed back to North Cave in the hope of having time to connect with the 3 year ticks present. Arriving a short while later, I was immediately greeted with my first House Martin of the year as I got out of the car. With no sign of the Lesser Whitethroat around the South hide, I walked down the West path towards the North field. Having missed them on Tuesday, it was nice to catch up with the 5+ White Wagtails and in amongst them were 2 Yellow Wagtails.

Yellow Wagtail

Also in the same field was a very distant Wheatear, a great day all round!

British Year List: 151
Yorkshire Year List: 146
North Cave Year List: 86

North Cave Life List: 118

Friday, 8 April 2016

Scoter and A Few Seabirds

Saturday 26th March

With all of the recent sightings of inland Common Scoter, it came as no surprise when one was found on the Main Lake at North Cave. After a quick detour on the way home from Toby's football session, we were once again on site, viewing a new site and year tick.

Common Scoter - South Hide, Main Lake

We then headed over to the Crosslands hide, where there was now several "newly arrived" Sand Martins hawking over the pools., The Black tailed Godwit was also still present and the Avocet numbers had increased to 20+ birds.

Thursday 31st March

With the Easter holidays upon us, I knew birding would be extremely limited. My only opportunity came with a picnic trip to RSPB Bempton. Having read on their blog the night before, I wasn't expecting too much as it had said that the majority of the puffins had left the cliffs a few days before and were yet to return, great!!! Fortunately, I needn't have worried. Getting out of the car on arrival, I immediately saw my first Gannets of the year gliding along the clifftop. After a quick picnic lunch by the newly, vastly improved visitor centre, we headed down to the viewpoints. 

 Looking down to the sea way below, there were large numbers of Puffin in amongst the Razorbills and Guillemots resting on the water. Amy and Toby were beginning to doubt my i.d skills so had to do a bit of emergency reading up!!

As if they'd doubt their Daddy's ability to pick out a year tick or two!!

Scanning the cliffs from the large wooden viewpoints, we managed to pick out several nesting Puffins and some quite convincing looking Rock Doves. Not really sure what to make of these, quite a few genuine looking birds with pure white rumps but also quite a few that didn't look so good. There seems to be a fair few ticking these as Feral/Rock Doves on BUBO, but as I waited for my first as a lifer, on Shetland, I think I'll wait for one on my trip to Mull in early May. 

Amy hogging the scope from Toby!!

Feral/Rock Dove??

Kittiwake, Guillemot, Puffin and Feral/Rock Dove

Heading back towards the car, I finally had my first Meadow Pipits of the year. Next up was a trip to Flamborough for an......................................

Once again, the kids had done me proud and had put up with me trying to keep the 2016 list ticking along!!

Finally, a photo taken last year at Bempton by a really good friend of mine, Norfolk based photographer, Stuart Butcher

Take a look at some of his stunning images at: Stuart Butcher Photography

Friday 8th March

Off out for tea with the kids tonight and, as I'm sure Liz and any other birders partner would tell you, I'm always birding, no matter when and where. This time it paid off again with a pre-roost small flock of Whimbrel heading north over the A63 near Welton!!

British Year List: 142
Yorkshire Year List: 137
North Cave Year List: 76

North Cave Life List: 114