Friday, 11 April 2014

March update

While the first Swallows and Willow Warblers are probably arriving at Kelk as I type it was a slower but still encouraging weekend at the end of March. The weather was pretty grey with very poor visibility but mild with it. Here's a quick round up:

Mute Swan - 4
Whooper Swan - 3 flew NE
Greylag - 18
Canada Goose - 3
Shelduck - 2
Gadwall - 14
Teal - 37
Mallard - 50+
Shoveler - 1 drake at Cattleholmes
Tufted Duck - 6
Red-legged Partridge - 2
Grey Partridge - 4
Little Grebe - 7
Cormorant - 4
Little Egret - 1 at Millingdale
Grey Heron - 3 (plus 13 distantly at heronry)
Common Buzzard - 7
Kestrel - 4
Oystercatcher - 3
Lapwing - 70+
Snipe - 1 at Kelk Beck
Woodcock - 1 at Lingholmes
Common Redshank - 1 at Gransmoor Drain
Green Sandpiper - 1 at Gransmoor Drain
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1 adult at Millingdale (with Herring Gulls)
Herring Gull - 110+ at Millingdale (on freshly cultivated/sown field)
Little Owl - 1 at Kelk
Tawny Owl - 3 different bird heard calling
Kingfisher - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 5
Meadow Pipit - 6
Grey Wagtail - 2 at Lowthorpe
Chiffchaff - 13 singing males noted
Goldcrest - 3
Treecreeper - 4 together at Lowthorpe!!!
Corn Bunting - 1 singing near Kelk Beck

Photos from the visit.

First up, one of the many Chiffchaffs, showing off the dark grey skies (excuses excuses). Hearing the first one doesn't quite have the same 'spring is here' feeling as the first Swallow but they typically start singing on the first nice days when the cold of winter is still all too fresh in the mind. They're loud and distinctive song means you're unlikely to miss them either.

Not as glamorous as some ducks but I'm really fond of Gadwall. They're largely a passage migrant through the area and as such vaguely mysterious - where have they been all winter? Where are they going?

A smart female Kestrel sitting on an electricity post at Harpham.

The commonest resident bird in the area - Rook. I guess most people don't often look closely at them. Odd looking things, but perfectly adapted for grubbing around in fields.

More ducks! The one behind the Mallard is a drake Shoveler. Not an easy bird at all to see in the area, even in a good year. Another passage migrant with the vast majority of records squeezed into March-April and August-October.

It was a good visit for additions to the year list, with 12. This brings it back to something approaching normal.

066 Little Owl
067 Whooper Swan
068 Chiffchaff
069 Treecreeper
070 Tawny Owl
071 Oystercatcher
072 Bullfinch
073 Kingfisher
074 Snipe
075 Shoveler
076 Red-legged Partridge
077 Common Redshank

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Getting Otter

Something of a surprise during the weekend just gone, in the shape of an OTTER minding its own business in a ditch at Lowthorpe. The wee charmer didn't appear to notice me and I was able to watch it for 30 seconds or so, long enough even to get a quick snap before it disappeared around a bend.

And here it is again, zoomed in.

Is it too greedy to be disappointed not to get a profile/head photo?

Aside from this excitement it was a reasonable weekend, with plenty of signs of spring. More of that later, though.