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Monday, 27 February 2012

North Yorks Forest and East Coast

Me and Andy had a good couple of hours birding in the North Yorks Moors Forest on Sunday morning, it was pleasantly sunny with a bit of a breeze, ideal Raptor watching weather and we weren't disappointed, at least six and possibly up to ten Goshawks put on a spectacular show including a pair displaying plus several Buzzards, a Peregrine and several Kestrels and Sparrowhawks also got in on the action. Two pairs of Mandarin Duck were on the lake at Hackness as we made our way to a very busy Scarborough, we managed to find a parking space and headed for the Harbour and fortunately even though it was a very low tide yesterdays Red Necked Grebe was still there, it was accompanied by a female Goldeneye and both birds showed well, also of note was a pod of Harbour Porpoises that were pretty close in just off Marine Drive. We made a couple of quick visits to the Mere where the dodgy Red Crested Pochard from last year is still present and the Seamer Road Tip area but no sign of the Hooded Crow today, then headed off to Hornsea Mere to see if any of the recent White Winged Gulls were posing, they weren’t, we gave it an hour or so but it was fairly quiet so we set off for home calling off at Nunburnholme where a diminished roost saw only six Red Kites come in.

North Yorks Moors Forest

Roe Deer, becoming a common sight these days

Singing his heart out

Above, a couple of immatures

an adult

pair displaying


winter Red Necked Grebe in the Harbour

with a Shag

and a female Goldeneye

some Porpoises close in

a Red Throated Diver as well

it may be dodgy but it sure looks good

drake Goldeneye on Hornsea Mere

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Yank in South Wales

A Common Yellowthroat found in South Wales at the back end of last week proved too hard to resist, the twitch was on and early on Sunday morning Mark, Andy, Pete Watson and myself were on our way to Rhiwderin near Newport to see it, hopefully. We arrived around 8-30am and made our way to the site joining the throng of other birders already present, it was a beautiful sunny morning and it wasn't long before we were enjoying brief glimpses of the bird as it flitted in and out of the grasses at the base of the hedge it was working along, we stayed with it for a couple of hours during which time it showed really well on several occasions and switched hedgerows twice, it was an absolute stunner of a bird, a lot brighter than I imagined it would be, I managed to get some record shots but they don't do it justice by a long way, it was also a lifer for me, Mark and Pete. Happy with the successful twitch we then headed off to collect some of the other goodies on offer in the area, we decided to do the furthest point first which was Kidwelly near Llanelli for a Long Billed Dowitcher, we had a good scan around but even though there were masses of Waders in the estuary we couldn’t find the Dowitcher however a couple of Firecrests and a pair of wintering Blackcaps along the approach road offered some recompense, after spending some time trying to photograph them we gave the Dowitcher another try, still no joy but we bumped into a local who told us that it often went further up river and could be viewed from a small park area back in the village, we tried it and success at last, there it was feeding with a Redshank and as an added bonus there was also an Otter on the river as well. We had spent a lot more time at Kidwelly than we thought we would have and it was late afternoon before we were heading back to the Cardiff area, we got to the Cosmeston Lakes CP near Penarth in plenty of time and got really good views of a very obliging drake Lesser Scaup, there was also a lone Whooper Swan present, but after that it had got too late and we didn’t get chance to try for the Bonaparte's Gull in Cardiff Bay, nevertheless it had been another very successful long distance trip.
the Twitch

for this little stunner

a different view

quite a few Buzzards about including this pale phase bird

wintering Blackcap

very active and difficult to photograph

took a bit of finding

a nice bird to end the day

the lone Whooper