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Monday, 28 March 2011

Spurn Point

Me and Andy went over to Spurn today hoping for some early migrants, started at Sammy's but it was very quiet the only birds of note were a Little Egret over and a Barn Owl near the Shrike bushes, we moved on to the Crown and Anchor car park where yesterdays Firecrest had been seen again this morning but even though we put in a cosiderable amount of time it never showed again, we walked the Triangle where we had a couple of White Wagtails by Canal scrape and a female Merlin sat on a post then returned to Sammy's and eventually caught up with a couple of Wheatears. There being nothing else on offer we decided to head back to the LDV, there was still a good selection of waterfowl at North Duffield Carrs although the water is fast receding, ended up at Skipwith where the Great Grey Shrike was sat atop a distant Holly bush, we took a walk along the path up the side of the field to see if we could get a bit closer but it was looking into the light, a good number of Yellowhammers around though looking nice in the evening sunlight.
Humber Foreshore

still a few Brents about

at Sammy's

North Duffield Carrs

Skipwith Common

just chased off a rival

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

North Wales

Sundays plan was to nip over to North Wales, go to Worlds End near Llangollan for the showy Dartford Warbler and hopefully get some pics, carry on to South Stacks for the Chough, again photograph them, back to Lligwy Bay on Angelsey for the Bonaparte's Gull then do some of the coastal sites on the way back. We set off early and there was still some showers lingering as we bypassed Chester and Wrexham fortunately it faired up as we arrived although remained cloudy, we walked up the track to the area of Moorland the bird was favouring and waited, several Ravens and Buzzards plus a single Peregrine went over, there was a very distant Great Grey Shrike on the other side of the valley and also 20+ Black Grouse flying around and lekking over there but it was almost an hour before the Warbler showed, it was associating with a couple of Stonechats and although we got reasonable scope views it didn't look like it was going to come closer so I didn't get my pics, a nice male Crossbill was singing from the top of a conifer as we got back to the car park.
view from the Dartford Warbler site

A distant Black Grouse displaying

the singing Crossbill

We headed off to South Stacks and as we drove along the A55 the sun came out and it looked like it was going to turn into a nice day, however as we crossed the bridge and drove onto Angelsey there was low cloud and drizzly rain and by the time we turned into the car park at South Stacks it was a real pea souper, we ventured out to the cliff edge but apart from a Raven appearing out of the murk there was nothing to be seen, we took the back route back to Holyhead to check out the fields in case the Chough were feeding there, visibility improved and just as we were almost back four Chough were seen flying over a field, we watched them fly off and into the distance but they didn't land so again no photo. We drove back onto Angelsey and went over to Lligwy Bay on the North coast, the Bonaparte's Gull was still present but the tide was right out so it was quite a trek out over the sands, worth it though the bird showed really well. We ended the day at Penmon searching for the Black Guillemots but there were no Auks at all, maybe they're later back on the West coast, the sun was still shining on mainland Wales though so the low cloud was just literally over Angelsey.
Stream running into Lligwy Bay
Lligwy Bay

Bonaparte's Gull

Lighthouse at Penmom

Puffin Island

the sun shining on Great Orme

Monday, 14 March 2011

East Coast

It was a dull drizzley start to Sunday, at Heslington there was a pair of Little Owls at the back of Outgang and we eventually found the Little Ringed Plover on the new University Campus Lake then we headed off to the East Coast hoping the weather would improve, it didn't although most of the breeding Auks etc were back in at Bempton making for the usual spectacle, no sign of Lapland Buntings from the day before though. We carried on to Flamborough Head and at least it stopped raining by the time we got there, we took a stroll from North Landing to the North Marsh with again many seabirds back on the cliffs, in a ploughed field by the Marsh we finally  found our quarry, up to 14 Lapland Buntings, superb birds coming into summer plumage also a very pale Barn Owl out hunting in the area and a pair of Peregrines were patrolling the cliffs. The sun eventually began to break through mid afternoon but a scan over Filey Bay didn't find anything unusual so after hearing that a Black Necked Grebe had been seen at North Duffield Carrs we decided to head back and try for that, the bird was still present but distant when we got there along with a good selection of wildfowl, a lot more than when I was there a few weeks ago, still a good few Whooper Swans coming in to roost and the day was rounded off nicely when a Barn Owl performed right in front of the hide.

North Landing

Headland Scenics
The Lapland Buntings were always just on the top of a ridge and I couldn't get a clear shot
The Barn Owl at North Duffield
Still a few Whoopers coming in