Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blog refit 2

I've changed the template (again) and the blog looks good in an adjusted smaller page size (use smaller page size and adjust from the bottom corner until the margin around the header is even) but the header doesn't work full screen. I suspect I need to put the header somewhere on the web and use html to position it (rather than host it on this machine), maybe I'll try that another day.

Wonderful walking back along a crepuscular dale yesterday pm, Golden Plover calling overhead, Lapwing calling from across the fields, Song Thrushes battling it out in song and the occasional Tawny Owl.

Foggy all day in Whitby today, sunny at home, the fog rolling in at dusk.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blog refit

The blog refit now requires a bit of refinement but I've found a way of getting picture headers, getting the header to fit exactly in the space is another matter, at the moment it looks a bit amateurish but future works should improve that.

Coal Tit was rescued from Socks who should be in no condition to catch it. Try double clicking on the lower photo for a close up of feather structure.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dale day

Over 100 7-Spot ladybirds were in a small area in the front garden early this p.m. There were several pairs of these mating, see video (now added). A Peacock Butterfly was the first of the year, second butterfly as Louise had seen a likely Small Tortoiseshell back in early February. A walk across the dale found male House Sparrow but 400m from the garden (there has been no sighting in the garden for over a year), Jay (but 1/2 a mile away) not seen from the garden, and there were two or three pairs of Lapwing displaying in the same area. Lots of flowers appearing, plenty of Primrose and Celandine, what appear to be many Wild Daffodil in the woodland edge on the opposite side of the dale.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Occasional peer

A lack of enthusiasm was evident - stayed inside on this damp cold day and modified the blog. Female Great Spot in the garden, nothing else of any note seen by the occasional peer out of the window.
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The Lord Chancellor wore black and gold robes whilst presiding over the House of Lords.
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Friday, March 23, 2007

Scaling Dam again

Another meeting, another drop-by Scaling Dam. Dave Britton found a Med Gull at the Cleveland end after I had gone to search the Yorkshire End on Wednesday. Today, more usually, no other birders. No sign of any LTD I think they really have gone now. 15 Goldeneye includng 4 drakes, and some enthusiastic displaying going on. A Green Woodpecker, a species I'm not sure if I've seen before at Scaling (must check the data base), Snipe displaying and a Sparrowhawk.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Heavy snow, Scaling

Very heavy snow last night and this a.m. I eventually struggled out of the dale at 08:10 having thought there was no chance of getting out - snow ploughs and gritters were quickly here.

At Scaling this p.m. Linnets, first of the year, Snipe singing, a super Short-eared Owl that perched close-by in a hawthorn for a good while before flying off hunting, 12+ Goldeneye and ..... no LTD. I didn't have my scope with me (as i was returning from a work meeting) but careful searching drew a blank.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Winter returns

We woke to a sunny sky that quickly darkened and the morning was punctuated with minor blizzards driven by a chill north-westerly. As usual the snow brought more birds to the feeders and Chaffinch numbers shot up to 85 at a time; Goldfinch to at least 21 at a time and Greenfinch to 10 or so. For the first time this winter Siskin numbers were >1 with a pair on the kitchen peanut/sunflower mix. The male of the pair had a metal BTO type ring on the right leg - unfortunately it disappeared between me getting the camera and getting back or it might have been readable. An hour or so later there were a pair of Siskin on the front Nyger feeder, but this time the male had no ring. So certainly 3 Siskin today and more likely 4. Later in the afternoon Siskin were calling from the Larch wood at the back. Maybe these are last year's breeders returned?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Scaling Dam

Fishing has started again so the reservoir was busy and there were no birds on the water down the Yorkshire end. However, 2 Chiffchaff were singing by the entrance to the Yorkshire end car park. A search for Long-tailed Ducks seemed fruitless as i walked along the dam until the female flew out of the nature reserve and went down the east end. Goldeneye still at about 15.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Garden and work

Early(ish) in the garden this morning produced Redpoll, Siskin, Lapwing, 12 Redwing, four species of gull and quite a bit of display (Greenfinch) and song (Yellowhammer) drumming (GtSpot). Failed to hear Green Woody or Red Grouse additions which would have swelled the day list to a best for the year.

As I got into the Whitby suburbs a flock of "geese" was glimpsed between the houses heading north. I needed to get to the sea front pronto for id - 2mph Picasso in front, dither, dither .... However, made it in time to get on to 64 swans heading out over the front and then NW further out to sea. Even if i failed to get an id they were superb, brilliant.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

1,000 visits (since counter added, mostly me anyway)

A celebratory post is required. Zooming out from the picture below ...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Scaling Dam (another hobble)

This is the Long-tailed Duck I've been calling a female all autumn and winter. It is now beginning to show a bicoloured bill it does still look like a female but - the plumage has changed significantly in recent weeks ..... Couldn't find the male today. Still at least 8 Goldeneye. About 2,000 Black heads in the roost + 600 or so Common Gulls.

Curlew displaying when I arrived, still two Oystercatcher, the drake Shelduck is back, there'll be an LRP any day.

"Where's the chips?"


Sunday, March 04, 2007


I always find these events somewhat eerie.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

More Rooks.

Rooks on the feeders

The Rooks were really persistent today at the front feeders. They didn't do this during the winter, I seem to recall we had a spate of this behaviour last Spring. Jackdaws joined in too. The Long-tailed Tit pair visited the peanuts again briefly and the lone Siskin was also around at lunch time. At the end of the day Louise glimpsed a raptor which i missed, possible Peregrine.

Hobble around Scaling

There were 9 Oiks at Scaling today, these 7 and a pair near the Cleveland border. The LTDs are still present, although they took a bit of finding. No sign of any migrants yet, LRP due in the next few days I would guess.

Friday, March 02, 2007

More Spring things

Returning home from a meeting at a reasonable time - a possible Chiffy calling near the drive up the road, a Curlew heard (quite late to hear the first in the dale for the year) and this dandelion flowering by the outhouse. One or two daffs are out in the garden too.