Monday, 31 May 2010

For the record

Turtle Dove - record shot today on the edge of Dalby, The Great
Yorkshire Forest, several birds 'Prrring'.

Record shot of elusive Spotted Flycatcher photographed just outside Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales last Sunday.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Willow Warbler

We had a second visit to Messingham Sand Quarry in just over a fortnight due to a family visit to Scunthorpe (more of that later).

The cold weather continues and when we first arrived the skies were black and we stayed in the car whilst we had a heavy shower which turned to sizable hail. We then set off and got only two hundred yards when it started again and we retreated to the car and decided to have lunch early. Whilst there it cleared and a Willow Warbler flew highish into the adjacent tree allowing me to get some shots, so this was an advantage over the last visit when we heard Willow Warblers everywhere but could not see them.

More of this visit later, we were down to Scunthorpe again so soon as Pat's son and partner Pauline have just had a little girl our first grandchild, she's a little beauty!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Common Swift (High Flyers!)

I had the good fortune to go to Borrowdale in the Lake District last week on a training course and in the beautiful setting of that dale got great views of a Cuckoo, on a wall being attacked by smaller birds and flying close by. It was calling all morning long. It's great to record this as I know these birds are not as plentiful as they once were.

Closer to home we had Swifts over the village where I live two days earlier than last year, on 4 May when two birds were flying high. There are good numbers now but I can not get decent close shot so I got this one flying to the moon! I might try this again for a better composition.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Messingham Sand Quarry

During our brief visit on Saturday I was privliged to see these fledged Long Tail Tits in a close to a waymark path. The shots are a bit noisy due to the high ISO under the trees but they are beautiful little characters. I love the red eye ring.

Also record shot of a bat flying at noon feeding on insects, I am not sure what species, do you know? I have never seen them flying in the day although a chap says it is not uncommon when they are hungry after a cold spell. Not a great shot, I had a few goes and it got straight over head many times. It's a tatty character with the hole in its wing.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Brimstone Butterfly

For the first time I managed pictures of a Brimstone Butterfly yesterday.

We were visiting at Scunthorpe and went to Messingham Sand Quarry (LWT) for the first time.

A super little reserve, we saw Brimstones early on our walk and one dropped near brambles for me to get some shots.

Brimstones were mating and during our walk we also saw Speckled Wood and Orange Tip. Pictures taken hand held.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Near on 'O' res

Where did that weekend go! It was so cold, we didn't get too far so a couple of shots from two weeks ago at Top Hill. I was intent on trying to shoot hirundines, ha impossible. They were flying low over 'O' res at Top Hill but I nearly missed the GC Grebe in very close to the viewing platform but in difficult light and shooting into the sun.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Wheatear and the Lapwing Chicks

Yesterday, we set of for the coastline to see if we might find a Ring Ouzel but it was so cold that I suggested going up to Danby Beacon to see what moorland birds we might find.

We got there (Danby Beacon) and it was dark and raining for a short while but soon brightened. I ventured out the car for two minutes but it was bitter. We set of slowly downhill in the car and sent up two waders, not sure what. I pulled into a pull in and we looked out over the moor, there was a few Red Grouse around (of course) then Pat spotted a distant female Wheatear, then a pair and after an exasperating 10 minutes (with me) I spotted them!

We drove further down hill and the road actually had a small pull in for one car at the bottom of a slope where we had excellent views of a pair of Wheatear. The female actually flew down the slope perched 20' in front of the car and then landed below the car bonnet where we could not see it. It then appeared just to the rear of the car giving excellent views.

When it moved further away I got in the back of the car and whilst I got these pictures it was never quite near enough again apart from when it flew the other side of the car and I was stuck in the back. Whilst I love our Nissan X Trail, why do the back windows only go half way down! It's dam difficult to rest a 500mm lens on.

Driving round the bottom of this hill there was good numbers of Wheatear. We saw a stonking male with a lovely peachy coloured chest. I parked up and walked back along the road but it had gone, the Lapwings were vocal but I thought the young were in the field over the stone wall.

As I walked back I was amazed to see three chicks running on the grass verge, one was in the road as two scooter boys (40 somethings) went past, the grey in the shots are road chippings. Why can't wildlife stay in the fields, I think they like the toxins on the verge!

Also saw a Stoat in this area and rabbits of course!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Record of Male Marsh Harrier at Top Hill Low

We visited Top Hill Low yesterday and were delighted to see all the hirundines flying low over the reservoirs. I tried in vain to take pictures of the Swifts and Martins but failed miserably, perhaps I might post a silhouette of a Swift or three as they are not yet over our cottage in Ayton.

They normally appear around 19th or 20th of the month, last year I think it was about 9th . If they are 30miles away this bodes well for an early arrival. Someone said some were seen over Scarborough last week. As soon as they arrive summer begins, its the sound of their chattering and that iconic anchor shape.

I took loads of pictures in difficult light, into the sun etc. you get them on the computer and what a disappointment, but the good ones more than make up for the flops.

Record shots of male Marsh Harrier hunting along the back of South East Marsh Lagoon, we were alone in the hide watching this bird on a cold day for the time of year. I hope others spotted this bird.