Monday, 28 September 2009

A Glossy end to the day!

Yesterday, we decided to go on a big journey today with my new lens. It is a 70-200mm with a 1.7 converter. We started at Thornley Woods where there wasn’t much at all except stock doves, squirrels, coal tits and nuthatches! I was a bit disappointed with the outcome of Thornley. Next we went to Big Waters. We got there and went straight to the main hide. It was very busy so I just got a spot at the feeders although I still had a view of the main pond. After watching the goldfinches, blue tits, great tits and greenfinches for a while, I saw 3 snipe out of the window. They were a bit far off for photos but within 10 minutes they were right underneath the window. I got some great photos of birds that I have never seen that close before! We left soon after that to go to Cresswell to see the Glossy Ibis via St. Mary’s. We arrived at St. Mary’s and sat in the North Bay for half an hour on the rocks. It was fantastic sitting watching the waders feed around us, the dunlin came especially close. They we within 7 feet of us producing great views and photos. There was a curlew that came very close as well and I got a photo of that too. After sitting for 30 minutes we went to Cresswell. When we got there, there were loads of people in the car park but they told us that we had just missed the ibis my 15 minutes. After a while, someone got a call to say it was near Bell’s Pool. The car park cleared within 2 minutes. Everyone went to Bell’s Pool. We followed everyone and when we got there, we immediately saw mine and my dad’s first Glossy Ibis. It was in the field just beyond the pool but it soon flew onto the pool giving us great views. A glossy end to the day!!
Goldfinch Redshank Curlew Dunlin
Glossy Ibis

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The St. Mary's Sparrowhawk

Just got back from St. Mary's. Wanted to check out the waders and other birds. The tide was right out so the waders were quite far out as well. We saw redshank, dunlin, turnstone, curlew, ringed plover and a possible whimbrel. My dad also saw a manx shearwater out at sea but we only had one pair of bins, so I didn't see it! As we sat down to eat our chips, a massive flock of golden plover flew over glinting in the sun. The black-headed gulls and starlings ate most of my chips, but what's the seaside for?? We watched the red arrows fly over a couple of times as well while we were eating. On our way home, the highlight of the day arrived. I was scanning the waders when a big brown bird flew in front of my view at a massive speed sending all the birds up. I thought it might of been a peregrine until I watched it's hunting technique as it took out a starling and landed in the rocks. We searched for it and finally saw it flap it's wings and then discovered that it was a female sparrowhawk. I went down onto the rocks and walked along towards it. It let me get within 10 feet of it producing great views and photos before flying off about 100 feet with the starling still in it's grip. A brilliant end to the day! Sparrowhawk Starling Black-Headed GullRed Arrows

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Big Waters

Been to Big Waters this evening to see what was around. We went to the main hide first. The feeders were quiet with tree sparrows, robins, greenfinches and a goldfinch. The Great Spotted Woodpecker did show on the feeders but just very briefly. I still haven’t caught up with the sparrowhawk that lives there yet put hopefully I will soon! The pond had 2 Great Crested Grebes, Mallard, Teal, Cormorants and Mute Swans. Two moorhens were fighting on the other side of the pond so not much of interest. I had been the day before and seen the kingfisher but at the other hide. We wanted to see it in better light as it was a dull day last time we saw it. We went round to the other hide and I heard it call as soon as we got there. We opened the windows and it was sitting there with a fish. It gave us brilliant views both times we were there and if you haven’t seen it yet, it is well worth the journey! KingfisherRobin

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Blacktoft Sands RSPB

On the second day of the holiday we went to Blacktoft Sands RSPB. I wanted to see some rare waders and bearded tits. We were told to visit all hides by the wardens in the reception so we did. The first hide was quite good which produced a marsh harrier and some redshank. However, the second hide was the best. When we got there, we saw some waders in front of the hide which were ruff. I had never been that close to ruff before, so I got some photos. A bit later, we saw some bearded tits which I had never seen before. They were on the mud itself which I didn’t expect. I expected them to be on the reeds! They were very far off so no chance of a photo! They were lots of little grebes dotted around the ponds as well which was nice. One came really close, close enough for a good photo. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much more of interest except a single spotted redshank in amongst the common redshank and a green sandpiper. After that we went to Alkborough Flats. When we got there we saw there were waders there so we went to the hide. We immediately saw my favourite wader, the unmistakable avocet. I thought all the avocets had gone but I was wrong! We also saw a group of black-tailed godwits. We didn’t see much else until the end when a marsh harrier flew over and a hobby a bit later which I had never seen either. Just as we were leaving we saw 3 spoonbills fly on to the lake which was a great sight just as we left. A great end to a great holiday! Ruff Group of Avocets
Little Grebe Pair of Marsh Harrier

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Med Gull is back!

Called in to the Brier Dene car park, after St. Mary's didn't produce much except turnstone and redshank, to find the med gull that has come back from last year. It was sitting in amongst the black-headed gulls when we got there but it moved around the car park and kept moving closer to us which was very nice. It's very tame and gives great opportunities for photos!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Birding Holiday - Bempton Cliffs RSPB

Just come back from holiday in Beverley. We had been planning the trip for ages and finally did it! We were staying in Beverley Youth Hostel not far from Hull. We were planning to go to Bempton Cliffs RSPB then to Blacktoft Sands RSPB. So, on the first day we went to Bempton. We wanted to see the gannets really as I've never been close to gannets before. When we got there, we found out that there were just gannets on the cliffs and the rest of the seabirds had disappeared off to sea. We walked down to the cliffs and went to all 5 viewpoints. The best was the far left one because the gannets were closest to us. There were also a few fulmar nesting on the cliffs as well so it wasn't literally just gannets! I got the photos I wanted and it was a great start to the holiday!
Adult Gannets Juvenile Gannet