Monday 31 October 2011

Ibis at the Dams

Got a twitter tip off about the Glossy Ibis being back at Filey Dams. It seems that this bird has probably been on East Lee (?) for the last few days as it kept flying too and fro, disappearing for periods before arriving back on the dams although never close.

The local Sparrowhawks were obviously hungry as they showed amazingly well.

On the way home I was leaving Burton Fleming, in the wolds, when I noticed a biggish raptor was flying fast up the lane. It showed a white rump and was obviously a ringtail harrier. I caught up and ditched the car to see an adult female Hen Harrier hunting the fields on the Thwing road. Views from the car were point blank but by the time I had my kit together it had cleared off to the other side of the field so photos are grim but you get the idea.

It was big and pale with no boa and 5 primary tips so no stringing it for a Pallid... The Glossy Ibis was a new bird for Yorkshire for me taking me on to 287 (plus Collared Flycatcher still awaiting final judgement).

Thursday 27 October 2011


A rather skulky pipit hiding in a small copse isnt going to like a crowd. I moved away and as such was the only person to get views like this for perhaps 20 seconds before the galoots stomped through to where I was. I got an initial untickable view earlier as the bird flew up and dropped down but this was like a mouse crawling through the leaf litter. I massively underexposed the shot as I was set up for it landing on a branch at eye level. Lovely little bird and a little sod at the same time. Olive-backed Pipit on my list.

Whale Surveyor

Thanks to a couple of days in the flatlands of the Lincs/Norfolk fens I am now a fully qualified UK & Gulf of Mexico marine mammal observer. An interesting couple of courses courtesy of Alison Gill at Intelligent Ocean mean that once I have my upgraded medical and a few safety courses then I can work out in the briny as a whale man. Which is nice!

As reward for the classroom based shenanigans I rewarded myself with a day birding. Starting at Cley there was little of note with a single Brent and a few Black-tailed Godwits the pick. Walking back to the car a couple of Cetti's Warblers piped up and the whole reedbed started to ping. As I walked along the path Bearded Tits were all around, none showing well but views over the reeds. A couple of Stonechats were guarding a bench as I walked past.

I moved off to Salthouse where no laps or snobs were seen but a Long-eared Owl came in off and a probable Black-throated Diver came past close in but I didnt notice it was interesting until too late, assuming it would be a Red-throat. Indeed several Red-throated Divers were on the sea and parties of Common Scoter and Eider went past.

I called in at Blakeney freshmarsh whilst traversing the north coast and had views of the Cattle Egret preening. Massively underwhelmed I moved off to Titchwell being almost totally ignorant of this coast aside from the honeypots. At Titchwell I managed plenty of views of the Yellow-browed Warbler before establishing there were two. Thrushes streamed over and plenty of finches were present. Quickly it was half 3 and I had to get back to Yorkshire, where I belong...

Friday 21 October 2011

Raptor Porn

Okay - not quite but bloody brilliant views of the Rough-legged Buzzard and male and immature Hen Harrier at Worlaby Carrs today. It appears that the Buzzard has been suppressed for a number of days by the north lincs massive. Poor form!

Monday 17 October 2011

Orange-sided Bushchat & Inornate Warbler

Had a cool couple of hours at South Landing this morning refinding both the Red-flanked Bluetail and Yellow-browed Warbler despite plenty being present. Im especially pleased that I remembered to get the Bluetail calls off Xeno-canto as it responded VERY quickly to them once the crowd had got bored and dispersed as it appeared to evaporate. Managed the ropey shots because of this... Be aware that I used the calls responsibly in short bursts at intervals and the bird was feeding happily about 10 metres away.

Pictures were pretty tough as it was in the dark of the Hawthorns
and flitted about quite a lot.
Prior to this whilst everyone else was looking at Hawthorns I decided to get away from the crowd and refound the Yellow-brow which showed nicely a few times. Several Goldcrests were also present along with a single Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff and what looked like a Sibe Chiff but didnt call and I failed to get a photo.

Saturday 15 October 2011


Todays highlight was very definitely the co-find of two Yellow-browed Warblers at Holmpton with Jim Welford and Graham Shortt. Jim was trying to have us on by playing the call and two birds responded either side of us. We got views of one reasonably well and saw it then have a bit of a chase with the other but they vanished quick smart leaving us checking the Goldcrests again.

YBW habitat as no pics were gleaned...

Earlier I had a Tawny Owl sat in the side of the road en route to holderness. Looked like an RTA victim sadly. The arse end of a Yellow-brow wasnt much cop in the churchyard at Kilnsea but evidence of movement by the thrushes streaming through - especially Blackbirds and Redwing. A couple of Siskin touched down briefly.

The borrow pit by the Blue Bell held a moribund Common Scoter and a more lively looking Scaup although it took until my 4th pass to get both at once.

Beacon Lane held a Blackcap and Canal Scrape a distant Jack Snipe that I couldnt be bothered with. A Great Spotted Woodpecker moved south past the warren which was a nice surprise. I imagine its a tricky bird south of Easington. 13 Twite flew past as we watched the Scaup. A female Ring Ouzel was skulking in the bushes south of the Canal Scrape hide making sure the sun was behind it and hawthorn in front. Twat! Sammy's was empty as birds moved straight off. Lunchtime and all quiet - so then we went to Holmpton.

Friday 14 October 2011

More Monsters

Another floor creeper. This one was more polite but I got the feeling it was waiting for me to turn round so that it could kill me and loot the corpse. Looks to be a different species to the Mouse Spider - bigger all said but smaller abdomen and less hairy with markings. Any ideas?

In addition I went to Hornsea this morning to dip the Glossy Ibis. Did manage a few Pochard and the usual feral shite. Gulls were nice and friendly but the light was dross.

Yesterday I went to Tophill with my parents and despite the coast creaking under scarce and rare I resisted temptation and stayed put. Fat lot of good that did me - 4 Siskin, 1 Crossbill and 1 Little Egret the highlights.  Was nice to spend time with the olds and good to see my dad managing the day despite his varied ailments (hernia being more of issue than the cancer thankfully).

Izzy was well behaved but I failed to conjure a Kingfisher as promised although plenty of Redwings were evidence of the easterlies. Earlier in the day I had 3 migrating Buzzards over Driffield town heading south over Tescos. 

Dont think Im going to Norfolk tomorrow but gonna hit the head...find my own Rufous-tailed Robin or not.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

There be MONSTERS!!

This guy scuttled out from under a unit in the kitchen last night. Pretty sizeable! He told me to fuck off and chased me up the stairs. I'm quite scared. Anyone know the species? I'm thinking wolf spider sp.

Saturday 8 October 2011

Can I Have a Retweet?

Went to Tophill Low today for a couple of hours. Headed up to north marsh and met a couple of blokes on the way who said they had seen nothing. I walked in and was greeted with this bad boy.

A dull day but still enjoyed getting these mediocre shots of the Kingfisher. Suddenly 'glip glip glip' as a party of 11 Crossbills dropped in the tops of the conifers adjacent. Not easy to get anything better than silhouette but here are the results.

A Redwing in the treetops was the first of the autumn for me. Ratty was in evidence with a brief view of one crossing the marsh. In addition there were squadrons of Cormorants heading in and out of the reserve. Walking past D reservoir a flight of 5 Curlew were adding a whimsical tone to proceedings. 

Before heading home I thought I would check south marsh west for the Jack Snipe and it was there bouncing about on the mud. Jacks are brilliant with their teetering and oblivious to dangerness so that if they are in the open they dont flinch. Magic. No photo of the bird as it was a bit far for my DSLR but a habitat shot especially for Keith Dickinson.

Finally with regard the title:

Chris Packham replied to me on twitter. Im such a fanboy - or so it would seem. Sadly it is geekier than that - he mentioned seeing American Redstart at Spurn and I suggested that it may have been Gibraltar Point as Spurn hasnt recorded one. Here is the exciting bit. He agreed! Yay - i'm so cool - I mingle with the stars.


Friday 7 October 2011

Semisonic - Forgotten Gems

One of my forgotten favourite bands from the turn of the millenium. Corking tunes from a brief spell in the spotlight

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Quick Update

Sorry for falling behind but this has been a crap autumn thus far in this part of the world and my enthusiasm has waned a little. No doubt a decent bird or day and I will be laughing but nothing recently.

I went to a secret location in a secret place that involved being in Poole Harbour at some points over the weekend. This was a bonus as Yellow-legged Gulls and Mediterranean Gulls were all over the shop and a whopping 27 (TWENTY SEVEN!!!) Spoonbills were present on Brownsea. They were awesome - flopping about in trees and the like. I got back on Sunday night late on and hit flamboro head earlyish in an effort to catch up with the Yellow-browed Warbler in old fall as I havent seen one for a couple of years. I failed on that score but did manage plenty of Chiffchaffs, Wheatears and Goldcrests. One Chiffchaff gave a tristis style call and responded to tristis recordings but then went all disyllabic on my arse and despite an apparent lack of green tones I think a pale abietinus is the likely answer there.

Yesterday Garry Taylor found an American Golden Plover 5 minutes from my home but I dipped it despite being there post haste as the plovers bombed about the slope off the wolds. Boo!

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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