Saturday, 27 February 2010

Oh Canada!

Our visitors arrived today and after they went out for the afternoon we had a little tour around.

After following a Kestrel for a short while we travelled from Snainton on the Troutsdale Road, towards the bridge over the Derwent, two birders were looking towards Wykeham Forest through scopes, on enquiring the two chaps from Doncaster confided that they had a Goshawk sat at the top of a tree, with its back to us but it did look back over its shoulder towards us before departing. This is the first time we have seen a Goshawk not in flight. What was very distinctive was the white at the top of the birds thighs. Whoever you are thank you for this sighting.

We traveled up to Hackness Dale Lake where there was a lot of Canada Geese, also Greylags, loads of Lapwings also Mallards ans Teal and Starlings.

After visiting Scarborough and Throxenby Meres we saw a Sparrow Hawk with good close views on the way home on route to Seamer.

Record shot of distant Canada Geese at Harwood Dale Lake

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Snow joke!

Top Dove - 'when is it my turn'

Smaller intruders - 'its my turn'

'Is it my turn'

'Aha I have possession'

Beaten by the weather this last weekend as on Saturday I had a trip to see family (glorious sunny weather), but as forcast Sunday (I knew it would be snowy) it was very snowy. This was snowy with vengence (for daring to have a few days without). So no decent birding our feeders were busy though. We were soon beaten and back at home.

At one point on Sunday afternoon we had at one time 9 blackbirds. We had big birds feeding on them, not the Sesame Street sort, but collared doves and wood pigeon. Also sparrows, thrush, blue tits, coal tits, chaffinch, robin.

My shots are to illustrate merely my lack of post this last weekend! If that makes sense.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Barnie Bee, Barnie Bo

This one at 1/8000 sec!!!
On leave this week with my list of DIY jobs I had a break yesterday and went In search of some Tundra Bean Geese that had been seen locally but I had no joy despite the fact they were seen yesterday.
After a trip round Filey Country Park I went local and sat to see if a barn owl was flying. Sure enough after about 15 minutes I saw the white flight of a Barn Owl on a distant hedgerow going away from me. After about another 20 minutes the owl was flying back along the hedgerow and turned at 90 degrees to fly straight towards me. I always end up disappointed with the results, the sunlight was bright and a bit harsh (how can I moan about the sun) and when the bird got more or less parallel to me I was shooting straight into the sun. As in the heat of the moment I had not reduced the ISO the speed of the shot was 1/8000 and of course disappointingly dark. Not pleased with these results. I also foolishly reduced the focal length of my lens to ensure I had all the bird in frame, but did this toom uch down to 226mm, oh well another day!

Chances of getting it all right, lighting, bird flying close by, right side of me in relation to the sun! Well as the advert says that would be priceless!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Saturday Delight

Yesterday began very dull and rainy but brightened briefly for short spells, trying to follow the sun I drove west and went to the bird feeders in Dalby Forest. There was no food out but after putting a load of seed out and I confess some left over bread we soon had the usual flock of finches and tits including a lovely Marsh Tit there was also Magpies and four or five Carrion Crows. The light was very variable but briefly it was great enabling these shots of Crows.

We then drove back east along lanes but did not see too much a Common Buzzard was circling over Wykeham Ings. I then got advice from Dave Mansell (East Ayton Birding) to say there were four Waxwings in Filey. The birds were soon located and were very confiding, down to about 10', great to see these beuatiful exotic birds again. The light by this time 3:30pm+ was poor so my pictures do not do this species justice. If you want to see some cracking shots of these birds please follow the link to Dave's excellent website from my blog.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Black Headed Gulls

We enjoyed a day off work yesterday, early morning it was very dark and gloomy but as we went out it brightened up and suddenly the light was fantastic.

You know how you make choices in life, well having talked about and spurned reserves in South Yorkshire we satyed more local, drove to Thornton-le-Dale and on towards Newton Dale Forest.

There was a little snow and sleet on the grass verges as we got to Lockton, thought nothing of it, got up in the forest beyond Levisham Station and we are on thick snow and ice, slush, deep snow, are we mad.

We tried to partly avoid the snow, traveled onto Hutton-le Hole and what do I do next drive over the moors to Rosedale, down Rosedale Chimney (14%) and up to Egton at virtually 20 miles an hour foot hovering and touching the brakes a great portion of the way! It was really bad with cars up banks where they had careered off the road!

Birds no, we saw just two Red Grouse.

So an excuse to post these shots of BH Gulls which I like from a couple of weeks ago. I particularly like the first shot the threesome with one bird hovering above the other two.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Female Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

We visited Top Hill Low today and did something I cannot remember doing before. Retreated for the weather not that it was too wet or cold or. Just miserable no decent light , drizzling (got harder and darker skies).

So we looked in at the visitors centre and the highlight was Bramblings, males in the tree line but a female came below the feeders. Plenty of rabbits and Moor Hens in this area, the resident Woodcock was not showing though.

We visited North and South lagoons and looked over O reservoir where there was a male Goldeneye. From South Lagoon main hide I could see a female Goldeneye, moving to the smaller hide I managed these distant shots of this constant diver (Ronaldo eat your heart - and yes I am a great fan).

We went for lunch intent on visiting more of the reserve and then beat the retreat! It wasn't nice.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

What a difference a week makes!

Today was very dark and dismal with drizzle at times and mist. A complete contrast to last week when I was at Holbeck Hill.

We went to Filey Country Park where we saw Crows, Black Headed and Herring Gulls, Oyster Catchers, Turnstone, Knot and Dunlin on the grassland of the Park. We also saw a Kestrel and later it was eating a mouse or vole on top of a wooden waste bin. From the Brigg there was a lot of gulls on the water, Cormorants and distant divers I could not id with just my bins.

The highlight was a number of Fulmars wheeling out from the cliff parallel to the ledges they were on, low down below me. Great to see these birds again even in the gloom! I hope the pictures convey the atmosphere.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Flying Meds

The glorious light on last Saturday afternoon enabled me to get some decent flight shots of a Mediterranean Gull at Holbeck Hill, Scarborough.
I hope to get back over the coming weeks to record changes in plumage.

Monday, 1 February 2010

High & Hansome

On the same track as the Bullfinch of yesterdays post there was many small birds at the top of the trees.
What a difference the spectacular light makes as the pictured Coal Tits were quite high but the camera has picked up the details well. They are zoomed in considerably and cropped but they say its good to share!

Beside the Coal Tits there was Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Siskin, Marsh Tit. Also Chaffinch, Wren and Blackbirds along here.