Sunday, 28 June 2009

June photos part deux

Here's a handful of photos from the previous weekend (20/21 June). As you'd expect, most birds were being rather skulking, tending to their families under cover of the lush vegetation.

This vivid rainbow appeared suddenly over the wind farm (looking from Foston). I managed to get home just before it started absolutely tipping it down!

Lapwing on maize field

Pochard female with five ducklings

Yellowhammer on wires

Grey Wagtail juveniles

And one on it's own...

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

June again

A second visit for June - yay!

This one was really for a birthday party on Saturday night but any old excuse to spend a few hours birding :)

Very quiet everywhere, er, if you discount the mass of juvenile songbirds bouncing about in the undergrowth. A few highlights; Pochard, Curlew, two Little Owls, young Grey Wagtails, two Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, and Coal Tit.

Saturday 20th June

Morning: at Kelk Lake 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebe. Around Harpham and Lowthorpe were a Little Grebe, 3 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 4 Lapwing, 1 Little Owl, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, 2 Garden Warbler (together, probably a pair), Goldcrest, 4 different Long-tailed Tit families, Coal Tit (Lingholmes Plantation), male Bullfinch.

The only non-birdy sightings were a Painted Lady, 3 'whites', a blue Damselfly and a dead Mole!

Afternoon: not much time but zipped through Foston. At Brigham Quarry were 8 Mallard, a female Pochard with 5 young (a rare breeding bird in UK), 3 Tufted Duck, 8 Little Grebe, 2 Grey heron, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew flew SW, 20+ Sand Martin holes in use, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, and Reed Bunting. Also a Painted Lady and 3 Small Skippers here - butterfly year tick #10.

At Foston Mill there was a Spotted Flycatcher (year tick #101) seen briefly but disturbed by a dog walker after which I couldn't relocate it. Also here two juvenile Grey Wagtail showing well. Very pleased about both of these records.

On the way back to Kelk there were 120 Rook together at the north end of Foston, and just south of Great Kelk a Little Owl, 26 Blackbird, 2 Mistle Thrush, and a Tree Sparrow. All this lot were in the sprayed off fallow field by the turkey farm.

Sunday 21st June

Ouch. A slow start meant we were battling the hot sun from the off. Not ideal. Anyway, along Kelk Beck were a post-breeding flock of 150+ Lapwing, an exceptional count for June, and two Yellow Wagtails. Not a lot else apart from a second Water Vole this June.

At Cattleholmes it was also quiet but 4 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Coot, 6 lapwing, and a female Common Whitethroat.

Three further Common Whitethroats were along Lynesykes and a Lesser Whitethroat was near Gransmoor Lane - the seventh local site for this species this year!

Butterflys were 3 Painted Lady, 7 Small Skipper, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Large White, and 5 Meadow Brown - butterfly year tick #11.

No time for any birding in the afternoon :(

Two flyover adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were the only gulls seen during the weekend.

Hardly took any photos, but I'll shove a few up later...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

New Toy

I bought a new camera last week with the intention of taking record shots for this blog. I don't really know what I'm doing yet but am impressed with these early results at the weekend (full account in previous post).

Common Buzzard soaring. Something odd going on with the primaries in the right wing.

Blackbird on roadside verge in Little Kelk.

House Sparrow carrying food in a Little Kelk garden.

Mallard among the vegetation of the drain at Gembling.

Pleasing shot of Painted Lady underwing.

Same Painted Lady posing on the road.

Drake Pochard having an afternoon nap. A scarce bird at this time of year.

All eight cygnets on Kelk Beck. I took several shot but this was the only one where you could see all the babes.

Chuffed with this shot - a Water Vole on Kelk Beck having a good munch on the water weed. After a few minutes it slipped off into the bankside vegetation.

Crappy shot of Sand Martin. Not sure what it was doing but several of them were coming to land on this dusty track.

There's a Yellow Wagtail in there somewhere. Actually there were three together but the other two are just out of shot. Amazingly there was at least one more, maybe two in the vicinity. Despite trying none of the shots captured a good pose.

Last but not least a Hare sharing an afternoon snack with the local Woodpigeons.

Some family time

Useless weather forecasters, they say rain all weekend and sure enough, not a drop. I was all ready to make other plans but decided to risk it.

Not a lot to report birdwise, unsurprisingly for June, a distant Marsh Harrier near Kelk Beck was the best of the bunch - a year tick for me (#100) though one was seen near Great Kelk just after my last visit. Other highlights; the 8 Mute Swan cygnets are all still alive, a male Pochard at Brigham is seasonally unusual, as was 2 Curlew flying east (see also Apr/May), and c150 Sand Martin is the highest count in recent years.

Saturday 6th June


Kelk Lake - dead apart from 2 Little Grebe, 4 Coot, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap and a Lesser Whitethroat.

Around Harpham/Lowthorpe - 1 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Little Grebe, 4 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel - including a smart male seen catching a rodent, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Grey Wagtail - first June record for New Road, 3 Blackcap, 2 family parties of Long-tailed Tits and 1 Bullfinch.

Little Kelk - single flock of 120 Woodpigeon, 1 Whitethroat, and 1 Fox lazing in among the cows!

Late afternoon...

Around Gembling - 1 Buzzard soaring over the wood to the south, and a Whitethroat. It's pretty quiet without the floods to draw in the birds. Still, it's a lovely area so I'll try to persevere.

Brigham Quarry - 1 male Pochard, 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe, Cormorant flying SW, Grey Heron flying W, 12 Coot, 2 Oystercatcher, Lesser Whitethroat (singing by Cruckley Farm), 1 Whitethroat.

Gransmoor Lane / Barf Hill area - 44 Greylag Goose (several broods), 15 Canada Goose (2 broods of 11 young), 3 Gadwall, 1 Buzzard and 1 Meadow Pipit.

Sunday 7th June

Late morning...

Kelk Beck - the 8 cygnets first seen in May are all still alive and growing up fast. c150 Sand Martin were using the beck to feed along in the strong breeze, small groups each hawking up and down a 10-20 metre stretch. This represents a very large count for the area, and the highest in the last few years. Also seen - 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Coot, 2 Curlew flying east (very scarce in summer), at least 4 but probably 5 Yellow Wagtails (3 feeding together with 2 Pied Wagtail), 3 Whitethroat, a flock of 130 Rook, and 1 Tree Sparrow.

The finest sighting was a Water Vole in the beck - it allowed us to watch it for a while it had lunch before it swam away into the bankside vegetation. My third of the year, all in different locations.

Cattleholmes - 2 Canada Goose, 2 Gadwall, 20+ Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Coot, 4 Lapwing, 2 male Reed Bunting.

On the way home there were a family party of Tree Sparrows near Gransmoor Lane end, and a Marsh Harrier was seen distantly being mobbed by crows somewhere over Kelk Beck. It was waay too distant to determine age/sex.

Late afternoon...

The only time for birding was a quick hours dash on the bike around Harpham where there was a Buzzard over Lingholmes, 6 Lapwing on Harpham Moor, c70 Swift in several small groups feeding near trees, and 45 House Martins over Lingholmes.

Over the course of the weekend the only gulls were - 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flying N or NE, and 10 Herring Gulls heading in various directions. As with April/May not a single small gull.

So my yearlist is now 100 with a further two recorded by others in the area.

Butterflys were clearly not liking the windy/cloudy weather with only a few 'whites' on the wing, probably Green-veined. However, the recent Painted Lady national invasion was still in effect with about 50-60 seen during the weekend. Butterfly list goes up 1 to 9.