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Monday, 30 January 2012

Country Parks

Out with Mark and Andy yesterday and we started the day at Clumber Park hoping for Hawfinch, got some close views of a couple of Buzzards on the approach road but although this used to be a prime winter site for Hawfinch they have become rather scarce in recent years and there was no sign of any this morning the best we had was a Green Woodpecker typically playing hide and seek. After a couple of hours we moved on to Rufford CP to search for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker with maybe another chance of seeing Hawfinch, we should have come here first as a pair apparently had showed well in the trees by the car park early morning and apart from Mark getting a brief view of one before it was chased off by a Great Spotted they didn’t show again while we were there. We gave up early afternoon and headed off to Blacktoft for the Raptor roost stopping off at Wroot on the way where Nine Bewick's and 50+ Whooper Swans were in fields near there, but no Geese with them today, Blacktoft was fairly quiet though and even the roost only produced seven Marsh and one ringtail Hen Harrier plus a single Barn Owl.

Winter Swans at Wroot

Big flock of Goldies in a field near Blacktoft

the light had all but gone by the time the Barn Owl came out

Saturday, 28 January 2012


I've managed to get down to Upper Poppleton several mornings this week to check out the Gulls loafing around there, each morning they have been in the first field on the left as you turn off the A59 down Newlands Lane. On Wednesday morning as I scanned through the flock I found what I was quite happy was an adult Caspian, small dark eye, long narrow bill, less white in the wing than accompanying Herrings also seemed to stand taller out of the grass when it was stood. On Thursday there was a couple of other birders there when I arrived and they were already onto an adult Iceland another interesting bird was seen but was soon lost in the crowd of other Gulls and then flew off before ID could be clinched. This morning the Gulls were initially a bit closer than they had been the previous two mornings and as I scanned through I soon got onto a stunning adult Caspian, different to Wednesdays bird this one had a pure white head making the dark eye stand out like a button, a paler greenish yellow bill and as it drooped its far wing it revealed the all white under to P10, a really distinctive bird, unfortunately after downloading the Iceland Gull pics last night I had forgot to put the camera back in the bag so I didn't get any pics of todays bird.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A windy day on Teesside

A few bits and bats tempted me and Andy up to Teesside again today via Scaling Dam and Cowbar, at Scaling Dam there was a good selection of Wildfowl on the Reservoir plus three Bewick's and a Whooper Swan on fields across the road, at Cowbar it was blowing a gale but despite the difficult conditions half a dozen Lapland Buntings were eventually found and as we got back to the car a small flock of Snow Buntings flew past as well, we then headed off to Teesside paying Lockwood Beck Reservoir a quick call hoping for some Bramblings seen there yesterday, no sign of them today but Grey Wagtail was a year tick. At Teesside we started again at Ward Jackson Park in Hartlepool as Andy needed Ring Necked Parakeet for the year, a couple of them duly obliged, then it was on to the Headland but once again the White Wingers continue to elude us and there was no sign of the Glaucous Gull at the Fish Quay, nothing out of the ordinary on the sea and just several Red Throated Divers and a Med Gull off the Pilots Pier. There was nothing at Jacksons Landing again nor was there any sign of the Black Redstart at Newburn Bridge. The White Fronted Geese were still on Seaton Common but there were no Gulls to search through so we moved round to Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park where the drake Ring Necked Duck had returned but was taking an afternoon nap. Later we had a quick look from the Phil Stead hide at Saltholme but Black Tailed Godwit was the only bird of note there then we ended the day at Dormans Pool where a Marsh Harrier came in to roost. Not a bad day I got 10 year ticks but again some of the recent good birds eluded us.

Rawcliffe Lake

The Dog was a bit ill this week so I only took her for a couple of short walks around Rawcliffe Lake towards the end of the week, quite a few Gulls around as is usual at this time of year, mainly Black Headed with a few Common and a couple of Herring, still waiting for that White Winger and Thursday morning there was a superb drake Goosander fishing there.

female Bullfinch posed nicely too

Sunday, 15 January 2012

East Coast

East coast today with Andy, called off at Forge Valley en route to Troutsdale where Marsh Tit was a year tick but there was nothing much happening down Troutsdale so we soon moved on to Scarborough, took a quick look at the Lake at Hackness as we passed but it was frozen so no Mandarins today. At Scarborough the pair of Peregrines were on the cliffs along Marine Drive but there wasn’t much on the sea apart from a fairly active pod of Harbour Porpoises, the Harbour also held very little, we carried on to the Seamer Road Retail Park where some Waxwings have been feeding over the past few days but they had been flushed by a Sparrowhawk and although they eventually returned the place was so busy they never settled for more than a few seconds at a time, we took lunch with five Med Gulls at Holbeck, three adults and two first winters. After lunch we high tailed it over to Bempton Cliffs where the Desert Wheatear performed admirably again, also lots of Fulmars on the cliffs and a few Gannets have returned already, after checking news we then headed inland to Tophill Low for the Cattle Egret, upon arriving at the farm by the entrance gate where it had been reported from we bumped into Mark who had been there for half an hour or more with no sign of it and he was hanging around hoping the bird might return however another birder leaving Tophill informed us that it had moved back to Hempholme and looked settled, it was a 30-40 minute walk from the reserve so with light fading fast we decided to take a chance and drive round which was quite a trek in itself, anyway it paid off for as we got to the last couple of farm houses along the lane there it was strutting around a field next to the road.