Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Highlights!

I have had many highlights this year but I have picked 10 out of my many highlights.

1. Migration Festival at Spurn!
On Saturday 7th of September we went to the Spurn Migration Festival. Our first highlight of this was a Stunning Red Backed Shrike which was giving great views at the top of a tree. It occasionally caught small insects which were in the grass. Another highlight of this was all the Waders on the beach. There was loads of Knot, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Oyster Catcher, Sanderling and lots more fantastic Waders. The Spurn Migration Festival was absolutely brilliant!

Red Backed Shrike
2.Siberian Stonechat at Scalby Mills
My second highlight was when I took a visit to Scalby Mills to look for the Siberian Stonechat. When we first arrived we couldn't see it so just as we were about to go my Dad spotted it sitting at the top of some branches! We watched this superb little bird for a while, sometimes it showed within a few meteres of us!
Siberian Stonechat
3.Great Grey Shrike and Swans
Another one of my highlights this year is seeing the stunning Bewick and Whooper Swans at Sadberge and then afterwards going to Bradbury to see the stunning Great Grey Shrike. The Shrike showed very well most of the time. We watched this cracking bird for about an hour.

Great Grey Shrike

Bewick and Whooper Swans
4. Great White Egret and Red Necked Phalarope
My Fourth highlight would be when I went to see the juvenile Red Necked Phalarope at Fairburn Ings plus while we were there we got a surprise Great White Egret from one of the hides. Both of these great birds showed very well especially the Great White Egret as it flew right past the hide! 
Red Necked Phalarope

Great White Egret
5. Two Barred Crossbills at Broomhead Reservoir
My fifth highlight would be when we went to visit the Two Barred Crossbills at Broomhead Reservoir. These great birds were very entertaining, there was about 8 in total, we stayed watching them for about an hour and a half. They sometimes went out of sight but then they always came back again to feed up in the trees. Also that day we saw Common Crossbill, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pink Footed Geese and lots more great birds.

Two Barred Crossbill
6. Green Winged Teal
 Another highlight of the year is when we went to try see the Green Winged Teal at North Cave Wetlands. When we first arrived in the hide no one could see the bird so we decided to have a walk around the reserve and then come back later to see if it was showing. On our walk round the reserve we saw Bullfinch, Redwing, Fieldfare and Greylag Geese. When we arrived back at the hide I almost  immediately spotted the Green Winged Teal on one of the islands. It showed right out in the open for about 30mins before flying of to one of the other islands were it became a bit more distant. 

Green Winged Teal
7. Pectoral Sandpiper at Saltholme
Another of the years highlights is the Pectoral Sandpiper at Saltholme. At first we only got a brief view of it but we came back just as we were about to go and got superb views of feeding along the scrape. Also while we were watching it a stunning Fox came out from the bushes and walked right in front of the hide! The Pectoral Sandpiper was accompanied by Black Tailed Godwits, Common Snipe and Little Egrets. Some other birds we saw that day were Common Tern, Ringed Plover and a nice showing Skylark.


Pectoral Sandpiper
8. Barred Warbler

Another highlight of the year was when we went to Spurn and saw the Barred Warbler which was feeding in berry bushes by the Warren. This stunning bird showed on and off for pretty much all the time we were watching it. At one point it showed right out in the open giving superb views. Also that day we saw Red Breasted Mergansers, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Merlin and lots more great birds. The Barred Warbler was my 200th bird on my life list.

Barred Warbler
9. Flamborough
Another highlight is when we took a trip to Flamborough to see the Serin. We managed great views of the Serin through out scope. Most of the time it was quite elusive. Afterwards we went to the Cliffs were we got absolutely superb views of Stonechat! We got within a few meters of some of them. Also we got a stunning Short Eared Owl which hunted over some of the grassland, at one point the Owl came fairly close to us and pretty much straight after that a Stoat crept out from one of the bushes.
Short Eared Owl


10. Black Necked Grebe
My last highlight is when we went to visit some Black Necked Grebes at RSPB St Aidans. We eventually found these great birds on one of the lakes around the reserve. They showed within a meter of us. It was absolutely incredible to get so close to these amazing birds.

Black Necked Grebes
Those were my 10 best highlights this year and probably one of my best ever birding years.

Monday, 30 December 2013

A Great End to the Year!

This weekend we went up to Newcastle to visit relatives for 2 nights. On Sunday we decided to go to Bradbury to try and find the Great Grey Shrike which has been hanging around the area for quite a while.

The Great Grey Shrike was in some trees which was viewable from a railway bridge. The journey was about a 20min drive but sadly we are not very good with directions so we drove straight past it. Instead we decided to go and try find some swans which were in a flooded field in Sadberge. The swans were an adult Bewick Swan and 3 Whooper Swans, adult and 2 juveniles. When we arrived we couldn't see them but we then saw them in another field so we drove to that field. When we arrived we got really good views of them. They were feeding along a big flooded patch in the middle of the field.
Bewicks and Whooper Swans
After that we then headed of to see the Shrike. When we arrived we walked up on to the bridge to join the rest of the assembled birders. We asked the people to see if it has been seen and they replied "yes but someone scared it of about 30mins ago". While we were waiting we saw Redwing, Fieldfare, Buzzards and a Kestrel. We were just about to go when BOOM! A birder cried out "I have got it!" We quickly ran over the the other side of the bridge to find the Great Grey Shrike sitting at the top of the trees! It then quickly flew to the other side of the bridge and landed in some other trees. We were extremely pleased to have seen this great bird. Most of the time it was sat up in the trees but sometimes it either flew onto the fence or onto the ground. It showed very well the majority of the time we were there.

Great Grey Shrike
After watching this awesome bird for about an hour we headed of back home.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Days Birding

Today we went to Filey to do some birding. As we set of the weather was great but while we were drving there it became foggy but that eventually cleared once we had reached Filey.

When we arrived in the car park we noticed quite a lot of birds on a field next to it. On it there was Starling, Oyster Catcher, Redshank and some stunning Turnstone! We watched these amazing birds for a while before heading of to the cliffs.

Oyster Catcher
After that we had a walk around the cliffs. While we were walking along them me and my Dad spotted lots of Oyster Catcher flying across untill my Dad spotted something a little defferent. My Dad told me and I soon got my eyes on the bird, as I took a few shots I then comfirmed it was a stunning winter plumaged Red Throated Diver! Sadly we couldn't get very good views as it was quite distant.
Afterwards we had a walk along another part of the cliffs. On our walk along them we spotted Redshank, Fulmars, Oyster Catcher and lots of Cormorant.When we reached the end of the cliffs I spotted 3 ducks on the water, we soon got our scope onto them and then realised they were 3 cracking female Eiders! This was our first sighting of them for us so we were really pleased to have seen these great birds.

After a great days birding we headed home.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 8

Two Barred Crossbill
Last weeks mystery bird was a Two Barred Crossbill which I saw at Broomhead Reservoir earlier in the year. Only 2 correct answers this week, a very big well done to Rob Stokes and Mark Lewis. Unlucky to those who guessed the wrong answer.
This was the last mystery bird quiz until after new year.

An Early Christmas Present

Green Winged Teal
Today we went to North Cave Wetlands to see a Green Winged Teal which arrived at the reserve in the afternoon yesterday. It took about 30mins to get to North Cave. The weather was sunny which was great and it stayed like that for most of the day.

As we arrived at North Cave, firstly we went to the Turret hide which is were the Green Winged Teal was sighted. When we got in the hide we asked some people to see if it had been sighted, they replied "yes but it is quite elusive at the moment". We stayed for a while to see if it came out but it didn't so we decided to have a walk around the reserve and then afterwards go back to the hide to see if it was about.

While we were walking round the reserve we saw some entertaining Redwings and some Goldfinches. We later saw a big flock of Geese on a field next to the path, the geese were all Greylags. After when we had walked around the reserve we decided to go and have a check on the Green Winged Teal.

On the way to the hide we saw some very nice House Sparrows which kept us entertained for quite a while. When we reached the hide I soon got my binoculars out and started looking at the islands and then soon picked out the stunning Green Winged Teal! The teal was asleep most of time but sometimes it looked around. He was showing very well on one of the islands. The teal eventually flew of the island and landed on the water. It was brilliant to see this cracking bird.

House Sparrow


Green Winged Teal
After about an hour of watching this great bird we then decided to go home.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 8

Last weeks mystery bird was a Pintail which I saw at Fairburn on the New Flash earlier this year.
Well done to Rob Stokes, Keith, Robert MacDonald and Mark Lewis for getting the right answer.
Unlucky to the people who got the wrong answer.
Here is this weeks mystery bird.
Good luck and thanks for having a go.
This will be the last Mystery Bird Quiz until after new year.

Crossbills Galore!

Today we took a visit to Broomhead Reservoir for the first time. We were mainly looking for Crossbills, Common and Two Barred. As we set of the weather was great and when we arrived at Broomhead it still was.

First we went to the part of Broomhead where the Two Barred Crossbills had been sighted. When we arrived we saw a bunch of birders looking up into the trees so we asked a man if they had been sighted and he replied "not for at least 20mins." We got out the car and
 stood and watched for about 5mins before we got our first view of a female and a male Two Barred Crossbill! They were showing fairly well at the top of the trees for around 2mins before some more Two Barred Crossbills joined them. At this point there was up to 7 Two Barred Crossbills or even more! After a little while one male flew over us and landed at the top of the trees right behind us! We got even better views than before, it was brilliant!
Two Barred Crossbill
We had watched the Two Barred Crossbills for about an hour and a half so we decided then to have a walk around the reservoir for a bit. While we were walking round all we saw was a Cormorant and a few Mallards until my Dad spotted some birds fly into the wood near the road. We went in to the wood and the birds what my Dad saw turned out to be some stunning Redwing. Also in the wood there was Goldcrest, Tree creeper, Common Crossbill and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. We stayed in the wood for about half an hour before walking back to the car near the Two Barred Crossbill area. On the way a flock of Pink Footed Geese flew over.
Pink Footed Geese
When we reached the car we decided to have another look to see if the Two Barred Crossbills were about. As we looked we could not see any so we decided to have a walk down to the feeders. As we arrived, on the feeders there was lots of Blue, CoalGreat Tits, Chaffinches, Dunnocks, Robins and there was about 10 Common Crossbills in the trees above our heads. Also after about every 5mins a stunning Nuthatch came down to feed.
After that it was time to go home so we walked back to the car until we saw lots of birders looking through their scopes and binoculars all up into the trees. When we walked over we saw about 8 Two Barred Crossbills feeding at the top of them giving slightly better views than before especially one single male Two Barred Crossbill who was sitting right up at the top! What a way to end the day!

Two Barred Crossbills

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 7

Barred Warbler
Last weeks mystery bird was a Barred Warbler which I saw at Spurn by the Warren this year.
A very well done to Rob Stokes, Tom Moore and Mark Lewis for the only ones getting the correct answer this week. Unlucky to those who guessed the wrong answer.
Here is the new mystery bird for this weeks quiz.
Good luck everyone.
Thanks for having a go.

Fantastic Fowl at Fairburn

Today we went to Fairburn mainly to look for Goosanders and Golden Eyes which have been sighted quite a few times around the reserve recently. As we set of the weather wasn't to bad but as we arrived at Fairburn it started to rain. A huge black cloud seemed to hang over the whole reserve.

First we had a quick walk down to the Lin Dike Hide where on the way we saw lots of Fieldfare and Redwing feeding on the berry trees. When we got in the hide on the lake there was Teal, Mute Swans and Black Headed Gulls. After a while I saw a bird come towards us from the lake just beyond the lake in front of the hide, when it got closer I noticed it was a stunning male Goosander! The Goosander after flying around the lake for a bit, flew over the hide were we couldn't relocate it again.

Afterwards we moved on to the Flashes. When we arrived at the Flashes there was lots of Teal, Mallards, Tufted DucksCootsShoveler and Black Headed Gulls about. Soon after I spotted some different birds which were quite distant on the lake. As the birds kept bobbing under the water to look for food I noticed a pointed tail then I suddenly thought Pintail. As I took a few shots I then confirmed that they were Pintail! There was 3 in total, 2 males and 1 female. We stayed watching these great birds for about half an hour before heading of to the Pickup hide.
Tufted Duck
On the way through the reserve to reach the Pickup hide we saw a Willow Tit and a very friendly Robin which came within about 2 feet of us! When we arrived at the Pickup hide, there wasn't hardly anything on the lake accept for a few Teal and Mallards so we decided to move on to the Kingfisher Screen where after a while of waiting we did not see the Kingfisher but we did keep seeing more and more Redwings and Fieldfares.
After we went back to the Flashes to see if the Pintail had moved any closer. The Pintail had moved quite a bit closer but lighting was going so it was quite hard to get shots.

After a brilliant days birding we headed of home.