A good tramp around a dale Atlas tetrad produced Whinchats, Tree Pipit, Curlew getting very agitated, Lapwing a bit agitated, and some rather nice organic lettuce. A return in the evening found Barn Owl en route and Tawny Owls and Woodcock still roding.
Insect Week has been a bit of a disappointment with very few insects immediately obvious Ellen and I caught a few Carabids this afternoon but it was a half-hearted effort. The pond remains full and two frogs were around and about it. The tadpoles are with back legs.
On the musical front NC admitted that Eddie Grant forced a few wild dancing steps but seniority (or the ale) prevailed. Ting Tings a bit disappointing, the overlooked (by me) Lupe Fiasco a triumph - click here.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
No we're not off to the Dalby Forest tonight (Status Quo are playing). This Siskin flew in to the kitchen window. When I picked it up it looked done for but over five or ten minutes it came around. Moments after I took (this rather poor photo) it called and flew off strongly.
General lack of motivation today but Tree Sparrows x2 and Stock Dove by the kitchen feeder, both a regular sight over the last fortnight and Swifts near Scaling Dam and over the garden.
Posted by Alastair at 7:17 pm
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A shape in the road, look through the windscreen with the bins, a beautiful Roe Buck grazing the roadside verge. I draw in and park and he looks and stares, strange, striped face buck. I get out of the car and he stands, stares awhile more and then ignores me, back to grazing, keeping to his business. A Woodcock rodes by and then another rodes around the woods and circles back. And I look back; and the buck stares in the dusk, the buck stares me out. Another Woodcock punctuates the calm, stroboscoped wings flickering against the darkening sky. I roll up the road and the buck finally takes notice and bounds between the pines and away.
Up the road I drink tea and listen in the midge itching gloom. A distant churring, the first Nightjar, ten twenty. The Roe Buck reminds me he's there with a sharp bark, more, staccato. Woodcock again and the last dribbling Robin song. Nightjar flights away to hunt. A last bark. I turn and head back down the road.
Rolling slow and off the road flicks a male Nightjar, white wing patches flashing; moments later he's churring nearby. A flightless Snipe is dazzled in the headlight glare. I leave the car and stand by watching, listening again. Quiet returns.
By the last trees a familiar sound, creaking gate, woodland wader. Two perhaps three young Long-eareds plead for food and every now and then the adult gruffly replies. Eventually I pick out the adult gloomily in the trees and as soon as I do it's off, a pale, fleet ghost away through the pines.
Home; Jupiter rising in the southern sky, three big moons clustered. I close the door and the day is done.
Posted by Alastair at 9:26 pm
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Tried out the Old Nab at Staithes for a seawatch today. It's a ten minute walk from rather limited parking but there's a bit of shelter and it should work better for birds coming north (well west really) than Kettleness. An Arctic Skua was an early reward which cruised down east. There was a brief flurry of mid-seawatch Manxies, 18 in all going up west. Other highlights were a drake Eider that nearly knocked me over, a Puffin and good numbers of Gannets, most moving west (about 500 in 2.5 hours). All in all a worthwhile outing, especially as Lesser Whitethroat and Tree Sparrow were in Port Mulgrave and a fleeting glimpse of a maybe Hobby was a bonus.
Moved on to Scaling where I finally resolved the Pink-foot/Bean problem, the goose is a Pink-foot as everyone else (who has either seen it properly or is better than me at grey geese) has said all along.
In the garden wham, bam and a Siskin was RIP as the male Sparrowhawk finally made a successful pass at the Nijer feeder - 10 feet from where we were drinking tea. I hear the Sparrowhawk coming by the sound of its wings very frequently it is entirely fearless of us (as are the Siskins), small birds are totally traumatised by these raids often continuing to alarm 3 or 4 minutes after the hunter has departed.
Posted by Alastair at 9:59 pm
Saturday, June 14, 2008
A lightening drop by Scaling Dam today found a non-flying LRP chick from one brood and a bigger flying one in the other plus an adult from the brood I can't find but must be there somewhere. Two broods of Teal, and a Tufted Duck with two small chicks. No sign of the Oystercatchers though.
The unseasonal White-fronted Goose was again present and a Pink-foot/Bean that was still asleep in the same spot I saw it last time.
2 Cucloos, a few Swifts, House Martins, Swallows, Willow Warblers and a Blackcap made up the migrant contingent.
Posted by Alastair at 3:59 pm
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
This was a bit more like it ....
A colleague had seen an owl on her way to work so I went to check the spot out - Short-eared Owl was found fairly quickly, brief and rather distant views but good enough.
Down the road at a known Long-eared Owl spot a juvenile was hunger calling.
I then drove on to a place I'd tried before for LEO and failed but thought it looked good. At first no go but then as I drove back again a LEO flew across the road. A quick stop and I watched the bird hunting until it landed on the post and I tried to get the scope on to it. It disappeared as usual.
Believing my luck was in I drove a mile or so further to another place I'd always thought looked good but had failed in the past. As soon as I arrived an adult flew in carrying food, ace view. It called and the call was returned by another adult. Then a juvenile began hunger calling. In the end three juveniles were hunger calling, possibly three different adults were in the area and one of the adults gave an excellent set of calls close by escorting me out of its territory. Hopefully I can post some of this later - You Tube uploads permitting.
This last site seems possible for Nightjar, but there were none.
I drove on to another possible site, but by then it was too dark and the site was very silent.
Posted by Alastair at 11:35 pm
Thinking about the sword dancing issue, it would be good to write to Andy Burnham the Culture Minister and your own MP also. More info and a draft letter on the Badseawatcher pages here.
Posted by Alastair at 10:02 am
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Scaling Dam has retained an unseasonal guest in the shape of a "Pink-footed" Goose, I note a White-fronted Goose was also recorded today (previously this bird has been noted wandering amongst the fishermen). I've had a couple of brief views of this "Pink-foot" - it has been asleep when I've seen it and I'm not good at grey geese but unless the two bird theory is in play here it looks Beanish to me. Today it was standing belly deep in water and only showed its head briefly twice, I just couldn't be sure what it is.
Much more interesting were the Little Ringed Plovers. I refound a the pair from last week but with three quite well grown chicks and found another pair with two very small chicks. Then at the Cleveland end there was a single bird, so I would guess there is another family there somewhere. No Oystercatcher on view, although recorded earlier in the week with three chicks. A pair of Teal were of interest but a female with 8 very small chicks was very pleasing to see.
Posted by Alastair at 8:38 pm
Friday, June 06, 2008
Go to my badseawatcher pages for information on this outrageous assault on our heritage (and our right to expose our lower legs freely).
Posted by Alastair at 8:39 pm
Monday, June 02, 2008
As promised the excellent Black-headed Bunting photo - by P. Rawson
The bird was found in a garden at Robin Hood's Bay on 28-05-08, the first day of the fall, and watched for 20 minutes. The quick thinking observer managed to get some photographs taken.
Unfortunately, the bird has not been seen since. A cracking find, especially in your garden.
Posted by Alastair at 4:42 pm
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Yesterday evening I did a tour around to various Atlas and BirdTrack sites to try to locate owls and other denizens of the night.
Initially I was successful with the Barn Owl spot giving up its riches immediately. However, my Short-eared Owl site was without Short-eared Owls and despite careful listening and trying a few suitable spots no Long-eareds could be located either. Tawny Owls were happily vocal in two locations but I ran out of energy for the Little Owl hunt.
Golden Plover, Lapwing, Redshank and Curlew were all easily located, the latter two species with chicks.
Woodcock were very active at one site with four sightings in a few minutes and two males disputing territory above me.
Prize of the night here are Nightjar and they did not disappoint with two males singing for extended periods, one of which gave dim but close views. There was at least one other present at the site.
Today has been a correspondence and paint the kitchen day. A quick trip to Sandsend produced a rather enshrouded Sandwich Tern.
Late news for the end of May was of a superb male Black-headed Bunting in a Robin Hood's Bay garden. I've been sent a rather good photo of this bird which I will post when the photographer gives me the yea.
Posted by Alastair at 6:29 pm