Saturday, 25 January 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 10

Great Northern Diver
Last weeks Mystery Bird was an awesome Great Northern Diver which I saw in Scarborough Harbour. Well done to Rob Stokes, Mark Lucas, Jonny, Mark Lewis, Rob and Kevin and Seri. Unlucky to those people who got the wrong answer but thanks for having a go.
Here is this weeks Mystery Bird.
The answer will be revealed next Saturday.
If you cant send a message through here you can DM me on Twitter.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 9

Here is the first Mystery Bird quiz of the year.

The answer will be revealed next Saturday, thanks for anyone who has a go and if you cant send me a message on here DM me on Twitter.

Ibis Twitch

Today we decided to head up to Boldon in search of the 2 Glossy Ibis which have been hanging around the area for quite a while now. Sadly as we set of the weather wasn't very good, it was raining for most of the trip.

Once again we got lost looking for the spot (the directions not very clear - according to my dad), it took us at least 20mins for us to find it after spending 90mins travelling to reach Boldon. The Ibis were in a field which were viewable from Blue House Lane. This was very difficult to find (in our opinion). When we reached Blue House Lane we got out of the car and started looking. To be honest we weren't sure if we were heading in the right direction, we began trudging down a dirty track (after crossing a railway line) in the pouring rain. A bit miserable and thinking we weren't going to find them I suddenly shouted "there they are!!!". We were extremely happy to have seen them as we have always wanted to see Glossy Ibis in this Country. We absolutely loved watching them both feed in the field. Definitely the highlight of the year for me so far! All of the time we were there they showed very well which was amazing!

Glossy Ibis
Sadly after that superb moment he had to go home. We didn't have much time today as we set of quite late today but although we didn't have much time I was really pleased to have seen them.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Super Sunny Saltholme

Today we took a visit to sunny Saltholme in hope of seeing some great wildlife. We were very excited as in the past we have seen some great birds here such as Pectoral Sandpiper and Temmincks Stint.

When we first arrived at the reserve we decided to have a quick look in the Phil Stead Hide which was in the car park. On the lake outside the hide we could see 2 Mute Swans, some nice showing Shoveler, Teal and a few Moorhens. After that we headed of to the visitor centre.

When we were in the visitor centre we asked if much had been sighted today, they replied "not much but the Water Rail has been putting in some appearances outside the visitor centre and from the Wildlife Watch Point hide". We had a quick look through some glass at the visitor centre at the area were the Water Rail had been sighted but all we could see were Moorhens so we decided to go to the Wildlife Watch Point hide.
On our way there we saw Black Headed Gulls, Goldfinches and a few Reed Buntings. When we arrived at the hide we spotted a Shoveler, a Gadwall, Coots, Moorhens and a Little Grebe but we didn't see the Water Rail. We waited for about half and hour before walking around the main lake to reach another one of the hides.
When we reached the hide we could see a few Lapwings in the background also we could see a group of about 200 geese in the field. We heard that there has been some Barnacle Geese recently on the reserve but we couldn't see any in the group but if you went round another way towards another hide you could get a better view of the geese so we decided to go round that way.
When we reached a good area just outside the hide were we got a better view of the geese we immediately started scanning through the flock. I then soon picked out a group of about 20 Barnacle Geese right in the middle of the flock! We stayed watching them for quite a while before heading of to the hide. 
Barnacle Geese
When we were in the hide we could see at the far side of the lake hundreds of Lapwing. Mixed in with the Lapwing were quite a few Golden Plover. Suddenly all the Lapwings and Golden Plover lifted of up into the sky, it was absolutely amazing to watch them all! Also on the lake there was a female Goldeneye, a Redshank, Curlew and a 3 stunning Pintail.

Lapwing and Golden Plover

Afterwards we decided to head back to the visitor centre to have some lunch. Before we went to the Café we decided to have a quick look through the glass to see if the Water Rail was out and guess what he was! He was showing extremely well from the visitor centre, occasionally he was being chased back into the reeds by the Moorhens but always kept coming back out again. We watched him for a while before he headed back into the reeds and didn't come back out for a while. So we then headed upstairs in the visitor centre to have our lunch. From the Café you could see the Water Rails favourite spot so for most of the time we were sitting up there we could see him quite a few times emerging from the reeds!  
Water Rail
After our lunch and the stunning little Water Rail news came through of 2 Long Tailed Ducks on Saltholme East! So we rushed over there as fast as we could. When we arrived all we could see on the lake was Shoveler, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Ducks. Me and my Dad started scanning the lake for them until after a few mins I shouted I have got one! And soon after that I picked up the second one! We were really pleased to have seen these fantastic ducks. They were quite far away but we still enjoyed watching them for well over half an hour!

Long Tailed Duck
After enjoying a great trip with tons of great birds we went home.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Top Day at Tophill

Today me and my Dad paid a visit to Tophill low. As soon as we got out of the car we heard and then saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker which then soon landed in a tree right above our car. We enjoyed watching it make its way further up the tree looking for small insects in the tree. After that we decided to walk around one of the Reservoirs to look for more great birds.

We reached one of the hides which looked straight over the Reservoir. On the Reservoir there was Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, Black Headed Gulls and lots of Wigeon, we then spotted a group of different birds in the middle of the Reservoir, I got my binoculars on them and noticed that they were Goldeneye! In total there was about 2 Males and about 10 Females. Pretty much every time they dived they got a little closer to the hide.

Afterwards we had a walk in the woods which were just beside the Reservoir. In the woods we saw Blue, Great, Coal, Long Tailed and Willow Tits also we saw a Chaffinch and a Wren. We then got to one of the hides which were at the other side of the wood. From that hide we only saw a Moorhen and a Kestrel.
We then headed to another hide which was in another small wood at the other side of the Reservoir. Last time we came to Tophill in this hide we caught a nice Grey Heron fishing so we were hoping for another nice surprise in it today and guess what we did! We found a stunning White Fronted Goose at the back of the small lake feeding with a single Canada Goose! What a nice surprise! Sometimes it came right to the waters edge to take a drink but most of the time it stayed with the Canada Goose. I extremely enjoyed watching this fantastic bird.
White Fronted Goose

White Fronted Goose with Canada Goose

White Fronted Goose
After that brilliant surprise we didn't have much time left so we decided to go to the other reservoir to have a quick look in one of the hides. When we arrived in the hide the lake was absolutely filled with birds! On the lake there was Mute Swans, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Greylag Geese and a stunning Male Goldeneye. Along the scrapes there was about 50 Curlew and 3 Redshank. A man then told us that at the very back of the lake in the trees there was a Barn Owl! Although it was incredibly far away it was still great to see this awesome bird!
Barn Owl
Covered in mud we walked back to the car and headed of home after a fantastic days birding!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Surprise at Sunny Scarborough

Today our plan was to go to Hunmanby to look for the Velvet Scoters which have been present for a while there now and then afterwards we would go to Scarborough to look for the Juvenile Great Northern Diver which has been present in the Harbour.

When we opened our front door to get into the car I spotted 3 Thrushes at the top of our Rowan Tree. I then noticed that they were Redwing! This is the first time we have ever noticed Redwing on it so this was a very nice surprise for us. They occasionally flew to the top of some other trees to sit with a small flock of Starlings.

Redwing and Starlings
When we arrived at Hunmanby we found the spot that were the Velvet Scoters had been sighted. We asked a man to see if he could see them but he replied "no". While we were waiting we picked out a group of about 50 Common Scoter! They were quite far away but we still enjoyed watching them. Also we got about 3 Red Throated Divers flying across the sea. We waited for about half an hour to see if the Velvet Scoters came into view but they didn't so we then decided to head of to Scarborough in search of the Great Northern Diver.
When we arrived at Scarborough we had a walk around the harbour were we found about 3 Guillemot in the harbour. We watched them for a while until they went further away. When we were walking up some steps we noticed 2 small waders picking up pieces of food around peoples feet! They turned out to be some extremely tame Turnstone! They came within one foot of us! We could have watched these very entertaining birds for ages but the light was going so carried on our search for the Great Northern Diver.

While we were walking around we noticed people with Cameras and Binoculars just a little walk ahead of us. When we got there we straight away spotted the stunning Great Northern Diver! It was accompanied by a Shag and a Cormorant. It was showing very well at times but after about 10mins it went to another part of the harbour were it became much further away. We went to different parts of the harbour trying to find in again. We eventually found it right at the end of the harbour were it showed much better than before, at a few points it came within a few feet! It was absolutely amazing to get so close to such an amazing bird!

Great Northern Diver
After a fantastic start to the year we went home.