Thursday, 26 November 2015

Swallowing a Harvestman

On Wednesday and Thursday we made a trip into the north wolds to the same place as Saturday's location. There were several kites in the air when we arrived, despite the slightly calm conditions. We went down the hill into the village, were we saw a Marsh Tit, a Treecreeper, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and a large unusual, exciting bird on a garden fence, which turned out to be a peacock!

All Red Kite photos (c) 2015 Tony Robinson
We went down a short village street, and along the way we saw House Sparrows, a Fieldfare, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and at the termination a Grey Wagtail and a Nuthatch with a Marsh Tit there on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile the walk down the hill resulted in a Marsh Tit on the way down, and on the way ups Willow Tit. That puts to bed the urban myth that you never find these 2 birds in the same location. 
Grey Wagtail Harvesting a Harvestman
 Legs around the bill
 Having trouble?
 Mission Accomplished
 Gordon's Bird
 Marsh Tit - Library Picture
 Willow Tit - Library picture

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Bird of Paradise

On Saturday a Red Kite roost watch took place under the auspices of the Robert Fuller gallery. The journey over the wolds was pretty hazardous as we encountered a severe blizzard, and the snow began to settle on the road surface. However, we safely reached the meeting place in plenty of time, and waited for all the other participants to arrive. Shortly after 1pm the person living closest arrived, and we shared cars a short distance to our ultimate destination.  

All Saturday photos (c) 2015 Ben Coneyworth
Red Kite
 3 Red Kites in a tree
It was very cold in a strong northerly wind on the exposed high ground, and after a quick look round we walked down the hill towards a village hidden in the valley. This was perfect, as the wind was cut off, and it was quite sheltered in the wintry sunshine. Five Red Kites were perched in one tree, with another 4 close by. There were also several in the sky at various periods.  
Red Kites
Also present were a smaller amount of Buzzards, and a few Fieldfare. However, the highlight for at least one participant was his first ever woodpecker - a Great Spotted.  
Female Great Spotted Woodpecker
 Record shot of a Fieldfare
Thursday's melanistic female Pheasant
 View on Thursday at Piper Marsh
 Unusual Fungi
Great Tit Striking Attitudes
 Reedbed at Main Lake

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Vole on a Phone

On Wednesday we had our closest encounter with a female Kingfisher this year. Luckily, it posed for both sessions, allowing everyone really good views. The morning groups had good views of a Merlin through Eric & John's telescopes. There were plenty of Marsh Harriers, and after a sharp shower 11 were seen in the sky at the same time. In the morning we had a Ruff and a Dunlin at Ousefleet, but in the afternoon we just had Gadwall, Shoveler, & Teal. Both groups had a few Snipe at Marshland and wisps flying around at various other Viewpoints. 2 Herons had an argument at Townend, and we had brief views of a male Stonechat and a few Reed Buntings. 
Female Kingfisher - note lipstick on lower mandible
Among the reeds
Tail fanned - after a poop
All remaining Kingfisher pics (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
In flight
Heading away

However, probably the most surprising sighting was a very confiding vole, which ate some grass right next to the path between Townend and Singleton. Its eyes were very hard to see, and I was able to approach it very closely with my mobile phone to take photographs. It didn't react to noise, or our scent, and we wondered if it had all its faculties intact! Eventually, it did skitter along the path for a short distance towards Townend, before diving into a little ditch, and disappearing from sight.
Vole hidden in the grass - taken on a mobile
It did have eyes after all
Vole - in the grass
Heron (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
Heron - different camera
Pink-footed Geese
Kestrel (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
Kestrel - different camera
Mute Swans (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
Taken at the same moment on a different camera
Mute Swan (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
Yesterday we ventured on to the Brambling-free wolds. We did see Red Kites, a Green and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, plus Redwing, Fieldfare, a Meadow Pipit, and a Buzzard.
Yawning Red Kite (c) Maggie Bruce
 Song Thrush - in very bad light! (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce