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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wet my Lips

There have been no reports of Quail from the traditional sites around York yet this year so when Pete Watson reported one from a field just Northwest of Poppleton and Mark had it singing this morning I thought I'd go down this evening and (see) or hear it, I took the camera along not really expecting to use it and headed for the area Mark had heard it this morning, there were quite a few Skylarks and Yellow Wagtails about but no Quail singing at first then after about 5 mins it piped up from the middle of a cereal crop, it seemed fairly static for quite a while but then started moving left towards some Tractor ruts I had envisaged it showing along, I positioned myself and the calls got nearer and nearer to the ruts, I watched and waited then all of a sudden it called from further back and further left, I couldn't believe it, it had sneaked past, however it was now calling from close to the edge of the crop where it merged into a scrubby weedy area popular with the Yellow Wags, I walked up the edge of the field a bit and the singing was actually coming from the scrubby area, I now knew there was a good chance of seeing this bird and I scanned and scanned where it seemed to be singing from then I thought whenever I've seen birds fly up before its always been from further away than I thought they'd be, I started scanning further back and there it was, singing from a patch of dead grass, I rattled a few shots off (always pays to carry your camera around) then stalked a bit closer, I ended up getting quite close although the light was dire, still I'm not complaining I'm absolutely chuffed at getting such good views as well as a few record shots of a bird you normally only hear.
Ah there you are

Singing his head off

seems to be some feather damage, maybe had a close call with something

a few of these around too

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Notts Melodious

Out last Wednesday evening with Mark and Darren, we went up to Wykeham Forest and got really good views of at least three Nightjars plus a few Woodcocks roding and Tawny Owls calling, then out with Mark on Sunday, the plan was to head down to Wells in Norfolk for a Rose Coloured Starling then work our way back picking up a Melodious Warbler at Tiln GP near Retford along the way, however as we approached Retford on the way down we received news that the Melodious was still present but it was negative on the Starling so we decided to start at Tiln GP. We could hear the bird singing as we approached with plenty of mimicry involved and were fortunate to get decent views of it through another birders scope when we got there but thereafter although it sang almost incessantly from a little area of small conifers, due to the cool, cloudy and fairly windy conditions it remained low down and out of sight a lot of the time, back at the car we had a Hobby chasing some Hirundines over a field across the road. With no more news on the Starling we were at a bit of a loss what to do next but as we were nearby we thought we’d try for the Honey Buzzards at Welbeck, the day had brightened up a touch and several common Buzzards were floating around plus we had another Hobby but no Honey's showed. We headed back North and spent the remainder of the afternoon at Old Moor Wetlands, it was fairly quiet and we spent most of the time trying to photograph the Hirundines and Swifts without much success.

Monday, 17 June 2013

A swift trip down to Suffolk

Me and Mark made an unplanned visit to Suffolk today, a Pacific Swift was found at Trimley Marshes yesterday morning then remarkably remained there for the rest of the day leaving more than a few birders cursing the fact they could have twitched it had they taken the risk, most unexpectedly it was still present this morning and we decided to risk it. We had some good views of Red Kites and Buzzards on the way down but arriving at the site we were told the Swift was distant often feeding higher up and indeed hadn’t reliably been seen for an hour or more, we climbed the floodbank and joined the large group of expectant birders lined along it and after about 20mins the shout went up, we picked the bird up flying low over the fields behind and it then flew towards us and made a pass over the back of the pools in front of us giving us reasonably good views, it then climbed high and drifted off over the other side of the estuary, we gave it a bit longer and fortunately after half an hour or so it came back, we observed it make several more passes over the pools during the next hour but mainly it was feeding over the fields behind and was lost to view more often than not, it certainly didn’t offer the photographic opportunities it had done yesterday. We didn’t really pay much attention to other stuff there but a Marsh Harrier and several Little Egrets were noted. We paid a quick visit to Dunwich Heath afterwards where a Cuckoo and several Dartford Warblers showed well but surprisingly we failed to find any Stonechats much to the chagrin of Mark who still needs it for the year.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Midweek Wetlands

On holiday this week to do a bit of decorating, all done by Wednesday morning so I nipped out in the afternoon, I thought I would take a look at St Aidans, the new RSPB reserve at Swillington Ings, its a very impressive reserve covering a huge area and a lot more accessible than it was before, I walked one of the routes around the extensive reedbeds and as well as a massive colony of Black Headed Gulls highlights were a couple of booming Bitterns, a pair of Black Necked Grebes with a chick plus a single male and a Grasshopper Warbler among the many Reed and Sedge, lots of Wildflowers as well so I dare say it would be good for Butterflies on a better day.

the single male

feeding time

Swifts were feeding low but difficult to get a good shot

a good selection of Wildflowers

including Marsh Orchid

I was out again Thursday and with a forecast for showers I thought I’d better do places with Hides, I decided on the morning at Blacktoft Sands although it proved rather quiet, it did stay dry though at least until I was returning to the car for lunch, highlights were the Harriers as always and a few Bearded Reedlings were flitting around. I moved on to North Cave Wetlands in the afternoon but spent most of the time sat in the Hide watching several Common Terns fishing over the Main Lake in a rather prolonged heavy shower, unfortunately no Black Terns or anything else dropped in, when the rain eased I checked out the new Dryham Ings area where there were several pairs of nesting Avocets and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers with a chick.


singing Sedge

a Heron gets in on the act

fishing in the rain