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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Glaucous Gulls, just like buses wait all year then two come along at once.

Final birding trip of the year for me yesterday and I headed up to Teesside with Andy, we started at the Fish Quay on Hartlepool Headland and soon located the two 1st winter Glaucous Gulls that have been around there for a day or two, they showed well after initially disappearing for 10 mins or so, this species was my final year tick in what has been a record breaking year despite the poor Autumn for me and I ended up with 276 species for the year including 8 lifers. We then moved round to the Pilots Pier, there was no sign of the Slavonian Grebe today but plenty of Red Throated Divers then while scanning Andy managed to pick out the Black Throated Diver out in the Bay which then quite obligingly swam back and into the Harbour mouth giving really good views. Next we checked out Jacksons Landing but there was only a small party of Red Breasted Mergansers there, then Newburn Bridge, the Med Gull was on the beach but there was no sign of the Black Redstart, then it was on to Seaton Common where the small flock of Eurasion White Fronted Geese where still present accompanied by an immature of the Greenland race and a Pinkfoot. We finished off at Dormans Pool hoping some Twite might drop in, they didn’t and when the rain came we called it a day.

two Glaucous in the Fish Quay

Red Throated

and Black Throated Divers

Hartlepool Headland

A few Red Breasted Mergansers

Eurasion White Fronts

the Greenland bird on the left

the Greenland White Front

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

West Yorks

Me and Mark took a jaunt around West Yorks today starting at Pugneys CP where we soon located the juvenile Great Northern Diver and got fairly close to it as we walked round the main lake, there was a good selection of other birds present but nothing more out of the ordinary, next up was Anglers CP and again we took a nice stroll around the lake in the lovely sunshine, searching through another good selection of water birds and eventually found the drake American Wigeon that is still present and after a tip off from another birder we nipped across to nearby Wintersett Reservoir and saw a superb drake Smew as well. We then headed back to Fairburn but a nice day coupled with the time of year meant the place was heaving, a Kingfisher was showing from the screen but it was a bit far down the channel to be able to get a decent photo really and the people pressure at the screen became a bit too much so we retreated to Lin Dyke, there had been a female Smew from the hide earlier in the day but there was no sign of it this afternoon, still all in all a pretty good day.

Goldeneye taking off sequence

a bit of sun makes all the difference

decided to stretch its wings

unfortunately its American cousin didn't come close

bathed in late afternoon sunshine

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Nipped to Scarborough this morning for a bit of photography, started at the Harbour but it was a very low tide the lowest I've ever seen it here and there was no sign of any of the recent Divers or Grebes just a Guillemot present,  there was also no sign of the imm drake Scaup at Peasholm Park today although the suspect Red Crested Pochard remained at the Mere.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Frozen Fairburn

I was just out for the morning today and decided on Fairburn to try and photograph the Kingfisher from the screen but I was foiled again it was all frozen over, I took a little walk along the riverside track instead where a Green Woodpecker teased me for a while, I just can't seem to get close to one, a flock of Lesser Redpolls were more obliging though, I then spent the rest of the morning photographing stuff at the feeders by the Pick up hide, a Red Legged Partridge under the feeders was rather unusual, a couple of Buzzards were seen near Tadcaster on the way home.

some winter thrushes and G S Woodpecker from Clifton Ings last week

Lesser Redpolls, the early morning light was quite harsh

not what you'd normally expect under feeders