Thursday, May 21, 2009

Birding time

Awoke early and for the first time in a while felt sprightly before five so ... Initially headed for an Atlas site but it was shrouded in thick cloud so gave up and decided to play hunt the Dotterel again, encouraged by Dave's comments from yesterday. However, Dotterel were laying low, with good reason a male Marsh Harrier was cruising for a bruising. Curlews going beserk, Lapwings distracting like mad ... Plenty of waders up around the Beacon (so Dotterel hunters please tread with care). Also one or two Wheatear up ther but much reduced on a week or so ago. Cuckoo was singing.Tromping around failed to find the quarry (a glimpse of a distant "maybe" in flight, could have been a Goldie though, so a sprightly visit to fresh Scaling Dam found Garden Warbler singing near the hide and the Icelandic Blackwit continuing to feed vigorously in the rapidly shrinking flash.



Another attempt for the Dotterel in the late afternoon. Failed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Birding interrupted

Various things conspired and combined to prevent much birding taking place .... Dotterel turned up at Danby the day I didn't go, Scaling Dam continued to hold the Icelandic Blackwit on Saturday when three Ringed Plover appeared with a Garden Warbler.

On the coast Bonxie cruised past Saltwick and there was much hirundine confusion with small parties of House Martins heading north whilst Swallows gathered and then dispersed south.

Looking south to RHB

In the last couple of days there have been six Dotterel at Danby Beacon but too much work for me to get there .... tomorrow maybe.

Proof of breeding, the young are now very noisy

Tree Rat deterrent - I have an inkling there's something awry with this plan ...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Black Tern time ....

...but not at gloomy Scaling Dam. Met by a birder leaving the hide who indicated a no Black Tern situation I persevered. A Great Crested Grebe was new, 4 Teal fed in the corner and a very odd looking "Herring Gull" didn't fit anything other than an out of season argentatus.

Even at this range the gull with the darker, bluer mantle can be picked out - great pic eh?

I drove up to the beacon to have another hunt around for Dotterel but it was a no Dotterel situation at Danby yet again.

Back down and a hunt around some favoured spots produced little. However, dropping back into rewarding Scaling Dam at the Yorkshire end a Black-tailed Godwit of the Icelandic race was found feeding energetically on the flash.

Another great pic - Icelandic Blackwit

Some owling diversions on the way back found a Long-eared Owl which I didn't see on the fence post until it flew unfortunately, quite decent views though.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Owl time

The early morning outing was somewhat curtailed due to slight over indulgence of the Sauvignon Blanc the night before - drowning the misery of one of the worst movies I have had the misfortune to not watch all of (Anchorman - just don't bother). In any case the Dotterel were nowhere to be found despite careful searching.

This evening there was a Short-eared Owl where I expected a L-eO and an unidentified but very likely L-eO where I expected a S-eO. Tea and chocolate may allow an early expedition tomorrow.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Garganey and gull

Nice pair of Garganey at damp Scaling Dam this afternoon.

A colour ringed gull was amongst the large gulls and when it finally emerged it was a little problematic. The colour ring was a long orange ring with dark numbers/letters (too far away) on the tarsus and there was a metal ring (that perhaps looked too narrow for a BTO) on the left leg. It was a first winter/summer bird. The tertials were almost entirely dark with just a little pale fringing. Bill was all black but not especially heavy. Size was argenteus size. Breast and belly were not especially clean white, although that feature did not show well due to angle. In flight the tail had quite a broad subterminal dark band and there was an obvious pale window in the 2aries. Overall the bird was quite dark with a paler head, white behind the eye and on rear crown. Didn't really seem to fit Yellow-legged Gull but the tertials were odd for argenteus .... Not sure really.

Sand Martins and House Martins were present but little else of note. The Garganey were nice though.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dotterel time report

It's probably a bit early I guess. I searched Danby Beacon carefully yesterday, no Dotterel were to be found. If you do check this site please be aware that Golden Plover breed near the Beacon, try to look from the road or the car park / Beacon area or at least wander with an awareness of breeding birds.

At the Beacon there were good numbers of Wheatear, suspect these were migrants as at least one seemed to show the characteristics of Ieucorrhoa. Plenty of Kestrel at this site also.

Nearly the best bird yesterday were a pair of Grey Partridge that wandered along the road by my route to sunny Scaling Dam. It is a long time since I have seen this species which four years ago I was seeing more frequently. I have a rant to do about this species but I'll save it for now ....

A Swift was new for the year at Egton Banks and snatches of Lesser Whitethroat were detected there amongst Whitethroat, Redstart, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Still no Garden Warbler though.

Costa Scaling produced Cuckoo but Whinchat and Garden Warbler were elusive. The usual waders were present with Oystercatcher displaying and Herring Gull also undertaking nuptials.

Annoying sound bite off

I've adjusted Spock so he/I've shut up now.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Dotterel time

Tomorrow or Sunday may well be the days to look at high places, I'll be venturing a look at a nearby hill for the smart plover.