Monday, 27 February 2017
Sunday, 26 February 2017
Friday, 24 February 2017
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Monday, 20 February 2017
With me on coaching duty in Leeds for yhe first part of next week, I decided to head to midlands (if you are from Scotand, every where in engerland is South) and twitch the Pine Bunting that has been wintering just south of York.
The trip started well, with a Barn Owl on a roadside tree along the M50.
A short stop just before York for a coffee and to check my directions, meant I pulled into Dummington about 8:30, with no wrong turns, or missed junctions (who needs satnav?). On arriving at yhe site of yesterdays sightings, I met a local birder who informed me he'd just been watching it about 3-4 minutes earlier. Great, hopefully this won't take long, I thought. Plenty of Yellowhammers were flitting in and out of the stubble field and adjacent hedgerows, but no sign of their Sibe cousin. Tree Sparrows and Stock Doves were added to the year list as i scanned the feeding and resting buntings.
2 hrs later and still nothing. 3 others arrived and we decied to split up as the flock was now slight closer to the othrr end of the field. Myself and another bloke, who had seen it briefly yesterday evening, headed to through the village to the other side of the field. On arrival, the flock had all but dissapeared. After about 15 mins we decided to head over the the field where it had first been found. On arrival we noted a togger wandering round the stubble field, whilst a number of finches and buntings flited along the headgerow. We slowly made our way along the edge of the stubble field (the farmer had given permission for birders to enter this field when the bird was found).
There were good numbers of Yellowhammers in the stubble but they were difficult to get onto whencthey were on the ground. Suddenly a paler bird flew across and dropped into the stubble. We both saw it and we were both convinced that it was the Pine Bunt'. It didn't take long for it to fly into the hedge, where it showed well. Panic ensued as i could not get my scope onto it and before i could regain a fix, it flew off into the hedge further along. This time it sat right on the outer edge of the hedge giving great scope views (photo to follow).
Following the success, I decided to head over to the RSPB reserve at Fairburn Ings. This was a reserve I'd wanted to visit for a while, but hadn't realised it was so close to Leeds. I enjoyed a wander round this wetland reserve, with a couple ofckey targets in mind. A pair of Smew had been in residence this winter, and 3 White-fronted Geese were also on site. Both species were found, though both were a bit distant. More distant were two Grey Partridge, feeding under a distant hedge. Willow tits were heard and eventually seen.
Finally, driving into Leeds I picked up 3 Red Kites, my first of the year.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Monday, 13 February 2017
Sunday, 5 February 2017
As we hit the first conifer block Martin heard Crossbills calling and three were duly found just sitting on top of a tree. Not much else of note apart from 3 Bullfinches were seen on the walk up to the stile.
Over the stile and onto the open mountain the ground became boggy, more so after all the rain we have had and the weather started to close in with visibility getting worse. We decided to keep going but if the conditions got any worse we would turn around straight away. Martin said that in the mist it is easy to get disorientated and lose your way which I replied, Martin you do not need mist to do that!!!
The weather cleared for awhile, a very cold north wind came up, the ground became more icy and has we got to the site the mist was back. Luckily for us we heard a Grouse calling and Martin somehow picked one up through the mist on the ground and then two flew up. We looked at each other and said job done, they are still here let's get off here as quick as possible. Working our way down the mist cleared and the temperature went up a few degrees. I decided to slip on the mud and go a**e over tip. Martin was quite put out because I was not covered in mud saying that if he had done that he would have been plastered. A quick stop for coffee and pizza and it was back to the car picking up five more Crossbills on the way.
We then called into Llwyn Onn reservoir which was dead on the water however between the middle car park and the hide Martin heard a single note and a Willow Tit duly popped out right in front of us.
Next stop was Brecon for a quick look for Waxwings, a quick walk and drive around produced a negative result.
Then it was over to Llangorse where again it was very quiet although we picked up another year tick in Goldeneye, over twenty. We decided to go over to Talybont to try for Marsh Tit but just has we were getting in the car flocks of wildfowl started to appear from our right. Groups of Teal, Wigeon, Goosander, Goldeneye and Lapwing just kept coming and all of a sudden the lake was what we had expected to see.
We finally got to Talybont reservoir after a diversion around the village itself, no Marsh Tit but on the water 2 Goosanders and at least 16 Little Grebes, 10 in one group.
Friday, 3 February 2017
So next was Plan B and I checked the shelter at Iron Gate point, had a look over the sea and the same thing lots of Turnstone, I counted 35, a Common Gull and loads of people taking photos of the wave but no sign of any Med Gulls. My next stop was Rest Bay car park where there were about 150 Black Headed Gulls and about 30 Common Gulls but still no Med Gulls, last stop was Kenfig Pool. I was going to have a quick look for the Bittern but when I got in the hide and saw the water level and decided it was way too high. The pool was fairly busy and I counted 50 Pochard and also present were Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, 6 Teal, 1 Shoveler, Wigeon, Canada Goose, 1 mute swan, 6 Cormorant, lots of Herring Gulls, 12 Black Headed Gulls, 2 Great Greater Black Backed Gulls. Common Gull I found about 6 and I also found this one with it's upper mandible missing and makes you wonder how will he survive. Well thats my yearly trip to the sea over and it's back to the hillls for me .