Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Far from the dipping crowd

In truth it was very much the bird doing the dipping, not the crowd, judging by the pictures appearing on social media. For the benefit of anyone mystified by terminology - dipping means failing to seeing the bird you've come to twitch.

The Dipper was on its favourite perch when I went past on Saturday afternoon and again at dusk on Sunday. Here's a summary of the rest of the weekend's sightings.

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd February

Mute Swan - 2
Greylags - 41
Gadwall - 12
Teal - 70+
Mallard - 100+
Pochard - 37 at Kelk Lake. An exceptional count for recent years!
Tufted Duck - 11
Red-legged Partridge - 2
Grey Partridge - 4
Sparrowhawk - 1
Common Buzzard - 13
Kestrel - 8
Peregrine - 1 at Gembling, taking a close interest in Lapwings
Golden Plover - 210. Unprecedented count for February.
Lapwing - 180+ including 130 flock at Gembling.
Woodcock - 2
Green Sandpiper - 1
Woodpigeon - large flocks of 1500 & 800 noted.
Tawny Owl - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 drumming
Skylark - several in song
Meadow Pipit - 13 at Gembling. Outstanding local count.
Grey Wagtail - 1
Fieldfare - 150+ flock at Foston. 5 over Kelk.
Coal Tit - 1 at Kelk. Hard to find away from Harpham/Lowthorpe.
Dipper - yes
Linnet - flock of 40+

Dipper again. I do hope it manages to find its way home for summer as despite being very lost it has done just fine for the last four months.

I'm guessing it prefers this perch as the sunlight is mostly behind it, allowing it to see the water better.

Also at Harpham, this chunk of boggy ground has finally been drained. It was never much good for birds so it's no great loss, and the farmer's gotta farm etc. Was always nice to walk along the edge full of hope something interesting would poke its head above the grass. Never did, though.

Greylags heading over. There is no regular flock since they were no long able to roost at Kelk Lake due to disturbance. Pairs breed across the area but in winter you have to be in the right place at the right time.

Song Thrush. Nothing unusual there, though I think this might be the first time I've managed to take a recognisable photo of one.

There were ten additions to the yearlist which jumps to 71, which is about average over recent years.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Dipper Twitch - Harpham Hits the Headlines

News of the Black-bellied Dipper at Harpham made it on to the twitcher's networks at the weekend. Imagine that, Harpham hits the front page national news!

The bird has been present since October. This was my comment after finding it

A few high-definition pictures have appeared such as this one from Brett Richards
via Martin Garner

And a short video from Martin, too

Apparently the bird didn't want to play ball on Sunday and wasn't seen all day - must have been frustrating for visitors. I wonder if anyone thought to check further down at Lowthorpe road bridge or up at New Road bridge, where my November pictures were taken.

Edit 26/03 - it's a male bird... it has started singing!