Sunday, 31 January 2010


One of my aims early this winter was to photograph Bullfinch, I have had a few attempts and earlier posted an effort but they were always too distant.
Today we were supposedly off to Top Hill Low but a domestic plumbing problem meant that we set off from home two hours later than we wanted. We drove to the western entrance to Dalby Forest (the Great Yorkshire Forest) but yesterday' s snow meant the warden saying you could only drive to the visitors centre and we wanted to go beyond that so we came back out and drove to Snainton and up to Troutsdale where there is a parking area and forest path.

A short walk found this male Bullfinch who we tracked along the hedge line, usually hidden but close on occasions. The pictures seem blemished by moving foliage but probably my best of the species to date so don't always be despondent when things conspire against you, you never no what result you might get.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Med Today (Snow _ _ _ but bright!)

We had a good 2'' maybe 3'' of snow last night, this morning. The morning began with heavy snow but it gave way to lovely sunny weather and a thaw.

After a walk around Scarborough Mere where the light was low and bright and difficult we ended up at Holbeck Hill, yes near where the famous hotel went into the sea in the early 90's , to see the Mediterranean Gulls.

It was around half two, high tide was just after four, I put some bread on a nearby bench (would they have seen it in the snow) anyway ten minutes later after I put the rest of the bread in the snow the Black Headed Gulls arrived with the regular wintering Meds.

I love these beautiful acrobatic gulls, they are very aggressive when it comes to being the victor for bread. I hope you like the shots in the snowy conditions.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Castle Howard Lake


Goosander, very much record shot!

The weather forecast for Sunday here was dry but overcast, well it was very overcast. So much so that the hoped for days birding changed to a visit to York to stock up on spices to make curries (we can only get some at a Chinese store in York) but on the return trip it brightened (only a smidgeon mind) so that we stopped off at Castle Howard Lake.

The wildfowl on the lake were the best we have ever seen at this location. The water was still frozen at both the eastern and western ends. Cormorants, Swans and many ducks were standing on the edge of the ice.

Ducks included Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Pochard. Also Great Crested Grebe.

There was at least three Goosander (two males and a female) and numerous Goldeneye.

Now the light was lousy so this post is to highlight the lows of bird photography, still my best Goldeneye shots to date (just). I wanted to share as the light this last month has been awful, it can only get better soon?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Black Throated Thrush

We have had a real rarity up the road at Newholme just west of Whitby since I believe the 14 January. I did not notice about the bird until reading Bird Guides early last Sunday, a reasonably bright day from the wall to wall gloom we have been having but I chose instead to drive around Bransdale and elsewhere on the North York Moors and finished off close to home in Wykeham Forest. We did not really see too many birds and I got no pictures although we did see a Green Woodpecker outside Lastingham, our first in N Yorks!

So this weekend a dry day forecast we went up on lunch time Saturday to see this real rarity, and yes it was a real dark day. It's become the norm.

Joining a few birders on the opposite side of the road from the cottages where the bird is being seen it was only 15 or so minutes before we were in business. A lovely bird it sat in a tree in the middle of this smallish front garden for a while. It then went down on the floor but behind a hedge so from where I was stood I could get no ground shots. It then went up on a hedge and sat at the back of the garden, a bit too distant and behind twigs and berries. I waited a good while for it to come down on the garden at the front but I did not get that opportunity. Still a great bird to see and I hope you like the pictures taken in the glomin at high ISO, not really tweaked other than put through Neat Images to remove some noise.

This is a female bird. There are apparently two distinct races this being Turdus Atrogularis. The male bird is grey-brown above and white below with a black breast. The females and juveniles are similar but more mottled.

One of my books says there has been 40 records in the uk with all but two being since 1957 but it is a few years out of date so things will have moved on a little. Still pretty rare.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Snowy Confidant

Not much to be had!

Pictures of a very confiding Meadow Pipit yesterday at Filey Country Park. Seems the lack of food was making the little fellow and his mate desperate and this bird was walking on the ice only 20' away.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Years Day Scene

The snow (and compacted ice) had nearly gone last Thursday but on New Years Day it snowed in the morning and we had the best part of 2" in a very short space of time.

This looks like a forest scene but the giveaway is the Leylandi as these Rooks came down onto the tops of the conifers at the back of our out houses and more particularly bird feeders.

Not great photos but they describe the scene.