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Monday, 29 April 2013

Lincs Songster

Out with Mark again today, we’ve heard over the last couple of years that Whisby Nature Park near Lincoln is good for Nightingales and if you got there just after they arrive there is a chance of some good views and maybe even a photograph so when pictures appeared on the internet this week of a particularly confiding individual that’s where we were going. We arrived at the site and headed straight to the area we were told would be the best but there was nothing, surely the window of opportunity wouldn’t be that short, eventually other birders came along and confirmed we were in the right place but also told of other areas they had seen them, after a while we had a wander further along the track and came across one singing, it was close to the path but always kept to the back of the bush, it eventually showed but we were always looking through branches, we stayed with it for a while but it soon became apparent it wasn’t going to pose so we thought we’d try one of the other areas we had been told one had been photographed earlier this morning, again there was nothing so we headed back to the original location and this time there was one singing, the area it was in was quite open and it wasn’t long before it started posing for us, at last! We filled our boots and with spirits suitably lifted we headed off to one of the other lakes where a Black Necked Grebe had been seen this morning, we got in the Hide but it wasn’t showing at first then I heard a call that made me think Water Rail initially but it was the Grebe, it swam from left of the Hide and then right in front calling all the time, an excellent bonus bird, we took a wander around the reserve but apart from a good selection of Warblers including Reed, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow and Chiffchaff there wasn’t much more to see so mid afternoon we headed for home calling in at Fairburn Ings on the way, we just had a look at the roadside Flashes and there were loads of Hirundines and a couple of Swifts feeding low but no sign of the recent Garganey, a couple of Buzzards were seen near Tadcaster as we were driving back.

Gadwall and Swallows at Fairburn

Friday, 26 April 2013

Rufous Tailed Twitching

Way back when, well 1995 to be precise me and then birding buddy Big Al Hannington (he is still a buddy, just moved down to the Scillies now) drove down to Norfolk one May afternoon to see a superb male Rock Thrush which was hopping around Hunstanton Golf Course, fantastic looking bird that had survived a close encounter with the local Sparrowhawk a couple of days before, however the species has been hard to come by since then so when Mark rang Thursday afternoon to inform me of one at Spurn albeit a female it wasn't a hard decision to join him and our mate Darren from Leeds on a twitch that evening to go and see it, it wasn't the best of weather when we got there, dark and dismal with a constant drizzle but the bird was showing straight away around the Borrow Pit area and although it was right over the other side we got decent scope views and boy what about that tail when it flitted up and down off the posts, unfortunately with the distance and poor light there was little chance of a photo however towards dusk it flew off over the bank and was relocated on the roof of Southfield Farm, we walked round and although it still wasn’t what you would call close I managed a few record shots, smashing bird and a precious Yorkshire tick, you have to go back to 1984 for the last one of them I believe. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

A Spring day at Spurn

Out with Mark yesterday, we opted to do Spurn and although it was fairly quiet we had a good day picking up a few year ticks along the way the first being several Whimbrel over the Kilnsea Wetlands as we arrived and a Lesser Whitethroat near the Riverside Hotel, first one of the year for Spurn too. We checked out the bushes by the Bluebell Caravan Park next where a Firecrest had been seen earlier but we couldn’t find that so we carried on round the Triangle eventually ending up in the Canal Scrape Hide where several Wagtails were feeding including a White and a couple of Yellows, one of these was an interesting bird it looked good for a Blue Headed apart from it having a green cap, it caused a bit of a debate some thinking it was a moulting bird others a hybrid type. After a bit of lunch we headed back out to the Kilnsea Wetlands, there was a massive flock of Linnets feeding here with one or two Wheatears plus two pairs of Avocet, one pair look to be on eggs, and a Little Egret, we carried on to Beacon Ponds where a large flock of Dark Bellied Brents were accompanied by the Black Brant and a hybrid type, there was also a Long Tailed Duck moulting into adult plumage, then as we made our way back to the car our third Marsh Harrier of the day went over upsetting everything. At a loss what to do next we decided to head back to the Bluebell and have another look for the Firecrest even though it had not been reported all day, it proved a good move as we found it, it had moved up the road a bit from where it had been seen in the morning and we watched it as it made its way along the hedge eventually flying into the hedge over the road where we unfortunately lost it again. Back at the car we noted an increase in Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail numbers around the Borrow Pit then ended with another session in the Canal Scrape Hide but it proved rather quiet late in the day.

the 1st Marsh Harrier over the Triangle

Wagtails: Pied



and the Blue Headed type

Black Brant

spooked by a Harrier

it was so active not easy to photograph

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Baikal Teal

Day off yesterday as the car was in for a service and MOT, then how frustrating to hear a Baikal Teal had been found at Flamborough, fortunately it decided to hang around for the rest of the day allowing me and Mark to go for it in the evening, it was still on Northcliffe Marsh where it had been most of the day although fairly distant but I got good scope views and even though it was way too far for the camera really you've just got to take some record shots haven't you. The big question now of whether its genuine or not I'm sure will be hotly debated but seen flying in off the sea and moving on today must surely stand it in good stead, whatever the outcome it sure was nice to see and if it is accepted its a bloody good Yorkshire tick.