Sunday, 25 January 2009

Lucky Shrike (for me that is)!

Having gone up late morning to feed the birds at High Moor in Wykeham Forest we made our way to the clearing in Wykeham Forest where the Great Grey Shrike has been seen for the last few weeks.

Having sat in the car and had a coffee for 20 minutes we made our way back past High Moor and went through the Forest turning up by the nursery so imagine our surprise when a Great Grey Shrikes fly's across the track ahead of us and lands on top of a tree trunk in the clearing.

Great views and I managed distant shots before it moved to a tree top further back. Still time to put the tripod up, put scope atop make a cup of tea and get great sights of the bird. Forget the tea only joking.

Shortly after riding around lanes on the perimeter of the forest we had great views of a Sparrow Hawk. Is it me or are they getting more prevalent.

Riding around the Carrs we saw 6 Barn Owls today, all different I believe due to the distances between them. The pictured owl is a typical type of context around here on top of a bank over a ditch.

Also seen today amongst other things was a group of 16 Tree Sparrows and a similar possibly slightly larger group of Yellow Hammers.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Scarborough Mere

It was a very nice day here today, bright and sunny but cold in the wind, well it is only January.
We only managed a couple of hours walk before resuming laying a floor. First we walked around the Mere in Scarborough. The light was very difficult with the sun low over the hills, in the shadows it was quite dark.
Large numbers of Coot and good numbers of Mallard, Tufted Duck, Greylag and Canada Geese.
We saw two male and a female Goosander in the sun the far side of the water.
There was also a pair of Bullfinches.
With the lack of picture opportunities I took a couple of shots of these domesticated Chinese Geese, the pair are ever present but usually for me in the car park area rather than on the water.
For those that do not know the Mere I post a shot to give the atmosphere. Perhaps I should try and do justice to the place one day.
We than went to Burton Riggs YWR to see the Egyptian Goose present the last few days (with it's head under it's wing).

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Cold Top Hill

We visited Top Hill Low NR last Sunaday and and had a good day despite the bitter cold.
Most of the lagoons and marsh areas were frozen and there was little to see but on the 'D' and 'O' resevoirs there was a lot of birds including a good number of Goldeneye.
As an early 2009 outing there was plenty to add to our year list.
One highlight was a female Bullfinch just off the car park which showed for reasonable pictures. However, I remain seeking classic Bullfinch picture. The pictures were in dull light so from top to bottom range from ISO 800 to 1250 to 1600. Hence the last two have been processed through Neat Images software to filter out some noise.

Saturday, 3 January 2009


Went looking for the Barn Owls again this afternoon for the third day running (see last two postings). Maybe the shooting group of 40 or so up the road kept them in.

We did see a flock of I would say over 100 Redwing in the division hedge between some fields, a fair way off so only a distant record shot possible. There did not seem to be any Fieldfare with them at all, earlier we saw a good number of Fieldfare on the edge of Dalby Forest.

Also strangely came across the body of this poor Herring Gull on a track at the back of Ayton, I think it maybe the same bird I saw stood alone in a field two days before. Quite an unusual sight to see the body like this, it was as if it was probing in the grass.

Friday, 2 January 2009


Back to see the Barn Owls locally today and not disappointed with one bird quartering the fields and then going down into the ditch again (see previous post).
A second bird was further up the lane, yep in the ditch and kept it's distance ahead of me. I should have managed some decent shots but didn't.
Earlier we went to Bridlington South Beach and I quite like the Rook shots, sat on the boat yard fence and quite approachable.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Years Day Birding

I have started a year list for the first time of birds we see this year. I have no idea if we will reach 60 birds or 100 or more. It will be a benchmark for future years but as we do not pursue rarities across the country will we soon get stuck?

A good day's touring the lanes in the car, no Great Grey Shrike in Wykeham Forest but after a few every day species we had Bullfinch, and then Barn Owl quickly followed by Kestrel and Common Buzzard. Oh, and a Stoat then ran across the road and disappeared in a ditch, the second Stoat of the day.

The highlight was the Barn Owl, we had terrific views from the car of a bird in a tree, it then flew off down the lane and wee later followed. I pulled the car up at the side of a ditch and entirely by luck the same Owl was at the side of the car looking closely at us 10' away. No chance for photographs but what a view!