Archive for April, 2017


With the onset of spring and a really nice weather forecast in store, a trip to the marshy areas of Yorkshire was planned. Myself & Steve K met the York lads at North Cave and after the news that the day before`s Curlew Sandpiper had not been found, it was decided to visit Faxfleet. With Nigel S at the wheel, a new area for myself and Steve K, who was freshly returned from a trip up Scotland with tales about Ptarmigan etc. As soon as we stopped a Cettis Warbler was heard, this was to be the norm throughout the day. Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Marsh Harrier were soon seen at this little known site, but the best was yet to come with the sighting of around 8 Bearded Tits (Reedlings, Parrotbills, whatever) Great birds to watch at close quarters chasing around and calling in the reeds!

News of the sighting of a female Montagu`s Harrier at Blacktoft Sands had us making our way there. Again upon arrival Cettis Warbler seemed everywhere. We went up to Singleton Hide and after a 40 minute wait watching the Marsh Harriers, we finally managed to pick out the Montagu’s Harrier. The bird was distant and only remained on view for around 5 minutes before heading away, hope the male returns soon! A good walk around the reserve were some good pictures of the Cettis Warbler were taken (not by me though) After a bit of a “tip off” we explored Goole Fields hoping to find a “blue pipe” in the ground where a Yellow Wagtail had been seen an hour before. We could not find the pipe, but Steve K picked up a solitary Yellow Wagtail that we all managed to see flying.

A good look around North Cave N.R. was made all the more pleasing when Mark K heard a singing Lesser Whitethroat. After a search the bird performed very well in a large hedge but, it did not sing again. It is probably the first time that any of us have ever seen a Lesser Whitethroat before a Whitethroat. We ended the day with an overhead Red Kite, which is always a real pleasure to observe.

Dave O.

 


Whisby, Barnack & Yorkshire (1)
A trip to Lincolnshire to see / hear the freshly arrived Nightingales was eagerly awaited and when news of their arrival was confirmed a trip was planned. Meeting at 6am in Newhey with a dodgy weather forecast was not for the faint of heart, but I never really believe forecasts. Off we went with Bob K at the wheel, who soon had us at Whisby NR by 7-40am. Next to nobody there at that time so, with any luck we should be lucky. We reached the location and were all quite staggered by the Nightingales song but better still you could watch them in the dense, dark bushes (Just my excuse for not getting any good pictures really) Nightingales are a very evocative species to be near at this time of year, but we had to give the birds some room etc. We all headed off for a grand tour of the nature reserve amid the cacophony of Black Headed Gulls. Plenty of Willow Warblers, Chiff-chaff, Blackcap all singing, what a joy they are to listen to. We have only really called into Whisby before but I feel sure we will be back again.
A bit of a change was our next port of call, a place called Barnack in Cambridgeshire to see the Pasque flowers. Upon arrival Chris B shot off in pursuit of this rather beautiful flower, his face was a picture of delight having found lots of them! We all took lots of pictures and managed to leave before hordes of people arrived. After a call at a small reserve near Wittering, a check of rare bird news revealed a Red Rumped Swallow at Fairburn Ings NR near Castleford, Yorkshire. As one of the boys needed this species for a “lifer”, we headed off up the A1.
The weather was a little worse upon arrival at Fairburn, but that would keep the swallow in the area we all thought. As we hurried down the path a few birders were looking skywards, quickly telling that the bird was still present. Fairly good views were had of the bird that was in the company of House Martins. An adult Little Gull also performed really well in Village Bay, but not close enough for any pictures. We met Darren from Leeds who told us about a Spoonbill, booming Bittern on the Coal Tip walk. We had to give it a go didn’t we, Bob K by this stage was feeling the effects of a sore ankle and stayed near the visitor centre, wise move Bob. A long uphill slog passing 3 reed fringed ponds revealed the booming Bittern and a “squealing” Water Rail. After searching through lots of Little Egret, Grey Heron and Cormorant nesting areas we had to leave not having found the hoped for Spoonbill, very nice walk though.
Final call was at St Aiden’s / Swillington RSPB for the breeding plumaged Black Necked Grebe`s. We entered the reserve via Station Road, Methley, crossed over the railway and the river and walked along the causeway that cuts across the reserve (ta for the information Darren) The grebe`s were soon located and they performed really well. A pair of Common Tern also seemed newly arrived. This area has changed since we used to birdwatch the area many years ago, for the better this time. We soon reached home having all enjoyed a really good day out. Thanks for driving Bob.
Dave O.


Myself, Bob K and Nigel S from York, decided on a trip to the east coast. Me and Bob got to York at 8am and as we picked up Nige news of an Iberian Chiff-chaff at Kilnsea came through. We headed of through the sun drenched city of Hull on our first trip of the year to the Spurn area. In the Crown & Anchor car park a few birders had assembled, news of the bird was good as it had been caught and rung and was still in the area. We watched two Firecrest and a Fieldfare as we waited for about an hour for the bird to show. Nige managed to see the bird pretty well as we had drifted off to search around the ringing area. The bird began calling and showing in a tall tree on the caravan site but visible from the Crown & Anchor car park, the song was very nice to hear, felt like we were in Spain as the sun shone on us all! After seeing some butterflies. Brimstone, Peacock, Green Veined White and Small Tortoiseshell we headed out to Holderness Fields to see the cracking male Garganey that has been around for a few days. It was a little distant but well worth the effort, our first Swallow of the year flew past us, it must be springtime. We called in at Sammy`s Point in the hope of seeing a Wheatear, without any joy. After a search of the bushes and paddocks, that seemed very quiet we managed to see a nearly summer plumaged Golden Plover, this bird was very photogenic.

We called in at North Cave wetlands and watched a couple of Little Ringed Plover along with lots of other water birds, Ruff, Redshank, Gadwall and Great Crested Grebe. The report of a singing Sedge Warbler took us around the reserve, but the bird was not seen, sure there will be more. We did not manage to see any Red Kites in the area, but after we had dropped Nige off in York a single bird was seen from the road in Tadcaster. Good day out with brilliant weather.


Dave O.