Sunday, 20 November 2016

Scaup etc

A walk round the north shore of Castle Howard Great Lake revealed a young female Scaup in with the Wigeon (c200) and Goldeneye (c30). No Mandarins present that I could see, but four Little Grebes and five Pochards noted. As usual in November, I was hoping for a diver or rare grebe, but sadly not today.

On to the LDV, where I bumped into Duncan down at Bank Island, which seems to be the only place with any water in the valley.

Plenty of common stuff again, with a Wigeon with a curious amount of green on the head:

A Little Egret was on the pool nearby. Headed down to Wheldrake Ings and walked right down to Swantail. Very little of note, save a male Stonechat on the Refuge, another Little Egret in front of Swantail and a couple of Willow Tits near the wind pump. Very little on the Pool, apart from 12 Mute Swans, c20 Wigeon and a handful of Teal. We need more rain!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Hanging by the pool

After our fossil fun at Staithes, which was rudely interrupted by a fast rising tide, we headed home. Stopping in Pickering to get Sol a drink I happened to notice a flock of c50 birds coming past. Waxwings!

They circled round behind some trees and appeared to land. We shot after them and found ourselves in the local swimming pool car park. Now, where had they gone? After a few minutes I spotted the bohemian minxes sitting in the top of a large Sycamore behind some bungalows.

77ish of the 110+ flock. I couldn't fit the rest into the view!

From there, they were dropping down into some berry-laden Rowans behind the swimming pool. I headed round the back of the pool with my bins and camera and suddenly realised this might not look too good to the bikini-clad folk of Pickering enjoying a Sunday afternoon swim. Fortunately, it appeared that the pool was closed, so I didn't get thrown out of the grounds by outraged locals. The Waxwings were trilling away in the top of the large tree and occasionally sallying after passing insects. Then, enmasse they dropped down into the Rowans and began stuffing their faces. Greedy gits. Sadly the light was dreary as the cloud had cruised over, so my photos were, as usual, pretty poor. However, it was nice to spend a bit of time with these endearing birds.

Oh, and I have just realised this is my 500th post on this blog.

Wishing I was (at) Skinny

On the promise of some fossil hunting at Staithes, North Yorks, I managed to persuade the family to head up north early. A little while later, we arrived at Skinningrove to have a squizz at the lingering Eastern Black Redstart (phoenicuroides). This bird came in on the big easterlies a couple of weeks ago as part of a small influx, presumably from somewhere in Asia. There have only been a handful of records in the UK, so it was well worth a mini twitch! The bird was present on arrival, happily munching mealworms left out by the birders, next to the boulder clad jetty to the north of the village. The local Robin seemed quite pleased with this hand out too. The 'start was a little cracker but sadly I only had five minutes to watch it before I had to go and do my Dad thing. Some smart Stonechats on the boulders nearby were rather smart too.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Welcome back my Arctic friends

At last a bit of water on the Ings, well, a big puddle at Bank Island, and sure enough a torrent of Arctic ducks have arrived within hours. Duncan had three Knot first thing, so I went over there once I'd sorted stuff out in homeland. The Knot were long gone towards the Low Grounds sadly, but I spent a happy hour looking through about 1,000 Wigeon and a couple of hundred Teal for a Yank duck (to no avail). 11 Shelduck, 14 Pintail, 4 Dunlin, 2 Ruff and a Redshank were noted, plus stacks of winter thrushes feasting on the berry laden Hawthorn hedgerows.

Bank Island Spectacular...