Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rough-legged Buzzard

Scaling Dam is currently host to a Rough-legged Buzzard. it was reported yesterday and seen by the Scaling recorder at about 11:00 today. Good views were had from the hide from whence it was seen to capture and begin to devour a rabbit.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Now there's a plan, silent but slow, get the toads to carry the car

So Friday I drive to West Yorkshire in the evening to get a floor. It's a nice floor, oak. Friends are moving, and the floor, having lived stacked up under their bed for six years, needs a new home. Anyway, got just past Pickering and a strange and ominous clunking noise starts from the rear of my car. Turned the radio up. Near Malton I was having trouble with the radio, a clunking noise was ruining my auditory enjoyment. Pulled in to lay-by, looked under car, nothing obvious falling off so continued. The floor's in our outhouse now but my brain was rather addled having listened to loud clunking noises for the best part of 4 hours.

Part of Scaling Dam's current invasion of the toads

Arty toads
Louise is ill, not very ill but ill enough so I felt going birding, on my own, without the offspring would have been on the unreasonable end of the scale (having to borrow her car as well). I managed an hour at Scaling Dam on Saturday whilst the offspring were riding horses nearby but all in all a bit unsatisfactory really. (saw six Pink-feet but of course no White-front or Bean).

Today, Louise felt a bit more perky in the afternoon so I was allowed out. Initially I was going to Scaling for just a quick look, in case a Black Tern was cavorting amongst the Lasers (boats with sails) and then on to the sea. But I got distracted. Looked at the Yorkshire end and a Whimbrel flew by, then there were 3 Common Sands and there were loads of singing Willow Warblers. To Cleveland. At the boat club end I focused the bins to look at something or other in the bushes and .... the focusing got rather stiff, until I needed a large wrench and two strong men. Bins had seized up. Infinity seemed the best option which I just about managed. This was ok in the hide but very unsatisfactory when trying to look at warblers in bushes, generally involving some cursing and walking backwards, then more cursing as I fell in a ditch. Decided I didn't want a fourth broken thing so went back to the hide and found a Black-tailed Godwit.

Usual old stuff at Scaling Dam, Sunday afternoon, lets walk our dog across the nature reserve and tread on all the Lapwing nests. Went round but bloke and dog were big (and back on public path by now), nobody else about. The coward in me walked past him not acknowledging his hearty hello - he then muttered at me weirdly (and somewhat madly, it has to be said) for being impolite. Cowardly prudence probably prevented further breakages.

Other things at Scaling Dam 2 or 3 Cuckoos, a briefly singing Sedge Warbler, a single Goldeneye, and a possible Yellow-legged Gull, that managed to vaporise, but probably just flew closer. But I did get a distant pic or two.

What do you think of the gull? Looks good to me.

Yellow-legged Gull ??? (left hand bird)

And again
It disappeared between taking this shot and looking through the scope about 2 seconds later.

If you know about Nikon's repair service, I'd be interested in info about that too - quick/slow; honour guarantee or pernickety? My experience of them to this point has always been good.

Scaling Dam is also featuring a Chrysomelid invasion at the moment

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Unilever and Palm Oil production

Please support the Greenpeace campaign to stop Unilever destroying Indonesian rain forest. Click here for more info. You can sign the open letter via that link.

Greenpeace would like you to write a more personal letter. I've written one, feel free to use it if you would like to. Click here for my sample protest letter.

TIA for supporting this campaign.

Garden stuff and out of area

A weekend social trip to my old haunts in Cragg Vale found only Nuthatch of any note, by the Old Vicarage, and no migrants.

Back home in the garden this evening 3 Common Buzzard appeared - a record number, swirled around for a bit, had a bit of a mew and then went off the way they came. Also 3 singing Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Curlew amongst the usual things.

Jackdaws are building a nest in our new chimney pot, nothing unusual about that you might think except this is a fire which is permanently on. Cenrtally heated Jackdaws. I think we'll have to shift them before they cause us a serious problem.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Great Grey Shrike 2

Arrived at the wonderous Scaling Dam after one of "those days" at work - computers continue to be recalcitrant, income and outgoings have wildly different plans.

Cold, nasty easterly wind. Birders in distance plodging about. Ok I'll walk round. Step into Bog House Lane and up pops the Great Grey Shrike, Excellent views, a few pix and off it goes. Mission accomplished.

Of course I stayed around and sifted through the gulls to no avail but a couple of White Wagtails in front of the hide were nice.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bountiful Scaling Dam (not for me)

So late yesterday p.m. at Rarity City Scaling Dam there was a maybe Willow Warbler. And between 09:00 and 10:00 this morning, whilst I am safely ensconced in work dealing with a mathematically challenged budget and recalcitrant computers 15 minute away Scaling Dam hosts Tundra Bean Goose, Common Crane and Great Grey Shrike. AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgrrrrr

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Malcom O don't read this

Web-footed, plodding, honking, hybridising, kept-in-captivity-and all-too-frequently-escaping, hard-to-id-(sometimes), irritatingly-elusive, invisible, clearly-the-figment-of-some-birders'-imaginations, collective-hallucination-inducing, hiding, fuel-wasting, grass-scoffing Anseriformes, listen; I've had it with you, right. I seek thee no longer. I care not whether I espy ye.

It may be gathered that I have returned from yet another trip to the so-called goosey Scaling Dam gooseless.

Willow Warbler in the garden this morning. A possible Willow Warbler foraging in distant Sallows at Scaling Dam.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


No, I've still not seen them; yes, they are still there. On Sunday and today the Tundra Bean and the White-front at least (Scaling Dam). Perhaps I'll try tomorrow.

Nearby a Great Grey Shrike at Burniston. I will have driven past it today oblivious, but I didn't have time to stop in any case.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Black Redstart

A family trip to Runswick Bay was very worthwhile as I found a Black Redstart feeding amongst the sea protection boulders alongside the ramp down on to the beach. Failed to get much of a photo unfortunately. Also at Runswick Bay 4 Chiffchaff and a Sparrowhawk; 6 Pied Wagtails, a possible White that eluded me and a Rock Pipit.

At home the Siskins are continuing to scoff the Niger seed along with the Goldfinches and increasingly the Chaffinches. The Chaffinches are especially keen when the other food runs out - we seem to be going through a lot of Niger at the moment. Also 2 Marsh Tits, Long-tailed Tits, both commoner woodpeckers and about 600 or so Black-headed and Common Gulls feeding in the dale.

Late afternoon I headed back to the coast and checked around Abbey Plain and the Coastgurds first. 80 Common Scoter but no Velvet and 5 Eider. Good numbers of Pied Wagtails here also. On to Saltwick Nab where a Manx Shearwater went north and a Purple Sandpiper and a Knot were amongst the Oystercatchers and Redshanks on the beach.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mud Man

Various attempts to see the various geese (1 Tundra Bean, 1 White-front, 1 Egyptian, 6 Pink-feet) at Scaling Dam this week have not been successful. Failed to go on Wednesday p.m. when I'd planned to, and failed to look at phone to check, too knackered after work - but the geese were there. Early morning Thursday, no geese - did find two Little Ringed Plovers however. Meant to go on Friday but lack of enthusiasm after work - the geese were there. Saturday midday, and checked surrounding fields no geese. No indication on the phone so went back late afternoon - this after I'd spent the afternoon digging a long ditch and finishing digging the pond. To suggest I was in a bit of a muddy state would be a lie, I was mud; oozy, smelly, ditch mud. So I wasn't greeted enthusiastically by the other occupants of the hide, they looked a bit horrified and left promptly. No geese either, and another drive around was not productive.

Birds today - Little Grebe; a flock of 11 Goldeneye; 2, Little Ringed Plovers; 2 Swallows scurried west and that was about it. There were reports of White Wagtail but I failed to connect with them.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Thursday, late p.m.

Sunday, late p.m.

So I took the winter tyres off my car. The plan was to go for the roost at Scaling but the snow began falling just before 5 and by the time I wanted to go the road was looking a bit flaky. Louise isn't too keen to lend me her car (still shod in its winter boots) after the "parking on the front in a storm and high tide at Sandsend" incident - apparently occupants required wellies to ride within the vehicle the next morning.

Just after the snow started to really come down 40+ Fielfdares were espied (from the cosy inside) heading west. Other garden birds today included Tree Sparrow, the continuing to feast on peanuts Siskins, Marsh Tit and a rather smart Sparrowhawk on a moorside wall (possibly the individual that made such a dashing pass at the bird feeders yesterday p.m. Of special interest yesterday were the Long-tailed Tits, barely seen all winter they are busily collecting nesting material from the garden.

Other items of interest on Friday were both 7-spot and 2-spot ladybirds found in the garden.

The pond continues to hold water, but enlargement plans are on hold during the inclement weather and anyway I'm distracted at the moment by novel reading and a rich source of legal, free music on the web which I'm catching up on.

Mallorcan photos will be posted shortly. I'm planning a resume of Yellow-legged Gull id which I have continued to find confusing and difficult. My target species this year, I took hundreds of photos and visited two colonies. The pix have been whittled down, and I think I've got my head around this now - this is for my own benefit but I will post the outcome on a linked web page for anyone who is vaguely interested.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Cranes and other stories

Steve's pic (hope it's ok to post?)

Missed 'em, total,total jealousy. I'd have loved to have got those (yesterday). Love the noise they make too.

However, despite over-sleeping this morning and not getting to Abbey Plain 'til just after 9 all was not lost. A White Wagtail was running between the cows legs with a male Pied for comparison. Subsequently a good few more M.as were seen, some heading west some lingering. These were caught up in a pretty good Mepit movement which included 64 coasting west in a 20 minute count - they were going for the two hours I was there. Also quite a few Linnets moving - 10 west in the 20 mins. A Sand Martin was nice - I heard Chiffchaff from the garden yesterday, so 2nd summer migrant species of the year (excluding Mallorca).

One Velvet Scoter was still present with 74 Common Scoter off the coastguards. Also there and new since my last visit about 100 Kittiwake. 4 Eider were loitering along with a Red-throated Diver (another went east). A shufty around the allotments did not reveal the hoped for Firecrest though.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bitter Bonxie

I've added a new link (thanks to GBSF for recommendation). it's rather good.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Normal (sic) service to be resumed shortly ...

I hate flying.
1. I feel bad about it.
2. It scares me to Green Withens. (And flying out was the most scary ever, huge bumpy moments for the last hour, pitching and rocking all over the shop. Louise and Ellen were in the toilet and managed to wedge themselves in the confined space. Flying's for birds.)

However, mission accomplished, lots and lots of gull photos. You think those Meds at Welbeck are show off's. Here's showing off.