Sunday 20 January 2013

More birding - steady on!

Had a good look for yesterday's Bishy Waxwings this morning to no avail, though a Mistle Thrush in our tiny garden sitting on the bird table I erected yesterday was quite cool. A few Fieldfares around and Grey Wag over the sewage works calling.

Went up to Askham Bog for a brief visit with Sol. Lots of activity here - punters and birds. Not much doing though one calling Willow Tit was a yeartick, plus Sparrowhawk, a few Marsh Tits, Siskins and Treecreepers. Oh, and a Jay.

On to North Duffield to see if the gulls would roost. Whilst waiting, had a look through the ducks: the Aythya hybrid was showing well with the Tufties and the drake Scaup was still asleep with the Pochards. An immature female Peregrine stirred things up a bit late on and plenty of large gulls came in. I couldn't pick out anything better than a first winter Lesser Black-back sadly. The regular pair of Bewick's Swans came in on cue at 4pm and spent a bit of time on the flood before flying over to the river to roost.

Saturday 19 January 2013


Snow overnight left a world softened and monochrome. Headed down to North Duffield Carrs which I had to myself for a little while. A Barn Owl greeted my arrival and sat Christmas Card like on a snowy post. 52 Whooper Swans fed close in to the flooded Garganey Hide which I attempted to reach by wading through freezing water, without success.

A huge number of wildfowl covered the large area of open water. Soon Chris, Ollie and Andy turned up and together we sifted through the hordes of birds. The Lesser Scaup-like Aythya hybrid was present and exhibited a good LS wing pattern, though the black bill end and Tuftie head and bill shape spoiled a good bird. A Marsh Harrier patrolled up and down the Derwent flushing lots of stuff. Good numbers of Pochard, Pintail and Goldeneye were present, with a muddle of Ruff, Mippits, Fieldfares and Redshank feeding along the muddy river edge. A Chiffchaff called near the hide but we couldn't locate it. Later, C and O rang to say there were 23 Waxwings in the car park, so we nipped out for a look - a good record for NDC. Back in the hide I located a sleeping drake Scaup with the Pochard. The bird looked too big and Scaup like for the smaller hybrid and after a bit of searching we refound the more active hybrid, confirming that I wasn't stringing one bird into two! Another Barn Owl and a Brown Hare were the only other species of note. Aythya hybrid below and the Barny.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Birding in the dark

Got up a bit too early and arrived at Castle Howard in the dark and in a snow shower. A little later it was light, and I braved the icy dawn in the hope of a Great Northern Diver or Slavonian Grebe. The lake was covered in a frosting of gulls, which headed off in noisy strings as the sky lightened. The whistles of Wigeon pierced the cold air and the increasing light revealed a lake full of birds.The female Scaup appeared as if by magic, and was followed by a handsome male Pintail escorting three females. Nearby, a pair of Goosander dived in the shallows, watched by a pair of Mandarin hunkered down under the willows on the far bank. A large immature Peregrine was having a crack at gull for breakfast, but I didn't see her succeed. No sign of any divers of rare grebes, a Little Grebe would have to do. About 35 Goldeneye were present, groups of males getting a bit frisky and head tossing and kicking, despite the decreasing temperatures. I contemplated the LDV, but headed for Rufforth airfield to check out the gulls. A first winter Lesser Black-back consorted with it's larger cousins among a flock of c250 large gulls, but sadly nothing rarer dropped in before I had to head home for Dad duties.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Last of the herd

A single Waxwing in Keble Park this morning, possibly the one I saw on Boxing Day. Two Golden Plovers on the Knavesmire floods the other day - I need to keep a better eye on this place. A lovely Red Kite soaring over Leeds this afternoon on the way to visit YWT Adel Dam, where the highlights were a pair of Kingfishers and a pair of Mandarins.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

2012 is so last year!

Visited the NY Moors today-  very fine in lovely sunshine!
Not much of note at Fen Bog or Little Beck Wood YWT nature reserves, but very enjoyable nevertheless. At the latter noted Nuthatch, GS Woodpecker and Marsh Tit.

Popped in to Moor Lane Pond, Dringhouses on the way back. 38 Tufties and a smart drake Goodsander present.