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Monday, 9 March 2015

Another weekend pass out

Chance of another full weekend birding and on the Saturday along with Mark and Paz headed over to Astley Lake, Swillington where we met up with our mate Darren who then took us on a tour of his area. We spent the morning at Temple Newsam woods as there had again been recent sightings of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, there was certainly plenty of avian activity, lots of drumming which a couple of times we thought could have been Lesser’s, we found a roosting Tawny Owl in a Holly Tree, Red Kites and Buzzards soared overhead and eventually late morning a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was found but to say it was active was an understatement it never settled for more than a few seconds and always high up in the trees and although the other three managed to get brief views I was always in the wrong place and never managed to get on it before it just disappeared. In the afternoon Darren took us around a few sites in the Swillington Ings area eventually ending up at the main area where 19 Whooper Swans had dropped in and a Marsh Harrier hunted the reedbeds, it was a lovely warm Spring like day and a few Bee's and Butterflies were also noted during the afternoon. We ended the day at Normanton where the Nosterfield American Wigeon has relocated to a small Lake there, still distant though. 
well hidden Tawny Owl

most of the flock

Grebes are looking good now

distant American Wigeon

On Sunday it was just me and Mark and we headed up to Teesside, started at Ward Jackson Park as Mark still needed Ring Necked Parakeet for the year, they were hiding at first but we eventually came across a couple of pairs disputing a nest hole, a pair of Nuthatch also got in on the act. Next up was the waste ground near the Jewish Cemetery to try for the long staying Shore Lark there was nothing about at that point in time though so we carried on to the Headland, fairly quiet there but quite a few Kittiwakes are back in now. Late morning news came through that seven Snow Buntings and the Shore Lark had been seen by the Jewish Cemetery so we headed back there, we got onto the Buntings straight away but the Lark had disappeared again however it wasn’t long before it returned and we had a little session with it until a biker went through and flushed everything, the Lark headed off over the Cemeteries and knowing there was some waste ground at the other side we went to have a look, good move, it was there and by using the car as a hide we got quite close to it. After lunch we made a failed attempt to find the Taiga Bean Goose at Cowpen Marsh before ending up at Dormans Pool where the Green Winged Teal was still present but still distant, by this time  we had heard a Great Grey Shrike had been found on the Tilmire back at Heslington, we decided to head back early and try for it, it was a pleasant sunny late afternoon as we set out on to the Tilmire, a Barn Owl was out hunting, there were a few Buzzards soaring, Green Woodpecker and Stonechat showed but unfortunately we had just missed the Shrike, it must have gone off to roost early, a Little Owl was in the usual tree as we returned along the lane.
Sparrowhawk buzzing the Park residents 

guarding the nest hole

Nuthatch also thought the hole looked interesting

courting couple

a few Kittiwakes back in

after an initial session where we got reasonably close to the bird

it got even better when we were able to use the car as a hide

Barn Owl out hunting on the Tilmire

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