Friday, 17 June 2016

More To Catch Up On

Monday 9th May

Foolishly had a go at the Red footed Falcon at Thorne Moors, but with very little details on the bird and never really being sure of the best place to park, I dipped. Really good views of at least 5 Hobbies (181), were some consolation for the long walk out on to the moors, also had a Cuckoo calling, my first this year in Yorkshire.

Tuesday 10th May

Dropped the kids off at school and immediately set off for Cleveland. News broke on the way of a Citrine Wagtail also in the area which would be useful for the year list. Arriving at Saltholme, the Whiskered Terns (182), were immediately on view on Saltholme pools from the main road along with a 2 Black Terns (183).

Whiskered Tern

With the wagtail still present, I then headed off to Zinc Works road and after a short wait, the Citrine Wagtail (184) was added to the list, also present was a really bright Yellow Wagtail.

Citrine Wagtail

Next up was a short detour back to Saltholme RSPB, 2 Garganey (185), were on Paddys pool and 5 Spoonbills (186), were on Back Saltholme along with a Barnacle Goose(!) and at least one of the Whiskered Terns still present.

It was then time to head home, but still managed to cram in a quick trip to North Cave for the 2 Little Stints (187), from Crosslands Hide, also present were 3 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper.
2 Little Stints (just below the Avocets)

Friday 13th May

Having dipped last year, I was relieved to get another go at the Montagu's Harrier (188), at Blacktoft. With the male bird only making a very brief visit so far, it was the female who was showing as soon as I entered the hide.

Female Montagu's Harrier

Very little else on the reserve, other than several Cetti's Warbler, which seem to be every where I go this year.

Sunday 29th May

With news breaking of 2 Glossy Ibis (189), at North Cave, a picnic was quickly assembled for the kids and we headed off, bribery always works!!. Both birds were on view as we arrived and even the kids managed a view through the scope, a welcome addition to the Yorkshire list.

2 Glossy Ibis - not my usual standard admittedly!! (Photo with thanks to Stav Sinclair)

Tuesday 31st May

With several good birds at Spurn on Monday, I decided to head there for the day as Liz was out with the kids. Unfortunately, on arrival, it was evident that birding was going to be hard, with strong winds and at times torrential rain. Still managed to add 2 new birds to the year list, with Spotted Flycatcher (190) and Red backed Shrike (191) around Canal scrape.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Day 3 - Mull. Day 4 - Portsoy

Day 3 - Mull

Another early start with a drive to Oban to catch the ferry over to Mull. After a quick breakfast in the town, we headed to the harbour to check in and then birded the surrounding area, obtaining cracking views of the resident Black Guillemots (172).

On arrival at Craignure, we immediately headed off to the first of our sites but with deteriorating weather, we weren't too optimistic of actually connecting with any of our target birds for the day. The heavy rain meant that there was unlikely to be too many eagles up and about and nothing was noted at our first stop. Not to be put off, we headed to Gruline where we connected with a previous years bird, Dipper (173) and then on to Loch Na Keal where through torrential rain, we picked out 6 Red Breasted Mergansers (174) and a brief Cuckoo (175). With no sign of the Golden Eagle at the nest site, we managed to get some details of a reliable site for White tailed Eagle further south. We had another failed attempt for Otters, this time at Salen, but managed to pick up Eider (176). We decided to cut our losses and head for the eagles. On arrival, the pair of White tailed Eagles (177), were immediately on view, giving us by far, our best ever views of the species.

White tailed Eagle

Having at last had a bit of success, we then continued it with Rock Dove (178) and several pairs of Wheatears nearby. With no let up in the rain and a long drive once back on the mainland, we decided to cut our losses and managed to get on an early ferry back to Oban.

Day 4 - Portsoy

We decided on one more crack at the Capercaillie site. After no joy to start with, I was lucky enough to have the male Capercaillie (179), explode from the undergrowth almost from beneath our feet, my brother heard the commotion as it took off but didn't manage to get on the bird in time.

After breakfast, we then headed north for one of the main birds of the trip for me at Portsoy. Unfortunately, as seemed to be the story of the trip, luck was not on our side, with a large swell in the bay, there was no sign of any White billed Divers. They were undoubtedly still in the area as they were seen just a few days later! Birds noted from the harbour wall, were our first Sandwich Terns (180), of the year, as well as Great Northern Diver, Red Throated Diver, Great Skua, Gannets and Eider.  

We then headed back towards Aviemore and Loch Mallachie but had little to add to the trip with just a Crested Tit (calling only), Crossbill sp (flyover) and several Siskins.