Friday, August 07, 2009

The last post ....

WhitbyBirding is closing as of today. I'm still blogging but posts will be on the Literate Herring blog - click here to go there. Thank you to all contributors and readers over the last few years, it was fun while it lasted.

Hoverflies etc

Thousands of hoverflies through the garden over the last two days, Wednesday evening and yesterday morning were exceptional. Mostly Episyrphus balteatus but other species involved as well. Found the sawfly Urocerus gigas at the new Pannett Park play ground on Wednesday, had probably emerged from the equipment - very blurry pix only, on BBerry.

Purple Thorn in the house this morning.

Huge numbers of fresh Painted Lady everywhere at the moment, probably 40 or so in the garden at any one time. Also Comma x2 and the next generation of Walls have been emerging over the last couple of days whilst Meadow Brown and Ringlet are hanging on.

Ross's Gull?

BirdGuides is reporting a possible adult Ross's Gull on the East Pier, Whitby Harbour yesterday. A bit annoying as I was a few hundred metres away at lunchtime, so it goes .... not much time today either.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

One Hummer on the Buddlia again yesterday.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Mothing, birding, butterflying etc

Nick and Sandra brought their moth trap around so first thing this morning we were wading knee deep through Large Yellow Underwings to try to discover the quality within. There are still five or six moths unnamed but on the whole we managed to id them without too much difficulty. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth paid the Buddlia a visit whilst we were doing the id, the third this year. Marbled Beauty is always an attractive thing to find and other common species made up the haul.

Twelve species of butterfly around Scaling Dam today (dipped on a Marsh Harrier) but found Whinchat and Stonechat juvs at the Cleveland end. Comma in the garden at home.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Bits of birding

Dramatic Scaling Dam produced this bit of excitement as the Stoat attempted to murder Moorhens and Mallards.

Other birds present included Green Sandpiper.

Yesterday I went to Kettleness for a brief seawatch. This produced Manx Shearwater, 4; a medium sized annoyingly distant wader and a small annoyingly distant wader as well as a Whimbrel on the shore. Sandwich Terns were trickling south and one Common Tern came west.

On the way to the seawatch there was a Green Sandpiper on the flash by the ex-tip and a Barn Owl just a little further down the road.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Autumn arrives

Autumn is officially here, the first Willow Warbler flock exhibiting that pre-migration aggression were in the garden today mixed up with Blue, Coal and Great Tits, Wrens, Robins and a Blackcap. There were eleven Willow Warblers in that group. There was also a younger family party of three or four Willow Warblers with the adult still feeding the young. 20 Lapwings flew over the garden going west and there were Swifts and Swallows trickling west as well.

Herring Gulls - orange darvic

I've been seeing a few herring Gulls with single, long, orange darvic rings. These are numbered, 1739 was at Scaling Dam on Tuesday evening. Anyone know who to contact for these? I've tried looking on the cr birding and can't find anything .....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Squally Scaling Dam

Two Icelandic race Blackwits were at the Yorkshire end yesterday evening. Not much else though.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Garden Warbler

Garden Warbler acting suspiciously in the garden this morning. I think they are breeding in the wild raspberry patch where the Whitethroats tried last year.

Mole on the doorstep

Suspect it was escaping rather than trying to get in, the cats pick them up from time to time, especially after heavy rain but they rarely kill them. We occasionally find them running around the living room trying to get out.

Silver Ys

Walking to the Old Nab yesterday I noticed there were quite a lot of Silver Ys, about 60 or so on thistles mostly. Numbers in the garden have gradually built up until today there were about 70 or so on the lavender patch alone, mid-afternoon.

No Whinchats

.... but this was in a tree near home. A species I won't be seeing much of pretty soon.

A quick look on the moor found breeding Whitethroats and a Tree Pipit but the reliable Whinchat place proved not so reliable.


The northerly eventually got me out on to the Old Nab yesterday afternoon for a rather damp seawatch. Falling "a over t" down the "bad step" onto the end didn't help. It was always likely to rain and of course it did and I got damp. However, Manx Shearwater, 6; Arctic Skua 1 (adult dark phase); two small flocks of Common Scoter scurrying north, total 28; Razorbill carrying food (looked like sand eels); piles of Sandwich Terns feeding including at least one juvenile, Gannets, Kittiwakes made up a reasonably entertaining two hours.

Earlier at showery Scaling Dam a flock of 52 Mistle Thushes, feeding on bilberry on the moor perhaps, two Cuckoos, an adult and a juvenile, and the first Green Sandpiper of the autumn were fair recompense.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More Spot Fly

Working for much of the day put paid to any proper birding but an afternoon visit to Danby Moor Centre (not my favourite place it should be said but the cakes are good) produced two pairs of Sand Martins and a Spotted Flycatcher.

A Lesser Black-backed Gull sailed past the kitchen window early afternoon, narrowly missing air space (but it might be a tetrad tick). A Buzzard and the ever noisy Kestrels completed my day.

Small Heath was in the garden yesterday.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

WhitbyBirding not RIP (yet) merely sleepy

A fortnight without a post, what will my ever dwindling readership be thinking?

Sadly neglected Scaling Dam continues to be sadly neglected. I've not even peeked at a seabird, indeed the only birding has taken place in the garden. This resulted in Lapwing being added to the garden list on Tuesday as one entered airspace, 71. The Garden Warbler and Blackcap have been absent since last weekend but the Chiffchaff still sings from the valley and a pair of Kestrels have at least two fledged chicks making their presence known by loud hunger calls.

An evening at the pub last Saturday started well as we had to stop the car to allow a Woodcock and her family to cross the road on Limber Hill. Later that evening Nightjar and roding Woodcock were heard at one of my regular spots. These were all rather good Atlas / Birdtrack data.

Yellowhammer fledglings have been ever present in the garden along with Coal Tits.

A social evening up the dale resulted in the discovery of three or four pairs of Swift breeding in a farmhouse roof and House Martins have been located at a number of places, although the village colony appears reduced this year.

An Atlas visit to a nearby square resulted in the discovery of Spotted Flycatchers, more House Martins and a local first for me a Kingfisher.

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was a visitor to the garden again last Saturday. Butterflies are now everywhere in the garden with Ringlet and Meadow Brown being present in some numbers and two Small Skippers joining them. This is along with the ever increasing Red Admirals, Painted Ladies and Small Tortoiseshells which are feeding on the Valerian. The Budlia is about to bloom now providing additional feeding for the butterflies and moths.

Disaster of the week was Louise gripping me off severely by seeing the Graemeshall Loch Great White Egret whilst house hunting up north as I was stuck here working and looking after the offspring. Those who aided and abetted in this dastardly deed (which included a mobile call whilst she was actually looking at the bird) will receive their comeuppance in due course. GWE is a species I have failed to connect with in UK (largely, it should be said, through a slack attitude to twitching one), so salt has now been rubbed vigorously into the wound.

Slightly ameliorating this has been Voda's generosity in providing me with a Blackberry. A picking error resulting in a rather fine bit of kit arriving through my door. (I did own up and they told me I could keep it). This may result in mobile blogging, although my current rate of learning to use this tool is likely to result in that event occurring in 2023. At the moment I am severely challenged to get it to operate on my WiFi - I thought I'd cracked it but then it dropped the connection and I couldn't get it back, maybe low battery?

Spotted Flycatcher calling (with Jackdaw and Chiffchaff in the background)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Garden Warbler

Part of the Open Gardens involves "scarecrow" making and displaying, this year ours was the life cycle of a butterfly.

A Garden Warbler has been singing from all around the garden and once briefly from within it this weekend. The Blackcap is now largely silent but very occasional bursts of sing indicate it is still about, possibly breeding. Over the weekend three young Goldfinch fed on a thistle in "the meadow" and the juvenile Tree Sparrow is appearing regularly with a parent. The House Sparrows seem to have gone.

The first Ringlet of the year was flying on Saturday.