Saturday 30 August 2014

Low ebb

Wheldrake Ings this lunchtime revealed two Whinchats still present from Swantail, a Hobby flushed from riverside willows, and c200 Teal, with three Wigeon. Sadly, I couldn't pick out a Garganey despite checking every white tail stripe. On to Rufforth where the gulls were showing well. Large numbers of Lesser Black-backs, mostly Graellsii, but a few blacker Intermedius, including one that got me going as a possible Fuscus, though I decided it was just a small female Intermedius. Three or four adult Yellow-legged Gulls present too. Smaller numbers of Great Black-backs and moderate numbers of Argenteus Herrings.

Hobby and the Wheldrake duck flock.

Friday 29 August 2014

Migrants in the Vale

Mid-morning, 11 Whimbrel headed southwest over Bishopthorpe in a V, whistling as they went. Magic! In the evening, I headed to Wheldrake Ings, where at least one Whinchat was kicking about on Swantail, plus five Yellow Wagtails, a Greenshank, two Green Sands, a Hobby marauding the hirundines and a handful of Willow Tits. Good numbers of ducks now, with getting on for 100 Teal, a Wigeon and plenty of Mallard.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Autumn starts here

First visit of the autumn to the Great White Cape - Flamborough Head.  The weather looked promising, with an easterly airflow out of Scandinavia. A couple of Barred Warblers over the previous few days whetted my appetite, but as I arrived the wind seemed strong so I opted for a couple of hours seawatch. There were hordes of birds moving and milling about which made for enjoyable birding, and several Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal showed brilliantly. Patient watching revealed c20 Manx Shearwaters and a couple of Arctic Skuas, plus an early Great Crested Grebe, a couple of Common Scoters, several Arctic and Sandwich Terns and a couple of Common Terns.

It was time to do the bushes, so I walked my usual route round past Old Fall, with a quick detour down to Booted Gulley and the east end of South Landing to have a look for a Barred Warbler that had been seen earlier. Birding was tricky due to the strong wind, but by working sheltered patches of scrub and the leeward side of the hedges, I picked up four Redstarts and the common migrant warblers. Two Ruff fed with a Knot in a flash in a stubble field adjacent to Old Fall and a couple of Whimbrel whistled overhead. It really is great birding at this time of year. The Barred Warbler remained frustratingly elusive, though I did flush a grey warbler down the hedge near Booted Gulley which dived into a thick bramble patch and never came out again despite a 15 minute wait.

Another quick seawatch added a couple more Arctic Skuas and a lumbering Bonxie to the day list, but time was getting on so I headed home.

Common migrants, from top, Knot and Ruff, Redstart, young Swallow, Willow Warbler in Old Fall Hedge.

Portland Bill and friends

Spent about a week on the Dorset coast in the Bongo with the family. A good passage of Tree Pipits was noted during the week, with their 'speezz' call regularly heard overhead. There was a good westerly flow of Swallows too during the week and plenty of warblers in the bushes. Not a lot of birding done, though an hour at Brownsea Island Lagoon was enjoyable for plenty of waders including a Spotted Redshank and ten Greenshank, plus an army of Little Egrets. A pair of Common Terns were still feeding young which seemed rather late and nearby I jammed a stonking Firecrest just outside the public hide. Two Red Squirrels were playing about nearby, which delighted (me and) the kids. Elsewhere, we saw Osprey, Sika Deer, Wasp Spider and Raft Spider at Arne, Balearic Shearwaters and many Manxies off Portland Bill and most frustratingly, a probably Citrine Wagtail that flew past me calling on the clifftop at Osmington Mills. I didn't get anything on it apart from it looked grey and white and the call was spot on. Sadly, it kept going until I lost it to the west.

Thursday 14 August 2014

The 26th Birders' Glastonbury!

And so we head south on our annual pilgrimage to Leics and Rutland Wildlife Trust's Rutland Water nature reserve for a long weekend of bird chat, friends, beer, bird chat and more bird chat. See you there! And you get to meet famous types - like Mr Simon King, below...

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Lime Hawk

Amazing what you can find in the office garden...(Lime Hawkmoth back in late June)

Saturday 9 August 2014

Catching Sharks in the Garden

Following the arrival of my new moth trap on early July, I have been busy dazzling the neighbours with my ode to Blackpool Illuminations, and catching some amazing moths. Here are a few of my first month's best.