Posts Tagged ‘Montagu’s Harrier’


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.

 

Advertisements

DSCF3741.JPGDSCF3742.JPGDSCF3746.JPGJust two A Team members enjoyed a good trip to our second favourite county, Yorkshire. We met in Milnrow at a reasonable time and in Steve K`s car headed for Spurn Point. Yesterday there had been some good birds,Red backed Shrike and Turtle Doves, but upon arrival it was apparent that everything had cleared out, or had they? There was low cloud/mist, a strong wind blowing in the wrong direction for any good migrants, but we had a good look around the wetlands. A number of Arctic Tern and a single Cuckoo were seen,so,after about an hour we decided to cut our losses and head for North Cave Wetlands were two Glossy Ibis had been seen. As we passed through Patrington a check of the bird news revealed a Red backed Shrike at Spurn,typical!
The weather had improved greatly with wall to wall sunshine, even Hull looked nice, although there was still not much sign of life after Hull City had gained promotion back to the Premiership! Upon arrival at North Cave Wetlands news of the two Glossy Ibis was good. We hurried along to a small crowd and saw the two birds feeding and being sent packing by the local Moorhens, what nice colourful birds Glossy Ibis are. News of a breeding pair of Mediterranean Gull`s quickly followed, so we went to a hide and after around twenty minutes searching through the large Black headed Gull colony, Steve K saw the “unmissable” head of the Mediterranean Gull, this bird was in fabulous plummage.
We headed for Blacktoft Sands Nature Reserve and headed for Singleton Hide were the single,female Montagu`s Harrier is occasionally seen from. The local Bearded Tit colony seemed to be very busy feeding young as they were very showy and dashed about the reedbeds. Up to six Marsh Harrier`s seemed to be on show most of the time but, we had no joy seeing the Montagu`s Harrier, which is still waiting for a male bird to re-appear.We then began birding the other hides,Cetti`s,Reed and Sedge Warbler all singing. A nicely marked group of Black tailed Godwit`s were seen at Ousefleet Hide and again after a lot of searching the “eagle-eyed” Steve K found the male Garganey, well done Steve. We enjoyed the day,even after the slow start at Spurn. We reached Milnrow by five thirty.
Dave O.


After the re-finding of a Wood Warbler on a local patch on Saturday, I thought my luck was in, it was to prove far from the truth! A very rare bird had been found off the Welsh coast and we had assembled a team who might have been tempted, but the bird was not seen on Saturday, so we decided to head out east. Myself, Bob K with Steve K at the wheel met in Milnrow at 6am on a fairly nice morning. As we passed Leeds the weather turned very drizzly and did not change much all day. First stop was Strensall Common near York, a new place for us to visit, but after extensive searching and 2 hours walking the birds we had hoped to see were not located, perhaps it was too late in the season? The weather did not improve as we reached Wykeham Forest near Scarborough, as the whole of the usually beautiful valley viewpoint  was obscured by mist. A good search of the nursery area was made and not a sight or sound was heard of the quickly disappearing Turtle Doves. At the viewpoint the mist cleared a little then came back again, time to leave! We headed to Bempton Cliffs, knowing we would see a few birds there. It was the first highlight of the day watching the Gannets, Kittiwakes, Puffins and lots auks battling against the wind. There seemed a lot of Puffins present, but we were told the numbers are down.The visitor centre accommodated one of our number to visit its inner sanctum, after which we quickly left. Next stop was Blacktoft Sands, to hopefully connect with a pair of Montagu`s Harriers. On arrival we were told that it had been 40 minutes since they had been seen. After being entertained by 4 hunting Marsh Harriers for 20 minutes, the male & female Montagu`s Harriers got up for about 2 minutes, albeit a little distantly but quite spell blindingly, certainly the birds of the day. A quick look at a Bearded Tit and then no joy with the Yellow Wagtails ended, what was a fairly poor day in the field. The rare bird was re-found in Wales also, which really helped. Home for teatime and it was dry back in Lancashire.

Dave O.


Rising at a respectable 8-00am on Saturday morning and having lots of “chores” to do, I  thought I would check the bird news. Nothing could prepare me for what I read,”female Dusky Thrush in Margate Cemetery and showing well”. Morphing into,  “Twitcherman”.  I began texting people hoping to get some interest and go for the bird almost straight away!  Finally getting a squad together from Yorkshire, with Mark  and Nigel from York and Darren from Leeds. We met at Junction 38 on the M1 and set of at 10-45am. We went down the M1,M25,A2,M2,A299 and A28 reaching the cemetery gates in 4 hours. The traffic conditions had been kind to us and it was nice and sunny! Would the Dusky Thrush be there? About 100 birders were present and watching the bird as we got there, result,my old motto of, “strike whilst the iron is hot” has worked again! Got between a couple of graves and had very good views of this enigmatic species,although a female,  lots of plumage details were noted. The bird flew from tree to tree catching small prey items,but, generally towards the tree tops,it would then remain still for a couple of minutes. We all enjoyed the bird for about an hour and met a few of the older faces that were present. News of a female Montagu’s Harrier at the nearby Reculver Marshes finally got us away,but not after driving through Margate town center and watching the local police chasing a criminal down a street behind us! We reached Reculver and admired the ruins and the pub called,  “King Eggbert” with people sat outside and enjoying a pint,very tempting? The female Montagu’s Harrier showed quite well as it hunted the marshes.It was 5-30pm and time for heading home,the driving was well shared out and we reached Junction 38 at 9-30pm. I got back to Whitworth at 10-30pm having had an unexpected new bird,now back to the “chores”.

Regards,

Dave O.


What seems like an age since I last saw a “new” bird in Lancashire was finally put to bed when a male Montagu’s Harrier turned up. It or another bird made an appearance in the Altcar and then at Martin Mere area about a month ago. It was then seen on Champion Moor, near Slaidburn on Wednesday. Plans were made to try and see the bird on Friday afternoon. As the day dawned the bird was seen, but, it was raining around Rochdale ! At 1-15pm me and Steve B set off into a really nice part of Lancashire and as we neared Clitheroe it stopped raining and so, the prospects of seeing the quite elusive bird got suddenly better. Upon arrival we saw about 10 other hopefuls well spread out around the area,we asked “How long is it since it was last seen” ? The reply was about 3 hours ago.After a 3/4 of an hour wait, I was scanning the hillside towards Slaidburn and picked up a harrier, after a few seconds to confirm to myself that it was the Monty’s, I told the other birders that I had got the bird. It was a rather stunning male bird and was seen at about 50 yards distance as it hunted over the rough pasture, it remained on view for about 5 unforgettable minutes! Steve B managed to get a rather good photo of the bird in a field full of cows. It went down in a field and did not come out again whilst we were there. We also saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker dash across the moorland,which we thought was a little strange due to the lack of any tree’s . Curlew, Willow Warbler, Mallard, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear and an assortment of gulls and crows were also seen. As the temperature began to plummet, we headed for home. On Saturday Steve K headed up to the area and also saw the dashing harrier but, just missed a Hobby by a few minutes. On Sunday myself and Bob went along to Champion Moor, in nice sunny conditions, to catch up with the Montagu’s, but apart from an early sighting before we got there, we left empty handed. In the 3 hours plus we there we met a few people and had a good chat with Kevin Hughes alias “Buxton Billy”. Guess what? the bird was seen again on Monday morning, but as Bob says “That’s the way the mop flop’s”

Regards,

Dave O.