Sunday, 26 December 2010

Female House Sparrow

Pictured from the short session a week ago when the snow made us return home. Car used as hide, our bird feeders the nearby attraction.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

To all followers of this blog and visitors regular or otherwise Merry Christmas from me and Pat. Have a great break.

Every weekend we have been out of late it has statrted snowing, last weekend was no different when we beat a retreat for tyhe supermarket and then home. The Blackbird header was taken in the falling snow from my car outside the house.

Monday, 6 December 2010

It's hard being a small wader!

I went up to Filey Country Park yesterday as 11 Woodcock had been spotted a few days before.

I did see a couple of Woodcock flying and plenty of gulls.

Waders were feeding on the grass in the centre of the park, although there was a good couple of inches covering of snow. The pictures depict the probing where the grass is visible.

Cold, hard work indeed. I love this small wader although common and in its winter plumage, they look so small alongside the Oystercatchers.

Thinking about it.

 Not too sure.

Why not!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Spangled Lady, pretty baby!

Further up Bransdale on Sunday we saw plenty of Red Grouse, most seemed to be males and they were usually elusive in the pretty poor light, it was raining most of the time.

I thought I saw a Grouse sitting in the heather, pulled up sharply, but could not find it!. Finally, after searching it was there. Pat could not see it which is unusual its normally the other way around (there's an admission).

I took a good few shots, it was at some distance, it sat tight, it was raining, the male was pulling at the heather some way behind, what eye wattles, didn't sit up for any pictures, too far off. The lady did move in the end.

What weather must they tolerate in the winter, too say nothing of _ _ _ _!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Road side snack bar!

We took a trip up Bransdale today went through Kirbymoorside up to the Dale. There have been Waxwings in the town these last few weeks and a few miles up the road before we got into the dale two birds were spotted by Pat at the top of conifers in a farm garden. By the roadside was a small ornamental berry tree that seems to be favoured by these birds and sure enough after a few minutes they flew down into the berry tree.

This happened twice whilst we waited in the car at the other side of the road. The light was poor, so the pictures are noisy, it was raining but a great treat again.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Finally _ _ _ Waxwings

Sorry for the lack of recent posts, I have been out and about the last few week-ends but keep missing out on the birds I have targetted. It also seems we have spurned some cracking light traveling in the car and by the time we arrive its clouded over, or the quick shopping trip to be followed by birding that becomes a long shopping trip!

Anyway following the influx of Waxwings into the uk and particularly in a number of spots in N Yorks nearby like Kirbymoorside 20 miles away and even in East/West Ayton where I live (whilst I am stuck at work) I read of 17 birds at Malton about 16 miles away yesterday morning and within 90 minutes we were there and soon located 6 birds on the edge of a car park and feeding on berries to the back of the George Hotel.

They were a little high most of the time and fed briefly a couple of times on the berries before flying off after I had spent 30-40 minutes with them. So off to the supermarket and by the time I am out again its clouded over!

Brilliant birds, great light, my best shots to date of this species, I hope to catch up again with Waxwings  before too long.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Suffolk Bugs (Part 1)

As I mentioned in an earlier post our recent holiday to Suffolk produced more bugs than birds so I need to make use of the pictures I obtained.

Firstly on a walk at Dunwich Heath we spotted the big impressive beetle shown below. My field guide (Complete British Wildlife by Paul Sterry - Published by Collins) says this is a Great Diving Beetle. The margins of the electra and thorax are marked orange-brown. The male has a smooth shiny electra where the females is grooved both the adults and larvae are fearsome predators.

Secondly, the next two bugs were at Snape Warren RSPB which you access by walking down the north side of the River Alde estuary from Snape Maltings, through the reed beds and along the bank of the estuary where the wildlife possibilities are great. The header shot shows the path away from the famous Snape Maltings and the Concert Hall.

The first up I think is a Forest Bug which has an almost rectangular pronotum and broad square shoulders which come to a point. The pale spot at the tip of the scutellum is often orange as in this case. They feed on the sap of a wide range of trees and sometimes damage fruit. They also feed on small caterpillars and other insects.

Then one of the various crickets/grasshoppers on the warren not sure what this is, answers on a postcard to Mike unsprung! Off to get a cricket /grasshopper guide. I would appreciate advice!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Answers on a postcard to _____?

A walk around Snape Warren RSPB produced this hoard an heather plant, we thought it was some form of eggs, do any of the naturalists out there know. I feel like autumn watch unsprung!

Nice area this where we did see a Dartford Warbler moving away from the invaders.

I would appreciate any comments because I am drawing a blank at the moment.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Goldcrest at Flamborough

Not quite true what they said on tonight's weather forecast that the east coast of Whitby, Scarborough, Filey was covered in cloud and sea fret all day we had a few glorious hours in the morning at Flamborough Lighthouse.

We went hoping perhaps for Ring Ouzel and maybe Barred Warbler seen today in the area, apparently the later at North Landing with the majority of Ring Ouzels although one had been seen at the Lighthouse site.

The light was difficult but glorious for two hours, a break for lunch left us in cloud but a nice morning. Lots of thrush family, Song, Blackbirds and the beautiful Redwing. a couple of Brambling, Linnets, Tree Sparrows. A Wren in the hedgerow and then a pair of Goldcrests, real beauties, one of my favourites. I missed the magic shot of one hovering like a hummingbird of the saplings but managed these shots which made my day.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The true Magpies!!!

I read today that the head of England's 2018 World Cup bid stated in a speach yesterday that Juventus' famous black and white striped shirts were inspired by the Magpies the nickname of Newcastle United unfortunately he got it wrong as they were inspired by the Magpies of Notts County. Yes, we have two football teams in England with the Magpie as their nick name. Notts are the oldest football league club in the land.

All this reminded me of my only other decent bird pictures from last week in Suffolk of the Magpie pictured at Minsmere where I guess they are use to plenty of people. The true Magpie.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Grey day, Grey Heron

Our first days holiday was a wet Sunday, dashing between hides when the rain abated.

My only decent shot was this Grey Heron which landed in a nearby ditch on Minsmeres scrapes and next appeared walking fairly closely pat the hide. It was a very grey day and this was the bright spot!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

A week in Suffolk

We have just got back from a week down in Suffolk, if you are a UK resident I am sure you will realise that the weather has been mixed although we probably did better than in some parts of the UK and Thursday and a few other half days were glorious.

This was the second time that we have stayed on the Alde estuary which is a glorious spot especially for short walks before breakfast on the river side. There was many Curlews, Black Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Common Gulls with a small number of Black Tailed Godwits.

Many, many Mallard Ducks a few Widgeon and a good number of Shell ducks.

One morning there was a seal in the middle of the mud flats in the river, no otter this year though as we had two years ago.

Curlew spooked by my approach!

For a week my bird picture highlights were few and posts will follow, but if anything it was a 'Bugs Life' with pictures of dragonflies, butterflies and crickets.

PS. Thge header shot is of the Aulde estuary, this is only 100 yards from the accommodation, a beautiful location.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Radipole RSPB and Portland Bill

A week last Thursday was fine and dry although breezy. We visited Radipole in the morning, Martins and Swallows were flying low over the shrubs and trees, Swans and Coots on the pools and not much else. A Marsh Harrier flew across the water, by the time we got to North Hide a gentleman was able to tell us that the bird was sat on a fence post to the rear.

I was photographing Common Terns flying, a little distant and then there was two Marsh Harriers flying over the water in the distance. These are my images from the visit. 

We then went to Portland Bill which was recently bright but very windy. The Great Black Backed Gull was near the cafe, I bet it usually is, made a change from the usual scrounging Herring Gulls. The 1st winter? Common Gull was on the rocks nearby, if my gull id is wrong on the later please put me right!