Wednesday 28 September 2011

Swimming anyone?

Yesterday I renewed my Personal Survival Training. Its supposed to be a lifetime certificate but hey ho - needs must. A morning in the classroom was followed by an afternoon flipping liferafts and making chains and groups across a pool before fitting 18 people in a liferaft made for 16 in the dark whilst being sprayed with cold hoses and having weather sound effects played LOUD. It was great fun although I was cream crackered afterward - I think its the concentration rather than the excertion although it is physically tricky. I was in the bottom third in the class to be honest although that was probably due to half the class being made up of marines who were leaving the forces to do marine security on tankers in the Gulf of Aden. So from the rest I was above the giffers and gimmers and fatties but below a couple of sprightly 20 year old pleasure sailors (aye aye!)

Slightly dodgy photo that I robbed that illustrates what we did

Monday 26 September 2011

Buff-breasted Bugger all

Went up to Flamborough for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper this morning and by the sounds of things it bugged out just after I arrived to sheep field unknown. Que sera. I did have a pleasant walk in the sun and some nice views of Wheatears and Meadow Pipits.

I've got a Buff-breast
A few Yellow Wagtails were knobbing about on the short grass and at least three Kestrels blogged about but little else was achieved.

Certainly not scarce
Yesterday with ma famille I went up to Wykeham for a walk with Forge Valley providing the standard Nuthatch and Marsh Tits. There was also a Treecreeper sitting about for a while. Apologies for the superbad image.

Along the stream we managed a party of Bullfinches and some more Marsh Tits. Suddenly all the pigeons exploded over the ravine (metaphorically of course). A mid sized accipiter glided across the valley showing a gleamy white undertail and extensive fine barring plus rounded tail corners - a fine male Goshawk. Chuffed to bits we headed up to Wykeham. Once up in the forest we had lots of finches buzzing about with big red oves and small green ones the order of the day. About 250 Siskin  pratted about backward and forward between trees whilst more sedate a group of 50 ish Crossbills were spread thinly across the clearing at the viewpoint.

Bad crosser pic

We ventured to the raptor (or rapture) viewpoint but in light rain saw little of the valley and gave up. Dotting the path were these delightful fungi - like fly agaric but without spots. I have no idea.

From an entomology viewpoint today was pretty reasonable with good numbers of common butterflies, especially Small Tortoiseshell and this little Dragonfly.

female Ruddy Darter?

Monday 19 September 2011

This Is Hardcore

I Love Pulp

I want to have your children, oh yeah!
I want to sleep with common people

Sunday 18 September 2011

Flat Flam

Was at Flamborough yesterday for a seawatch and migrant bash. Thin pickings on both fronts with a few Manxies and Sooties plus a few Arctic & Great Skuas. Red-throated Divers were in evidence moving south in decent numbers and plenty of Teal were moving into Bridlington Bay alongside smaller numbers of Common Scoter and Wigeon. A Wheatear briefly popped up at the seawatching point before dropping down the cliffs. I gave up at half 10 but apparently it picked up later with a Sab's and a Black-throated Diver.

On the land it was difficult with Holmes Gut providing a couple of Blackcaps and two Whitethroats but little else although a Barn Owl was roosting in one of the willows. Thornwick Pools were quiet and only a Sparrowhawk landing by the hide sparked any interest.

Moving onto Old Fall and again pickings were thin - I bumped into a couple of regulars who pointed out a distant Buzzard being harassed by corvids. There were no migrants in the plantation but the highlight of the morning was a juvenile Hobby hawking overhead and buzzing me a couple of times. Further migrants in the form of an overflying Snipe coming in off and a group of alba wags which included a single definite White Wagtail were seen round the fields. There must be something coming soon?

Monday 12 September 2011

20,000 Hits!

Many thanks to all that have visited the Blog since it started. Today the 20,000ish visitor registered on the counter. Now aside from the 13,000ish hits lost on the first counter when that packed up and a few thousand on other broken counters. Over 3 & a half years I have posted my inanities on here and I am grateful for every visitor (even if I was half of them). Below I have posted a few of my favourite images from the last 3 years.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Hard Work

I went to flamborough this morning hoping for some passerines. I didnt feel like seawatching which meant I missed an adult Sabine's Gull although little else. Starting at bay brambles I saw...nothing. Moving onto the gorse field I managed two Meadow Pipits and a Whitethroat. Not brilliant. A Yellow Wagtail nobbed about with sheep and there was nothing in the gullies up to old fall. One of the mornings highlights flew over and rode the strong southerly, an adult Peregrine nice and close. Always cracking to see!

Moving up old fall hedge I managed a few early Goldcrests but little else. As I arrived at the plantation 2 Green Sandpipers flew west inland. Ollie Metcalfe was at the plantation, and had seen Spot Fly and possible Redstart but the wind was cranking up and I decided to get some lunch and pushed off to the car.

Pasta pot in hand I noticed Ollie had called me - what had I missed? There was a reported RB Fly around the gorse field although apparently nobody saw it. I went back to North Landing where an unstreaked acro in the bottom of Holmes Gut was on show for a nano second. I bumped into the local ringers and they hadnt had much and the Blackcap that I had just seen had evaded their nets. A few more Goldcrests were down in Holmes Gut but I was getting bored. Thornwick Pools provided 3 Dunlin  and a couple of Yellow wags bathing. And that was that. I met Ollie and we both decided it was crap and sacked it off.

Friday 9 September 2011

Tophill Today

Rolled into Tophill Low today for a spot of ringing. I took my 2 year old and she L.O.V.E.D it. Was a really happy kid allday thanks to her morning out, so a big thanks to Jess, Graham and Richard for aiding and abetting. A small catch was interesting with a couple of re-traps (Treecreeper and Whitethroat) plus a handful of Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and Blackcaps. 

I called in at South Marsh East on the way home and saw the three Curlew Sandpipers  plus two Ruff, the second bird we heard drop in as it flew over.

Other bits and pieces included flyover Sparrowhawk, Lapwing and lots of aerial feeding Black-headed Gulls. Leaving took some time as my girl pointed out every 7-spot Ladybird we passed which seeing that they were reaching plague proportions was quite a few.

On the exit road a group of three Roe Deer were a pleasant surprise and a scan through the loafing gulls produced 5 Lesser Black-backs including a single adult intermedius  and two adult graellsii. There were also two Herring Gulls and four Common Gulls amongst the Greater Black-backs.

Near Hutton Cranswick there was a field full of Common Gulls following ploughs and amongst them were two Herrings plus this beast:

Now I cant decide if this is a BIG male LB or a YLG. Gonna ask people who know these things...

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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