Thursday 26 May 2011

Not Crane

A Chaffich I saw whilst dipping the cranes.

No birding, good birds

I have done no birding this week sadly. Tied down to the desk working my socks off... I have managed a few decent birds. Yesterday on leaving work I managed a ******* ****** over the library at uni. This is no great surprise but at this time of year identity must be protected (and no - the amount of asterisks isnt right).

Last years Turtle Dove that I saw twice daily for ages

This morning on waking up the dulcet tones of a Cuckoo were ringing out - although from my slumber they didnt appear to be coming from the usual reedbed 200m away but rather the scrub the other side of the house.

Finally on my way to work between Watton & Hutton Cranswick a Turtle Dove flew alongside the car for 100m or so before flipping over the hedge. All in all pretty special.

Thursday 19 May 2011


Sometimes your interest in birding waxes and sometimes it wanes. At the moment I am on some crazy fitness drive. I still resemble the michelin man but now I can amble round a football pitch for 30 mins and push some decent weights in the gym whilst playing a backhand crosscourt. My birding umph has deserted briefly and thus I didnt see the Tawny Pipit, Sea Eagle, Quail, Golden Oriole, Bee-eater combo nor any of the Red-rumped Swallows. I did get down to Tophill Low for some ringing on sunday.

Reed Warbler

At tophill I year ticked a Turtle Dove that was singing in south scrub all morning but avoided our nets plus an in-hand Garden Warbler. This takes the meagre year list to 167. During the session we managed our first Reed Warblers of the year plus some Great Tit pulli, a family of Long-tailed Tits and a mixed up Chaffinch with a sub-adult wing but an adult tail.

Garden Warbler - some sort of colour distortion due to the creosote
on the shed. It was grey brown, honest.
In addition to these wonderful pictures I have a couple of Isabelle, my lovely toddler. They interest me at least. I know other peoples children photos are rubbish. Im not sorry.

Saturday 14 May 2011

This Week

Well due to laziness I failed to get caught up in the great blogger crash of 2011. I have lost precisely no posts. Smug moi? Never...

For some reason I seem to have dropped Marcus's
picture of the Nanjizal Alder Flycatcher in this post. Cool.

Anyway - bird interest this week lay in a couple of fly-by Cuckoos on Wednesday and Thursday as I commuted to work. Both times I initially imagined them to be Kestrels before all became clear. Please bare in mind I was driving and not birding although still a pretty criminal mistake. Tomorrow I'm off to Tophill ringing. Let the rain stay away...

Monday 9 May 2011

Up, up and away

As it lifted off the Temminck's Stint at Bewholme looked more like a Sand Martin, not something I thought I would associate a wader with. I had been at Bewholme for 45 minutes before it appeared out of nowhere. Other bits there included Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Common Sandpipers and a hare?!? Overnight we had lost a few waders plus the pintail and teal but gained the stint and a wood sand plus an extra two Little Grebes. I found out why I didn't see the stint yesterday as at 19:20 it lifted off high toward Hornsea. Bet it's on Kirkholme point in the morning. I had stopped by Swinemoor on my way home but it was dry. Dis see my first Reed Warblers of the year which was pleasant. I tried to photograph the stint but viewing is quite distant so once again I will break out Martin Standley's excellent shot of one from Swinemoor 2 years ago. When I get to a computer that is.

Temminck's Stint by Martin Standley

Sunday 8 May 2011


Bewholme pond had reports of Temminck's Stint today and after dipping them at Hornsea mere this afternoon. I set off lateish and managed 40mins before sunset. No sign of the Temminck's but plenty of good birds present. 1 Wood Sandpiper was pratting about round the edges, plus 2 Greenshank, 4 Redshank, 4 Common Sandpipers and a single Little Ringed Plover. Rather bizarrely 8 species of duck were on the farm pond (Wigeon, Pintail, Teal, Shoveller, Tufty, Mallard, Gadwall & Shelduck). It is possible that the Temminck's were still present as the waders all roosted in an area out of sight. A small number of Yellow Wagtails were feeding amongst the livestock and 2 Little Grebes were blogging about. For a farm pond it looks amazing - I may have to keep closer tabs...

ps have the pictures from ringing on Monday.

Re-captured Song Thrush born last year

re-trapped Lesser Whitethroat 3CY+

Sedge Warbler

2CY Linnet

2CY Willow Warbler first trapped June 2010 in same place

Wood Sand scarer

Saturday 7 May 2011

More on the Gulls

I have had a little bit of feedback on the gulls and have done lots of research. Despite posting the pics on birdforum I had nothing back save a solitary vote for Lesser Black-backed Gull for the bird on the deck and this along with some correspondence on twitter was my thought but it didnt sit well. Yesterday Michael Flowers managed a shot of the open wing which showed it to be dark with a small, faint window. Allied with some correspondence on twitter and it became clear that this is a Yellow-legged Gull due to its generally pale appearance, strong bill, underwing marking and leg length. The marked UTC's also point against Caspian.

In reference to the flying bird I have had no feedback but I have studied Olsen & Larsson quite a bit and the relevant features for 1st-winter Caspian Gull are present - the pale underwing with whacking great windows in the primaries plus the generally pale appearance, clean UTCs, tail bar pattern and long, parallel sided bill on a small head.

Im quite chuffed that I managed to get a handle on these bits as I'm not the best at immature gulls - Im constantly befuddled but I kept returning to it and am happy with the results (and chuffed with the outcome). Caspian Gull is a new bird for Yorkshire for me and the Yellow-legged Gull was only my 2nd in county I think.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Gull ID Help Needed

I went to North Cave Wetlands for the 2 Caspian Gulls present - apparently the only large gulls on site and found these two birds. Opinions gladly received as its a minefield for me as I have only seen a single Caspian before.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Ring my bell

Had a productive morning ring at Tophill yesterday. A 6am start saw several migrants being year ticked quickly with singing Whitethroat on the site. A posse of Swifts were over 'O' reservoir and these were to be ever present. A gang of Common Terns lifted off south marsh east for a sortie over the ringing site as we set up. Further goodies came in a calling Cuckoo and the catch of 3 Lesser and one Common Whitethroat. We even managed a couple of recaptures from last year with a Lesser Whitethroat whic is now at least 3CY as it was rung last year on May 1st by us. A Willow Warbler had also made a successful return after being rung last June. Several other resident birds were recaptured. Yellow Wagtails and Little Ringed Plovers were a constant on the Walls of 'O' reservoir. Whilst I was diligently processing a Robin a Wood Sandpiper alighted briefly on south marsh west, seen by another of our group. This quickly disappeared after being harangued by the LRP's. Thankfully not a yeartick although it would have been a site first for me. Nevermind. As I was trying to relocate the Wood Sand at Watton I thought I heard a Nightingale in sub-song but it didn't get going so could have been an exhuberant Garden Warbler or Blackcap. A probable Pied Flycatcher flitted through south scrub but disappeared before I laid bins on it. The final bird of a quality session was my first Sedge Warbler of the year.

Today I was sat cursing as 2 Caspian Gulls rolled up at North Cave. Let's hope they are still present tomorrow so I can catchup with them in my lunch hour. The subalpine at spurn didn't float my boat although I'm sure the reported Rustic Bunting would have.

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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