Wednesday, 29 April 2015

April showers

Typical spring weather. Half a day was rained off and too cold yet I managed to get sunburn in the heat on Sunday. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get much time in the southern part of the area around Gembling, but that can wait until next time.

As reported yesterday the major highlight was the first MANDARIN for the area, on the beck at Harpham. Mostly it was a weekend of catching up with old friends; summer migrants such as warblers and martins.

Mute Swan - pair with nest
Greylag Goose - several pairs including one with 3 very small goslings
Canada Goose - 1
Gadwall - 7
Teal - 3
Tufted Duck - 6
Little Grebe - 2
Buzzard - 8
Kestrel - 4
Hobby - 1 at Harpham is the earliest area record, I think
Oystercatcher - 2
Lapwing - 30
Snipe - 2 is very late for the area
Green Sandpiper - 1 possibly 2 (different days but 1/2 mile apart)
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Cuckoo - 1 calling (apparently arrived on Friday 24th)
Little Owl - 2
Kingfisher - 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
Skylark - *seemed* to be more than normal singing
Sand Martin - 10+
Swallow - 30+ only modest numbers so far
House Martin - 60+ at Harpham
Yellow Wagtail - 1 male
Sedge Warbler - 5
Blackcap - 14+
Garden Warbler - 1 is an early record
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Common Whitethroat - 2
Chiffchaff - 16+
Willow Warbler - 2 is a worryingly low count for the date
Linnet - 110+

Some photos...

Cowslip at Lingholmes wood.

Primroses - loads in full bloom in Lingholmes wood.

Roe Deer listening carefully

Swallow. It appears to have a silver ring on the left leg.

Reed Bunting. Unlike most other crops they seem to quite like oilseed rape.

Additions to the yearlist bring the total to 93, just up on 91 at this point last year and 92 the year before!

080 Swallow
081 Lesser Whitethroat
082 Jay
083 Sand Martin
084 Blackcap
085 House Martin
086 Willow Warbler
087 Mandarin
088 Hobby
089 Garden Warbler
090 Yellow Wagtail
091 Sedge Warbler
092 Common Whitethroat
093 Cuckoo

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Darin' Man

It's like the buses... you wait ages and several come along in a row. Another new bird species recorded for the area. A fabulous drake MANDARIN was present at Harpham on Saturday, but there was no sign when I looked again on Sunday afternoon so perhaps it had been disturbed by dog walkers.

Mandarin's are slowly increasing in Yorkshire, roughly as follows: before 1990s scarce, 1990s-2000s regular in small numbers with occasional breeding, 2010s several established local breeding populations in the 10s and odd birds expected almost anywhere. Having said that a cursory glance at recent Yorkshire Bird Reports suggests they are still very much a scarcity in East Yorkshire with typically 2-3 per year mostly at either Hornsea Mere or Tophill Low.

For an introduced species I'm unnaturally chuffed with this sighting. Hard to say no to one so handsome, I guess.

Some info:

Wikipedia: Mandarin_duck
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust: Mandarin-duck
Wharfedale Naturalists Society: Mandarins in Wharfedale
BTO BirdTrack: Mandarin - Aix galericulata
YouTube: Mandarins in Regent's Park, London

Here's three record shots.

This one shows the habitat.

A slightly better side-on shot.

Write up of the weekend coming soon...