Monday, December 31, 2007


There were Waxwings on Prospect Hill in Whitby today (Birdguides info) however I didn't see them instead we were round at some friends tucking in to 10 year old cake. Astonishingly yummy, no unpleasant side effects (still alive etc).

Oh yes, managed to get the Crossbill song up from yesterday - very irritating motorbike in background - look down the side panel.

Enjoy some great birding in 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Winter Atlas stuff today, managed to complete my early winter squares. Best find of the day was a reasonable flock of Crossbills 17 or so which were singing and displaying. Of particular interest was the call of one male which was quite different to Crossbill standard call, much fuller and louder. It seemed to be using this call towards another male at one point. In all respects this bird looked like Common Crossbill. I caught the singing on video but not that call unfortunately. Will post video later - when Google decides it will take less than a half day to upload.

In one of my other tetrads during the hour I managed just two species. Red Grouse, 19, Redpoll sp, 1 (yup only managed to id one of the two .....).

Not one bird of prey seen in 5 hours field work in perfect Hen Harrier habitat :-(

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year's Resolution

So Linton doesn't mention "di birdin" but I'm sure you get the jist .....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Xmas xess

Hawthorn in lovely light

Just forgive the spelling ok, no fit state really. Grab the moment.

02:10 girls awake and open stockings.
02:15 parents realise time is not reasonable - Louise convinces offspring that this is not the right moment..
Play musical beds.
04:00 Smallest offspring has sore throat, cries. Badseawatcher has seriously sore brain. Calpol administered.
07:00 Miracle occurs (perhaps Jesus is real) girls awake at reasonable hour. More stocking stuff, chocolate orgy.
07:01 Blur of paper ripping and Sellotape carnage.
07:01:31 All presents opened and unrecyclable waste is on garden burner.

Wonderful weather, gentle breeze, skies clearing from the west and eventually venture out properly at 14:00.
14:01 Leave moaning and wailing party and head off to find Little Owls - fail.

Amazingly find new pond , well at least a pond I didn't know about, 4 Moorhen in field. 15 Siskin fly south.

Cook food, (cleverly avoid severing arm with knife) eat, drink far too much alcohol, try to blog.

Dad yor bad

Bullfinch eating nettle seeds by garden feeders

Fortunately Louise cleverly gave me Linton Kwesi Johnson "Live in Paris" which chilled me somewhat. Serious headache anticipated, however.

Watch Dr Who.

Monday, December 24, 2007

H - 145580

Whilst sharing our rather good fish 'n' chips with the multitudes of Herring Gulls I noticed a ringed individual. Fortunately I had the bins with me so in time the ring was read - it was probably ringed up in Durham or Sunderland, there used to be a big gull ringing project up there.

I also noticed this bird with a very damaged lower leg and foot and then found another similarly damaged. The perils of professional fish 'n'chip robbery perhaps. H - 145580 did not hang around for a photo opportunity.

Phone vid and pix thus the less than excellent quality.

Fish 'n' chips

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blog disaster 2

Got irritated with the poor look of the blog so changed the template again. With a bit of doodling this one seems better, the failings with the header are better disguised.

I've just discovered Googlepages. This is a very handy tool for putting documents and files up on the web, worth a look - click here.

Farmland Birds in Yorkshire - a conference

There will be a conference "Farmland Birds in Yorkshire" in Harrogate on Sunday, 10th February. One of the main purposes of the conference is to discuss the collection, management and dissemination bird information throughout Yorkshire. Full details of the conference can be found - click here

Cost of the conference will be £10 for the day.

Blog disaster

I've changed the template as the picture header refused to go back up in any reasonable shape or form on the original template - as you can see I've been doodling with it. It's still not exactly as I want it to work but I seem to have problems with the picture header working properly whatever I do .... I've tried doodling around with the code in the widget but that hasn't provided any real solution. Some research is required methinks.

No proper birding but ....

A look around Sandsend produced Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Red-throated Diver (x at least 4), probable but distant (and no scope) Great Northern Diver. A very distant flock of sea duck were bobbing around off the western car park (probably Common Scoter) but 6 duck sp that flew around the bay at that annoying distance and at an annoying height in annoyingly bright light were somewhat puzzling. I'm sure I really didn't see white on the head and neck of one (the bill did not seem at all heavy) trick of the light, must have been Common Scoter, just didn't jizz quite right. The usual gulls were mooching around and a couple of distant Gannets went east.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The harbour

A few Turnstones wandering along the West Pier and in the street beyond; Herring Gulls and Black-headed Gulls loitering; Cormorant, a few Mallard and it was very cold and raining.

Maybe I'll do some proper birding tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Humpback Whales - no slaughter hope

Seems like the Japanese have backed off on slaughtering Humpbacks - lets keep the pressure up, click here

You can lobby the Japanese Government not to build a new whaling factory ship, click here.

Knackering week

Toooooo much work ...... so no birding or blogging 'til today.

Nice Barn Owl on the way to work on Tuesday.

On Wednesday as I was heading back to work in the late afternoon a large flock of Lapwing were panicking across the road, the panic perhaps caused by some crepuscular raptor activity (unseen). In the end the flock of about 150 exploded across the front of the car in a blur of white underwings. This was all the more effective as "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" was blasting out on the stereo producing one of those rare but wonderful combinations of birds + music (especially rare now that I don't have any spots where I watch from the car).

Thursday morning and I had to almost stop the car on the way to work in the morning as the Barn Owl got up from the verge. Nice.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

By 'eck its cold


Even I think it's cold and I live here

Interesting split between the frozen moor and the not frozen moor ..... I wondered why. (probably because it had rained/snowed on this bit and not on that bit).

Another Atlas square, another day. It was sunny below the moor when I set off but as I ascended Caper Hill the frost / snow stuff got thicker and thicker and the sun went in. 32 Red Grouse and 2 Pheasants pretending to be Red Grouse plus various bods who were most likely grouse nurturers. Thus not a Hen Harrier to be found. Outrageous in this perfect Hen Harrier habitiat. 2 Stonechats, 2 Robins, 2 Winter Wrens (one of the new names I rather like though what other sort of wren it might be I don't know) - actually I do cos I reckon they're winding up to splitting all those lovely island races. 1 Blackbird, 2 Chaffinch and 1 Fieldfare in the garden of the moor edge house. Then it started to snow. Shall I do another hour? Or shall I go home and sit in our nice warm kitchen reading the Guardian with a cup of tea? - No contest.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wheatear twitching

Expecting ghastly weather I got my act together rather late this morning. Being in charge of the small people for the day was also a bit of a disincentive to be up with the lark; proper birding was not going to be an option. However, the weather was rather fine and when I did venture out to the garden I was greeted by a flock of 30 or so Siskin along with the usual 40 or so Chaffinch. 3 Tree Sparrows appeared by the feeders. A quick check on the phone indicated that the Desert Wheatear had been seen. Aaha a plan. Small people offered various incentives and we were off.

Winter images from the garden

On arriving at the Long Nab car park the news was not so good, the bird hadn't been seen for a good bit. Now the thing with birding with small people is that bribery and corruption are actually rather ineffective tools on a cold winters day with the prospect of tramping several klicks in the mud. Fortune was on my side though and with a minimum of lagging behind and relatively few complaints the heights of Cromer Point were attained.

No Desert Wheatear. The hill to the pond looked rather forbidding to small people who were unanimous, they would walk no further.

Then a bit of magic, a wheatear appeared before me. The wrong wheatear but a wheatear nonetheless. Northern Wheatear, my latest ever. It had been reported earlier, so it wasn't a find, pleasing though. Girls admired said wheatear through scope. Played "being very small" with my bins whilst I pixed it.

The "wrong" wheatear - a December, Northern Wheatear, Cromer Point VC 62

Small people now claimed conditions were akin to the Arctic and leaving was required. So off we trooped. Northern Wheatear, lots of Rock Pipits and a single Redpoll sp over my reward. And a rather pleasant outing to a birding spot I'd not visited before.

Oh yes! did have a quick look at the water works before we left. I suspect you're not meant to so this but on leaving I was advised it was a possibility for the Desert and that's where it had been in the past and it was ok to go and look. Recalled that you were not supposed to take the car and the notices indicated such but trailed up to the filter bed compound on foot - the notices probably meant on foot too but the gates were open and a rather new and grand stretch of Tarmac offered access. A Turnstone and several Pied Wagtails with a pipit that was most likely Rock but flew. Not really worth the effort.

The Desert Wheatear was relocated at 1:30 p.m. about half an hour after we left the area, such is twitching; and why I rarely do it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pre-blizzard Atlas

By ek, I'm off. That's Badseawatcher 'n' his camera.

Managed to get my next Atlas square done before the blizzard came in. The square, just north of Robin Hood's Bay and including Ness Point was rather uneventful. This Stonechat being the star turn really. The blizzard was wicked, totally horizontal snow from just before 1 p.m. for a couple of hours or so.

No passage at sea was apparent, just one auk sp was seen to fly north. Other than the Stonechat 2 Red-throated Divers and 1 Guillemot were loitering off-shore and there was a goodly bundle of the commoner gulls.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

BBRC report

I love the BBRC report. The best bit is always the records not accepted. This time the best of those are the Blue-winged Teal records - if at first you don't succeed.....

There's a fascinating Bridled Tern record for Essex. This species, usually feeding just out of scope id range for 2 hours before vanishing forever to be seen at no neighbouring sites .... or, alternatively hacking north at such a rate it's gone in a moment and you think you imagined it and perhaps you did because no one else sees these ones either. This species showed off wonderfully for a single observer (I guess) who photographed it wonderfully well perched at close range and then equally wonderfully for all you Essex listers apparently didn't put it out on Birdguides for the best part of a week. I suspect A.Wright is no more, quite possibly now upright (concrete, one of) at the new Wembley Stadium or some other large and impressive construction (as befitting the finder of a close, stationary, poser of a UK holidaying Bridled Tern).

First Royal? No, no, no, deposed to "records not accepted" Off with their heads I should think (BOURC that is). No, no not me, its those Men of Kent you should beware of - a dangerous crew, mark my words.

RSPB climate change campaign

You can support the RSPB Climate Change Campaign here.

Thanks for your support.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I was going to do another Atlas square but it peeed it down so I did jobs instead. However, Redpoll sp in the garden eluded id, 2 Marsh Tits and a few Common Gulls up the dale. And that was that.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


First proper Atlas outing today - Kettleness without the Kettle (the point itself is in a different square, and is the only land in that square). Wind was a bit strong to be honest but if I don't get on with this I won't get it done - I've six squares to do. Very little on the railway line, Blackbird total was 8. No Robins, no Dunnock - not so many weeks ago these two species were everywhere. There was a bit of a westerly big gull thing going on, more of a trickle than a movement though. Eventually I got down into the under-cliff which was sheltered and started seeing some birds. 24 Snow Buntings flew over my head and went off out on to the point. I managed a bit of a seawatch from the sheltered side of the Kettle and found 4 Red-throated Divers, 5 Guillemots and a Lesser Black-backed Gull (very uncommon here).

After weeks without Fulmars, one last week, there were 7 sitting on the breeding cliff. 2 Stonechats, 3 or so Rock Pipits. Not a bad do in the end.

Drove around to Runswick Bay to meet the gang and photographed a rather smart Red-breasted Merganser while I waited for them to appear. Then we went to the pub.

Always a bit of a tricky balancing act small children and pub. The Royal Hotel at Runswick is welcoming to those of us with small offspring, the clientele generally tolerant and the beer excellent. Once the J2Os and the food arrived the threat of small person riot was ameliorated and a kind of relaxation was achieved.

A tromp along the beach recorded Grey Wagtail x2 and a maybe Chiffchaff called once from near the boat pound but I couldn't entice it out with any amount of pishing.