Monday, February 23, 2009

Yorkshire Bird Report 2006 published

The latest Yorkshire Bird report is now out and about.
£10 + £2 P&P to non-members from the following address. (Free to YNU members, £25 per annum, membership enquiries to: Mr J. A. Newbould, Stonecroft, 3 Brookmead Close, Sutton Poyntz, Weymouth, Dorset, DT3 6RS.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Snow gone for now

As soon as the snow was on its way into the gutter birds began to sing. Song Thrush was singing at Runswick Bay on Monday and at home on Tuesday, today there were three singing in the morning. For a bird that I've not seen or heard around the garden for weeks their sudden emergence is interesting. Have these Song Thrushes come in or have they been skulking around all the time?

Also bursting into song around home were Mistle Thrush on Tuesday and Blackbird on Wednesday.

The Yellowhammers are no in evidence continually around the back garden feeders. They were absent until the beginning of last week from the New Year. Just before the New Year I only saw or heard the occasional bird for some weeks. This is the first time since 2005, when we arrived here, that this species has absented itself for any length of time. Did they know the snow was coming and move to lower ground?

Tree Sparrow has also reappeared although a little more sporadically, there was one on the feeder at the back this morning.

However, Marsh Tit has now disappeared. Having been so evident since the autumn there is now no sign of this species in the garden. Interestingly the Atlas site I covered yesterday, and have made the occasional visit to recently has also suffered an exodus of this species. Perhaps there is now sufficient natural food around and they don't need to lurk around the garden either here or at the Atlas site (where they were also found near feeders).

Lots of questions, not many answers.

I've had a few instances recently of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker reported in unlikely locations. I think these are misidentifications but .... It's always difficult to know what to do about these records, going to check them out is not usually fruitful with this species. I don't think this is a hard species to ID but maybe I'm just complacent. I haven't seen this species for quite a number of years now, I seem to have stopped bumping in to them. Yesterday's Atlas site looks perfect for them but after many visits at appropriate times of the year, no sight and more pertinately no sound.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Can't say, won't say

Red Grouse in the snow

Impressionistic Red Grouse in flight

This morning I went somewhere by car, a bit of a way, and saw some birds.

Unfortunately due to the vulnerability of some species and the prejudiced and ignorant attitude of a very few of the shooting fraternity (who sometimes monitor this blog) I can't say more than that.

This afternoon following up a bit of information from Louise I checked out another possible Barn Owl site. Nice, prolonged views of a hunting bird were obtained by all.

Most of the 696 Lapwing and 7 Golden Plover standing on ice,
The tyre crop is coming along well, organically grown too, we'll be harvesting soon so drop me a mail if your tread is running slim

Frozen Scaling Dam held 5 Goosander today (3 males and 2 females), not common here. There were 696 Lapwing and 7 Golden Plover standing on the ice. Duck numbers were otherwise severely reduced with only 7 Tufted for example. The now miserably miniscule gull roost held but 150 Common Gulls, 50 or so Black-headed Gulls and 22 Great Black-backed Gulls.

More Common Gulls in the dale today, c300 than in the Scaling roost

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Barn Owl extravaganza

On the way home yesterday by another route due to birthday mission a Barn Owl was hunting at a new site.

Today after doing the Spa gull roost and Sandsend gull roost - no result. Decided to head back to yesterday's Barn Owl site, and found two more at another site on the way.

Over at Coastguards there is still a single Velvet Scoter, 40 or so Common Scoter, a flock of 18 Eider + another 15 or so, 2 Red-throated Divers, 3 Guillemots and assorted Shags and Cormorants.

On the cliff top there were a good assortment of waders including 38 Lapwing, 35 Golden Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, about 50 Curlew, 4 Redshank and about 100 Oystercatcher. There was also a sizeable Fieldfare flock of at least 160.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On the way to work ....

... this morning a Barn Owl distracted me. I stopped the car and watched. The owl headed off up the field so I tried to head off to Whitby. Er, car not moving. Engine working - check; in gear - check; large sheet of black ice - check. I rolled gently down the hill backwards, the way I'd come and tried again and off I went to work.

Things were rather serious on the way home; where's the road gone? Lots of white stuff falling. Taking a bend out of Whitby somewhat injudiciously I found myself going back into Whitby again. No car not that way! Amazing how quickly that happened, it was a rather graceful spin - clearly I'm no McRae. I did manage to drive all the way home though, thanks to the thoughtful folk who had put half a beach on one particular hill.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

More fun than birding?

Blogging again

Late yesterday p.m.

Please excuse the temporary disruption in service as my work interfered for the last few weeks. Hopefully the usual frequency of reporting will now be restored.

Well it's snowed a bit hasn't it? Looking at North Downs and Beyond it seems to have snowed very considerably "down South" whilst we have escaped relatively lightly, excluding last Monday and yesterday when there was some fairly significant precipitation.

Front garden at midnight, moonlight shadows

Driving home on Friday afternoon / evening a possible Woodcock flew in front of the car on one stretch, some ten minutes later on pulling up to reverse into home a definite Woodcock flew from the small wood by the road and over the house.

Yesterday's snow brought a Stonechat to within feet of the garden but it made neither the "seen from" or "within" lists as I couldn't get back into the garden fast enough to tick it - tetrad tick for me though.

The long absent Yellowhammers returned to the garden last weekend and yesterday and today there have been up to four at a time. Other absentees seen recently have been Tree Sparrow, one and Siskin, four yesterday.

Today Blackbirds have flooded in to the food with 16 at one point.

The local magazine, Valley News, brings to light a body I seem to have been oblivious of somehow; Upper Esk Valley Wildlife Group. Now I must make contact with them as they are publishing some interesting records that I seem to be missing. Anybody have a contact for this group?