Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Last Week's Best Photos

Last week was a bit crazy with lots of things happening, so here's the best belated pictures from last week.
Bearded Tits
 From Tuesday:
Grey Wagtail
 Woodpigeon Water Scultpure
 From Wednesday:
Bearded Tits

 From Thursday:
Jack Snipe
 Record Shot of Firecrest
From Friday: 
 Lesser Redpoll
 Kingfisher in the Mist

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Banned by the BBC

When we arrived at the Blue Bell car park yesterday morning we found that part of the car park was out of bounds, because a drone was about to be launched from a grassy bank just east of the toilet block.  Apparently, I missed the maiden flight, but Lynn had managed to take a few pictures of the device both before it took flight, and when it was aloft.
All photos (c) 2015 Lynn Hall
Drone at Rest
 Close-up of Drone
 Drone above Sandy Beaches Caravan Park
Not long after I arrived another launch was about to be made.  The BBC man asked that none of us take any photos of the drone attempting to take off.  He also gave us a warning that as the drone was about to launch we had to be aware of where it was in case it malfunctioned and it behaved erratically and we had to take evasive action.   He was insistent it wouldn't malfunction, but he was obliged to give out the warning.  True to his word the drone did become airborne without incident and headed off along the coast in a southerly direction.

Apparently, the filming at Spurn was for a BBC 2 programme due to be aired early in the New Year which has the provisional title of "Sea Cities."  We await it's broadcast with interest.

A Wild Swan Chase

On Wednesday we were at Spurn. We tried Kilnsea Wetlands first looking for the Bewick's Swan, but without success. There were 5 Mute Swans some Lapwings, but few other birds. The ploughed field to our right was full of chasing Meadow Pipits, plus a sprinkling of Pied Wagtails and a few Skylarks. There were also quite a few Linnets about. 
Bewick's Swan - on Tuesday at Kilnsea Wetlands
 Aggressive Mute Swan
 Seeing off the Interloper
 Size Comparison: Mute v. Bewick's
 Bewick's Unmolested
 Golden Plover
 Immature Kestrel
We shared cars to Sammy's Point. Here we had a pair of Mediterranean Gulls flying inland and a single Siskin looking lost. The waders were too far out, and the light was very tricky. There were plenty of Redshank and a single Knot nearby, plus flocks of Golden Plovers moving continuously before settling in another recently-ploughed field. We had close views of several Kestrels - most of these seemed to be immature birds.
 Ruddy Darter
 Migrant Hawker
Speckled Wood
 Hawthorn Berries
 Female Common Blue
In the afternoon we changed tack, and just walked the triangle. The Bewick's Swan had settled on the Borrow Pits, but later flew off to Canal Scrape with a Mute Swan. This was a mistake because the resident pair of Mute Swans kept chasing the interloper, although when we were watching they didn't turn their full attention to the Bewick's. This was definitely the best bird we saw. There were a few butterflies and dragonflies at the southern end of Beacon Lane.

 Singing Starling in winter plumage
Radar - monitoring Pink-footed Geese

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

It's Autumn, there must be some Bearded Tits

Yesterday saw the first Autumn class.  Less than half of the participants had returned from holiday, so it was a very depleted group which assembled in the inadequate car park.  Even before everyone had put on their coats Bearded Tits could be heard 'pinging' and swinging round we could even see them on the top of reeds above the gate.  We have never seen 15 from the car park before.  It looks as though it's been a good year. 
All photos (c) 2015 Chris Cox 
Male Bearded Tit
 Female Bearded Tit
 2 Bearded Tits
We walked to the first hide, and one of the new recruits coming all the way from Whitby spotted 3 Roe Deer moving along a hedge line.   There was plenty of "pinging" accompanying us on our way, although it began to reduce as we neared the hide.  A Kingfisher heard us coming and flew west along the water filled ditch.  
Black-tailed Godwits
Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing & Ruff
From the hide itself there were a few Ruff, a large group of Black-tailed Godwits, some Lapwing looking wonderful in the bright sunlight and a handful of Dunlin.   A flock of Avocets flew in, and later we saw a larger group of Golden Plovers, which had been put up by a Peregrine.  Meanwhile Marsh Harriers slowly patrolled the area, but seemed to have less effect on the wading birds.    
 Roe Deer
The walk to the other hide on stilts was less eventful than usual.  We heard a Green Woodpecker on the hillside, and we discovered an elder bush laden with berries, which was full of birds.  Among them was a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting among others we couldn't see properly.  As we neared the bush a Cetti's Warbler sang continuously, but by the time we got there it had gone quiet, and we never heard it again.  Throughout our walk some strange squeals by Water Wails punctuated our journey.  
Small Tortoiseshell
 Red Admiral
It was a wonderful start to the term, and I'm sure the Whitby couple saw plenty to make their journey very worthwhile.  It may be a long time before they see a Bearded Tit again, but here they were almost ubiquitous!