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Monday, 27 April 2015

Grizzlies and a day roosting Heron

I was out with Pete Watson today and we decided to do a repeat of the trip we did this time last year to Twyford Woods in South Lincs for the Grizzled Skippers then back to Whisby Country Park for Nightingales, armed with a bit more info on the Butterflies, we’d not been looking in the right place last year, we headed south from a sunny Yorkshire but as we got to the Woods we ran into the edge of a thick band of cloud and it was quite cool, however with blue skies beckoning we headed off for the Sanctuary area but it was to be late morning before the sun got out enough to warm things up and spur the Butterflies into action, they weren’t easy though, very quick and easily lost but we eventually got good views of at least two, we also had the bonus of a Dingy Skipper as we returned to the car, it was all about the Butterflies this morning really but there were also a lot Warblers singing in the area including my first Garden of the year, several Buzzards and a Raven graced the skies and a Cuckoo, another year tick, flew over. After a late lunch and a phone call from Mark informing us of a Night Heron at Attenborough NR on the outskirts of Nottingham we changed our plans and went to see that instead, it was a nice adult male with breeding plumes but just typically sat in a bush sleeping, preening and occasionally scrambling about until it abruptly flew off, other highlights on the reserve were a booming Bittern, a few singing Cetti’s Warblers, a pair of Little Ringed Plovers and several Red Crested Pochards
Wild Strawberry, the food plant

so of course the first one we saw was on a Daisy

Dingy Skipper on the way back

Attenborough NR

the Night Heron high in a bush

obliging Red Crested Pochard

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Local update: signs of Spring

Well I've rather neglected the Ings this last couple of years but I'm getting back into it this year, to start with though a visit on the 10th April to another local York reserve, Strensall Common, got me off to good start, primarily looking for Wood Lark after half an hour or so one flew in and started singing from a tree near to me which then prompted another into song some distance away and while scanning to try and find that one I picked up three large birds flying towards me low over the trees, as they circled and gained height I was amazed to see they were Common Cranes, made my day. Back to the Ings and another good find was a male Ring Ouzel on the Clifton Rugby Club fields on the 14th, there's been a good passage so far which has included one or two inland birds but this is only my second York area record plus a patch tick, otherwise the summer visitors slowly trickle in, everywhere's turning green and Butterflies are on the wing.
Blackcaps back in good numbers

the Sand Martins checking out their holes

Blackthorn Blossoming


remnant of the old Orchard that used to be on Clifton Park

Cuckoo flower

and Speedwell


Monday, 20 April 2015

West Yorks Warbler fest

Rather quiet on the Coast at the moment so me and Mark decided on a day in West Yorks starting at Swillington Ings, we got brief views of yesterdays Ring Ouzel before it was pushed by cyclists, dog walkers etc then took a walk around Lowther Lake where we picked up a good few Warblers including Sedge, Reed, Whitethroat and a very showy Grasshopper Warbler, we carried on to Pit Lane where we added Cetti’s, Lesser Whitethroat and another Gropper eventually working round to the Causeway, a couple of Common Terns were hawking over the main lake and a sick or injured White Fronted Goose was with the Greylags, a Bittern boomed from the Reedbed Lake and at least three Black Necked Grebes were showing well there, a very pleasant morning and early afternoon stroll around this super reserve. After lunch we headed over to Fairburn Ings in search of a Ruddy Shelduck but it wasn’t found, another Cetti’s Warbler sang near Lin Dyke and a Kingfisher was showing from the screen but otherwise it was fairly quiet. On the way home we called in at the Quarry at Tadcaster, several Red Kites were seen as we approached and a Peregrine was flying around but soon disappeared to the back of the Quarry, then it was on to Heslington where Mark had discovered a posing Little Owl yesterday, it was still posing today, also a couple of Buzzards soaring. 
showy Gropper creeping about like a mouse at first

before posing in the hedge

lots of Willow Warblers

and Coot chicks

Lesser Whitethroat

lucky flight shot

distant Common Tern

and not so distant Black Necked Grebe

Fairburn Ducks

first Comma of the year

Kingfisher from the screen but a bit far really

a good end to the day, Little Owl at Heslington

Monday, 13 April 2015

A dry but quiet Spurn

Not a good weather forecast again today, out with Mark and Spurn looked to be the best bet, we started at a very windy Sammy’s Point but it was really quiet, a Wheatear in one of the Paddocks was the best of it, we carried on and had a scan through the Brent Geese near the Kilnsea Wetlands, we found a couple of Pale Bellied  birds amongst all the Dark Bellied but there was no sign of the recent Black Brant. After a rather unproductive search of the Canal Scrape and Church Field areas we headed back to Kilnsea Wetlands, a female Garganey was on Holderness Field but distant, there were also plenty of Little Egrets around plus another three Wheatears but generally it was very quiet. Mid-afternoon we had another scan through the Brent flock but still couldn’t find the Black Brant then a Peregrine put them all up so we called it quits and headed for home calling in at North Cave Wetlands on the way back, not exactly hopping but in contrast to Spurn there were a good few Spring birds about including Yellow Wagtails and a good number of Hirundines, the pair of Mediterranean Gulls were still present as well. The journey home saw a couple of Buzzards along the ridge running towards North and South Cliffe and a Barn Owl out hunting near Kexby Bridge.
a pair of Pied Wagtails at Canal Scrape

incoming Brents

Ringed Plover