Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Migrant time

I walked out of a meeting at Caedmon School this morning to hear Chiffchaff singing. Later in the day, at home, early evening, I thought I heard another distantly from the garden.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lovely day here

In the garden the Tree Sparrows are becoming daily visitors to the feeders. Tawny Owls are very vocal during the day at the moment, one hooting at 10:30 this morning. A Buzzard flew straight through the dale shortly after (a or the) male Sparrowhawk had made an unsuccessful raid on the feeders.

Yesterday I had to combine work with birding, marshalling a fund raising treasure hunt, I was assigned to The Battery. Tucked in to avoid the northerly blast I steadied the scope sufficiently to pick out 7 or 8 Purple Sandpipers feeding at the base of the west pier; good numbers (c100 in an hour and a half) of Gannets were passing, mostly heading west; a few Kittiwakes; Eider offshore; but best were a female Goosander close inshore heading west and a high Red-throated Diver going east. Birding was of course regularly interupted to offer prizes to those that had managed to find me.

More work later, I was attending a Shakespeare festival where fittingly extracts of The Tempest were performed to the howl of the actual gale rattling the very structure of the Pavilion during the enactment of the play.

This morning the dale looked grand as I went out and about. Curlew are on territory and their familiar calls are now frequently heard from the garden.

As last year the gull flock has built up feeding in selected dale fields. There were very few gulls this winter but of late about 1,000 are feeding; Common Gull 70%, Black-headed Gull 29.9%, Herring Gull 0.1%.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Change to Italian hunting laws imminent - protest now

Join the campaign to try to prevent changes to Italian law about hunting wild birds. Click here for info.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Garden day

A lovely day here in the North Yorks Moors. I spent the day recovering from recent travelling by lazing around at home. Siskin were singing in the garden and good numbers visiting the trees and feeders, a Tree Sparrow put in an appearance, at dusk two Long-tailed Tits were on the peanut feeder at the front. Chaffinch numbers are still quite high at 50 or so and Yellowhammers abound. Also of interest were 3 or 4 Small Tortoiseshell, the Large White, however, was released by the girls from their bedroom collection of pupae.

A Roe Deer was in the field below the house.

The large Slowworm found last week was found dead yesterday. Ellen named it Slither and spent half the morning carrying it around before making a garden home for it ....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On the road ... rail, plane, taxi, bus, tube etc

No posts and no posts, WhitbyBiriding has been on the road. A no birding trip to London and adventures northward with little opportunity for birding (mega dip on a nearby Snowy Owl which I didn't even try for - shame). Nice flocks of Long-tailed Ducks though.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Niger getting eaten

During much of the winter the Niger feeders have not attracted much interest but as spring is springing, the green shoots emerging, the Niger is being gobbled again. Chaffinches mostly but a few Siskin are now visiting regularly. Goldfinch continue to be very few and far between.

Ah, just seen a Jay from the window, 100 for the year.

In the autumn I omitted to report a Marsh Tit feeding on Niger. Ignoring the tasty peanut feeder nearby and the sunflower seeds around the back a Marsh Tit went five consecutive times to the Niger feeder, clearly took a seed, perched up in the tree and holding the tiny seed with its feet clobbered it in the usual style until it got the edible bit out. Not seen before or since but of interest I thought.