Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The King of All He Surveys

Just watch out for that Sproghawk mister.
Click the link for The King in Flight

Monday, February 26, 2007

Today in the garden

Yes I should have been at work but .... more 5-a-side mayhem yesterday evening claimed my gastrocnemius which ruptured rather spectacularly so WhitbyBirding will be mobile by crutch power - this may limit further moorland adventures in the near future, probably for the next week or so, garden observations are likely to be seriously curtailed also. So two games - 2 injuries, is my body telling me something?

A new Great Spot on the front feeder, a female, and a first for me Long-tailed Tits on the peanuts. Neither captured on image as I'm peering at an obtuse angle from the kitchen table whilst working.

Next door's frogs were on great croaking form last night. Snow forecast for tomorrow morning.

Up on t' moor

Family outing to the moor yesterday and we bumped into a familiar character with his dog. As we parted Jack (the dog) got all excited and went off along a wall doing doggy stuff. All of a sudden Sproghawk explodes from the ground with an extended crop and Jack gets very interested in something on the ground. The abandoned prey was found to be a Red Grouse, quite surprised the Sproghawk would take one of these - although the walls provided the perfect ambush spot.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Movie success sort of

The movie of the orgy (frogs) is now posted in the right column - best I could do for now, for some reason I can't get it to post to the diary section - you might need to crank the volume up to get Skylark and Robin (as well as Common Frog).

Garden stuff

Not seen one of these for a while, last year we had up to 42 around the feeders in the spring, I'll have to check the dates. This is only the second on the feeders this year. Three Greylags went up the dale (2nd record), heard Red Grouse from the bath, and the gull flock now has 100s of Blheads, still more Commons though by about 3:1, the composition changes daily.

Walked from the Golf course to Sandsend but very little - was a family outing though, so fooball instead of scope - good thing really as I managed an especially good Kinnock and the sea water might not have improved the Zeiss.

Frogs having fun

The movie version refuses to post to the Blog, surprise, surprise a technical glitch, maybe. So this is the best i can do for now, click the link to go to the movie (with full sound effects).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Migration - to the new Blogger

No Spring hasn't gone quite this mad, photo taken last summer.

This seems to have worked ok. Thought I'd lost everything at first but the white page was a temporary glitch. Initially I couldn't post properly, we'll have to see if this continues I posted successfully after logging in again via Picasa.

When you move to the new version you have to bookmark the dashboard again and delete the old dashboard bookmark (well u don't have to do that but it's a mite confusing if you don't).

Other folk have reported issues, we'll see how it goes - no going back in any case.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Display, song .....

Very warm today. Early on 3 Sproghaws were soaring around up the dale. One of these (or another) subsequently did a mega stoop at the feral pigs - didn't see the result but think it missed. Dunnock x4 were doing their wing flicking thing for lunchtime in the front garden. Blackbirds are getting stroppy with each other with a male sub-singing at another male yesterday and two today parading along the front wall. Stock Dove singing etc etc.

Highlights of the day didn't quite make it a likely party of 4 Tree Sprogs went west early on but only one call and i just wasn't 100% and then a little later a redpoll sp played the same trick.

More Spring madness 2

.... and what's this in next door's pond? Look this is North Yorkshire not ***** Somerset, what's going on?

More Spring madness

Mollie found this yesterday on Holly in the garden. Today there were 14 of 'em, mostly on wallflowers by the front door.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More rain, work, Scaling, home

Arrived at work for the gull feeding but nothing doing. A late morning trip to Scaling found the two Long-tailed Ducks present again and low numbers of other duck except Goldeneye (still at least 15 inc two adult drakes, probably more than 20 - hard to count). At last the Willow Tit (probably more than one) on the feeders. The rain discouraged anything but a hide based visit. Heard Moorhen from the garden for the first time this year and Tawny Owl was calling mid-morning.

Bad Seawatching No 4 Stayed too long

Some seawatchers have difficulty with this aspect. Generally not recommended. BadSeawatcher would recommend leaving the seawatch prior to darkness falling. In serious cases can be detrimental to good health.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Feet

Nice day yesterday but .... we had to go to Middlebrough - Ellen's birthday coming up, B&Q house things to get and all that stuff .... Foolishly I'd vaguely suggested we go and see Happy Feet, the girls took this as a promise, uh oh. The sky was blue, I could have been birding, going in to the cinema on a sunny afternoon - I've never done that - but there was no other day for this stuff soooo - and a promise is a (hang on there was no promise) - no the grief would have been unbearable. We zoomed past Scaling without a glance (twice) - ok 2nd time in the dark. Was that the world's most expensive popcorn? - We usually make it ourselves for almost nothing. But this movie combines three of my favourite things - well four if you count laughing, (5 if you count movies) birds (ok so they're animated birds but they're well animated birds), music and politics (not shovedinyourface politics, but this movie is more political than many a serious grown up political movie). So nice day - even though the *********** blind is too small (do-it-all was never my strength). Check out the links and scroll down for the Happy Feet photo thing.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Song Thrush singing day

Song Thrush have been singing locally all winter but the first sang from the garden today and there were two near the hide at Scaling battling it out note for repetitive note. At home about 100 Redwings in the fields below the house and at Scaling the Long-tailed Ducks are still in residence - favourite spot is around the orange bouy near the dam.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bad Seawatching No 3 Wrong Place

A classic case of wrong place is Filey. Why bother to seawatch here? As can be seen by the map birds are likely to be miles out - probably unviewable. A good imagination is required if anything of interest is to be recorded (so that explains a gaggle of rejected P.feae in 2005).

Take a tip from BadSeawatcher drive down the road (20 mins) and watch at Flamborough or be daring and try those more northern points (Ness Point and Kettleness) for birds coming south out of the Tees Bay.

Real seawatchers do not need a hide (Filey has an A grade hide) or good company (Filey birders are a convivial lot) (at any rate they were til I wrote this). Real seawatchers need harsh elements blowing the soup away from freezing lips. Real seawatchers do not need to be told that the feae is at 200m inside the double black flag - find it yourself or be damned says BadSeawatcher.


Sleet, rain and wind all day, really unpleasant. Huge lack of enthusiasm for venturing beyond the garden gate = a day pottering, more work on the website (it may be "on the way" now) and the occasional peek at what's in the garden (and visible from inside the house) - bird of the day so far is Great Spot.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Snow movements

220 Lapwing over the playground this morning may have come in off and the children were reporting a couple of skeins of geese, a 15 and a 50 (unfortunately i dipped these).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Moorland management

Talking of Red Grouse the management of the moor filled the dale with smoke in the late afternoon on Saturday and smoke from 3 or 4 heather burning fires was all around in the sky.

Anything at Scaling Dam? Both Long-tailed Ducks showed nicely.

Weather stuff

Bombus pratorum (methinks)

Today I struggle to work in the snow, for the first time nearly failing to escape the dale - all a bit hairy really, and more snow to come. Saturday we spent all day outside, Louise reported seeing a butterfly in the garden (probably Small Tortoiseshell) and there was a bumblebee feeding in the snowdrops. Skylark were singing on the moor, Red Grouse were all territorial.