Sunday, 24 February 2008

Displaying Lapwings

A series of pictures illustrating the Lapwing courtship display.

This is where the male bird flies over its territory. Then it starts scraping out a hollow in the earth, as if showing the mate where they may build their nest.

The pictures are record shots from a fair distance but show the birds displaying, putting their brests to the ground and their rumps in the air and flying around together.

Taken at the far end of my Sigma Lens 500mm at ISO 800, exposure compensation of 1/3.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Every Picture Tells a Story 11

A nice pleasant early walk in the countryside admiring the birds and wildlife can end in complete upset.
Blue skies, warm sun and the frost still on the grass a wonderful morning to be out.
What a fantastic morning to see two hares cleaning their fur far side of the field.
You step into the verge to let past a fleet of four wheel drives full of men in their tweeds.
A tractor approaches pulling a brown box cart with beaters in. They stop and some with guns get out the hares spotted. You walk away upset at what you know is to take place.
As you walk back up the lane beaters are walking and calling accross the fields on the otherside of the lane, there is no escape.
Shots ring out, from where we live it happens all day on Saturdays.
A couple of weeks ago it was the fields down from Wykeham Forest. A hare fled accross the road in front of our car before we saw the beaters.
This has gone on for a few weeks.
I worry that there will be no hares to photograph and enjoy this summer. I could be wrong but how do the shooting fraternity know what is left.
I do not know what damage hares d0. Maybe eat a few beet.
This is sickeningly regarded as a sport, if you want to shoot try clays or target shooting but that's a skill!
I would urge all readers to campaign for protection for hares, at the very least a call for a closed season for hare shooting. Many leverets starve after their parents are shot. I am putting a link on my site to the Hare Preservation Trust. Their website is being re-vamped but a down loadable form to petition for a shooing close season from February to September inclusive will be available so please keep viewing.
Neighbour reports 5 hare carcasses this week in hedge bottom.
Reports of a trailer with dead hares hanging over an A frame
Dead hare on main Pickering Road today a road kill but caused by what?

Countryside around West Ayton

Some postings of birds seen early this morning down Garth End Road and out into the countryside.

Yellow Hammer, Field Fare and young Song Thrush.

Every Picture Tells a Story 1

Had a walk down Garth End Road (Pigs Lane) early this morning and saw Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren and Blackbirds. Crow, Wood Pigeon, Collard Dove, Dunnock, House Sparrow and many Yellow Hammers. There were flocks of Yellow Hammers 20+ and a good number of Field Fare.

Also 7 Mute Swans in the adjacent field and two Brown Hare. More about them in the next posting.

Back late afternoon in the car and I spotted a Barn Owl that settled on a post near the barn where it resides. Whilst distant I managed some record shots which tell a story.

Please return to read episode two a very upsetting tale.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Hornsea Mere II

A few more shots from yesterday afternoon at Hornsea Mere of Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose and Coot.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Hornsea Mere

Took a look at Barmston Beach this morning on a lovely bright day. Oystercatchers and Sanderling present.

Moved on to Hornsea Mere where there was at least 8 Goldeneyes present but distant.

Beautiful day for photography and many close willing subjects. Maybe common species but nice to get good shots after the dark days we had in January.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Crosscliff, Dalby

A ride up through Forge Valley today to Hackness at mid-day but no raptors in the air.

On towards Dalby and there was a black rabbit on the verge between the Hackness Grange Hotel and the Troutsdale turn off.

Just beyond that junction there was a small flock of Bull Finch in the bottom of the hedge row.

On through Langdale End we stopped at the North Riding Forest sign where we saw Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Goldcrest.

Imediately past the old toll point in Dalby was a flock of 10+ Bull Finch.

Walked circular route from Crosscliff car park. Heard mostly Goldcrest but saw little until beautiful pair of Common Crossbill in very difficult light. Pictures are poor record shots and do not do justice to the bright rust red/orange of the mail bird.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

Visited Wheldrake Ings YWT and Lower Derwent Valley today (English Nature).

Starting at Bank Island just south of the village of Wheldrake, nice views from the viewing platform in brilliant sunshine showing good numbers of Widgeon and Teal, Lapwings, Mallard and Curlew.

Could not reach the hides due to flooding.

Proceeded 400 yards up the road and turned into Weldrake Ings where the river was running at the top of its banks.

We walked down the side of the river but turned back before reaching the first hide due to the path being deep in water in places.

Moved on further down below North Duffield and had a nice half hour in the first hide the second was inaccessible due to flooding, the water looked to be half way up the hide.
Saw Coot, Cormorant, Widgeon, Lapwing, Dab Chick, Mallard. The bird feeding station to the side of the hide held Chaffinch, Yellow Hammer, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit and a lone Reed Bunting.

A Wren was on the waters edge but too flighty.
Fieldfare and Starlings in the adjacent field and a Heron nearby.
A very pleasant visit.

The pictures show the level of waters which might be a surprise to many in North Yorkshire, not long ago it would have been to me.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Blacktoft Sands

A very quite day at this RSPB reserve by the Ouse.

Cold biting wind probably attributed to a lot of birds remaining hidden but in front of the hides there was very little to see.

A maximum of three Marsh Harriers were up at one time and I managed to capture a distant shot.

I think the Greylags capture the atmosphere of the day, they were pictured in front of the Ouse Hide, in the grasses on the edge of the water. Many ducks and Shovellers were a sleep on the waters edge.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Snow Songster

After a drive around the area I came across this Song Thrush in good light close to the Coastguard Station at Ravenscar.

Surprising how you can leave West Ayton nearly snow free and go perhaps less than 4 miles into Wykeham Forest and find a completly snowy scene of tree boughs and the landscape covered in snow.

No food out for the birds at High Moor we feed them but few birds other than a Coal Tit.

Brambling opposite the forestry cottages.

A large bird in the hedge top on drive back to main road presume to be Buzzard but took off and cannot confirm.

No raptors evident around Hackness we then drive through Harwood Dale and on to Ravenscar where I find a Song Thrush in good light. Nice to see the bird in a snowy scene which makes it different.

It moves up into a tree but through the lens I cannot see the twig obscuring its face and then it flys onto the overhead wire when a second bird appears.

At least I had something to show for the day!