Sunday, 25 May 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 26

Spotted Redshank
Last weeks Mystery Bird was Spotted Redshank where I saw about 10 birds at Blacktoft Sands last year. A very well done to Rob Stokes and Toby Carter for getting the right answer. Unlucky to the people who got the wrong answer but thanks for having a go.
here is this weeks Mystery Bird.
I will reveal the answer next weekend and if you cant send me your answer through the blog DM on Twitter @ellisethanfox.
Good Luck

Warblers, Wagtails and Flycatchers!

Today me and my Dad decided to take a visit to Bolton Abbey as we have heard there has been quite a few Pied Flycatchers around the area.

On the way we drove past a heathland area where I managed to pick out 2 Red Grouse in amongst the heath. When we arrived in a village next to the place we noticed a little bird on the road, it was a young Coal Tit, we moved it safely to the side because we didn't want the poor thing getting run over. Just Beside the spot of where the Coal Tit was I saw a bird land on a fence, I looked through my bins to notice that we had our first flycatcher of the day, a cracking Spotted Flycatcher! After a great start we moved on to have a walk down by the river. As we were coming into the car park a man told us that there was some Mandarins on the river about 20min walk through the wood so we decided to do that. Once we had got about half way through I noticed a flicker of red just out of the corner of my eye, I looked in the wood to see a very nice Redstart sitting up on a branch. It showed well for around 5mins.

We then walked a little further through where we heard a call which we had never heard before, we started scanning around for the bird and almost straight away my Dad spotted it singing on the edge of a branch, I took a look through my bins to realise that it was a stunning Wood Warbler! This was my first sighting of this cracking species and what a little stunner it was. It showed well for all of the time we were watching it, it seemed to have a favourite branch which it kept coming back to.

Wood Warbler
After that fantastic moment we moved on to the part where the Mandarins are supposed to be. As we were walking along the River I saw lots of Mallards sitting at the side, I started to have a look through them and then a few mins later I spotted our first Mandarin! A nice male was right in amongst the mallards, there colours are absolutely amazing! A little further down my Dad then spotted a female Mandarin in with another group of Mallards! Also my Dad spotted a nice Common Sandpiper on a little scrape at the side of the river. Quite a few Grey and Pied Wagtails were also flying around.  After that we crossed to the other side of the river where we got a little closer to the male Mandarin. We also saw what we think may be a leucistic Blackbird which was feeding on a hill next to the river and while we were watching the Leucistic Thrush we could hear a Cuckoo in the distance.


Leucistic Blackbird?
When we were walking back through the wood we thought we heard the call of a Pied Flycatcher so we stood and listened and within a few mins a cracking male landed in a tree just next to us! It then flew into a nest box just beside the tree it landed in so we stood and waited and we got some really nice views of this little cracker. Also in the area there was quite a few Nuthatches up in the trees.

Pied Flycatcher
A little further on we spotted another one but this time it was a female and this one also was going into a nest box and near the car park we also had nice but brief views of another Redstart.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Red Necked Phalarope at North Cave

On Sunday evening me and my Dad decided to head of to North Cave Wetlands in hope of seeing the Red Necked Phalarope.

As we arrived me and my Dad started walking to the Reedbed lake, on the way we saw some juvenile blackbirds which were feeding amongst the grass. As soon as we reached the Reedbed lake we were onto the stunning Red Necked Phalarope, at first it was quite distant but then it got scared of by an Avocet and landed much closer to us which was amazing! Other birds around the lake included lots of Avocets also some of them had chicks, quite a few Little Ringed Plovers, tons of Black Headed Gulls and 2 Common Terns also flew through. At a few points the Phalarope came really close allowing really nice views.

 After a while if flew back to the back of the lake where it became quite distant also it then started following 3 Mallards around.
Red Necked Phalarope


Little Ringed Plover

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 25

Last weeks Mystery Bird was a Spoonbill which I saw at RSPB Oldmoor last year. Well done to Rob Stokes, Mark Lucas, Ben Moyes, Mark Lewis and Toby Carter for all getting the correct answer. Unlucky to the people who got the wrong answer but thanks for having a go.
Here is this weeks Mystery Bird.

I will reveal the answer next weekend and if you cant send me your answer through the blog just DM on Twitter @ellisethanfox.
Good Luck

What a Fantastic Weekend!

On Saturday evening me and my Dad decided to go and have a look at the Hoopoe in Beverley. The bird was at The Old Barn, it was feeding on a small area of grass just beyond the courtyard, it was picking up and eating several leatherjackets.

When we first arrived we couldn't see it but then this man said it flew into the back of a silver birch tree a few mins ago. After around 20mins it began to rain quite heavily so we weren't to confident that it would come back out but thankfully the rain stopped and it flew out of the silver birch and then landed in a tree where we could see it a little better. Then it flew out of the tree and started feeding on the grass were it came within about 10 feet! This was an amazing sight to get it so close and to see all those colours. It was a really tame bird which didn't even seem bothered that we were there! It is definitely one of my best birding highlights this year so far. We enjoyed brilliant views of this stunning bird for about an hour and a half before heading home after a superb and memorable day!

Today we had a visit to Tophill Low. Pretty much as soon as we arrived we spotted a juvenile Tawny Owl sitting in a tree, this was the best views we had ever had of a Tawny Owl, it was about 3 meters away! It was a fantastic sight. As we left the juvenile Tawny we saw the adult land further up it the trees. What a start to the day!

Juvenile Tawny Owl
After that great moment we moved onto a hide where we were hoping to see Otters and a Kingfisher. Sadly we didn't see either but we did get nice but brief views of a Water Vole and brilliant views of a few Sedge Warblers which were right in front of the hide. In the sky there was around about 300+ Swifts, it was great watching them take flies.  

Sedge Warbler

After that we moved onto a small area of water where we were hoping to find Marsh Frogs but despite searching for a while we didn't see any but we did see lots of Great Crested Newts swimming under the water. Afterwards we moved on to the other reservoir at the other side of the reserve. Around the reservoir there was a hide which I think is called the Watton hide. In this hide we saw lots of Tufted Ducks, Wigeon, Black Headed Gulls, Gadwall and Greylag Geese but we managed to pick out a Ringed Plover and a cracking summer plumaged Dunlin on a scrape just beyond the hide.  

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Spoonbill at Nosterfield!

Yesterday afternoon me and my Dad headed of to Nosterfield in hope of seeing the Spoonbill, the Curlew Sandpipers and the Black Necked Grebes. It took about half an hour to get to Nosterfield. On the way we had a few Kestrels pass over. 
As soon as we arrived we were onto the cracking Spoonbill right at the back of the main lake although it was quite distant it showed well for the majority of the time we were there. It was a very nice bird to see, their bill is amazing. We asked a couple of people to see if they had seen the Black Necked Grebes or the Curlew Sandpipers and they said "yes but the Black Necked Grebes are a bit elusive". A few mins later we were enjoying nice scope views of one of the Curlew Sandpipers on a island in the middle of the lake, sadly it was to far away for decent photos but it still great to see it up close through the scope. After about 10mins one of the stunning Black Necked Grebes came into view, it showed quite well just beyond the hide, what a day so far! It swam to the other side of the lake where it then became really distant. A little while later quite a few Swifts passed over. After that a man then picked out the other Curlew Sandpiper on another island even further away from the other one, it was fantastic to see a second one.


Black Necked Grebe
After we decided to leave Nosterfield to head of to Redhouse Wood to check some nests we had found in there. We had found a Blackcap, a Wren, 2 Bullfinches and a Song Thrush. Sadly 2 out of the 5 nests had been predated, one of the Bullfinch and the Song Thrush were predated. But we did find another Blackcap nest! Quite a few Tawny Owls were also heard in the wood.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 24

Black Necked Grebe
Last weeks Mystery Bird was a juvenile Black Necked Grebe which I saw at RSPB St Aidans last year. A very well done to Rob Stokes, Toby Carter, Mark Lucas and Mark Lewis for all getting the correct answer. Unlucky to the people who got the wrong answer but many thanks for having a go.
Here is this weeks Mystery Bird.
If you cant send me your answer through the blog DM me on Twitter @ellisethanfox.
Good luck

Spurn Never Disapoints!

Yesterday morning we set of to go to Spurn. The drive was about one hour and a half, we arrived at Spurn at around 7:30am. On our way to Spurn we saw a really nice Yellow Wagtail sitting up on a line, this was the first of the year for me.

Firstly we decided to have a look around Kilnsea Wetlands. In the car park we had great views several Wheatear, one in particular showed much better than the others.

Once we were in the hide we were straight away onto two pairs of Pintail, most of the time they were asleep but at one point they got up and moved around. Other birds outside the hide included Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatchers and Teal. Afterwards we moved onto Beacon ponds. On the way we had a look through a viewing platform to see a big group of Whimbrel drop in. Next to Beacon ponds there was a small bit of water in a field around the water there was Greylag Geese, Oystercatchers, Redshank and lots of Hares, a little while later a Dark Bellied Brent Goose dropped in amongst the Greylag flock. In the bushes behind us there was also quite a few Whitethroats about.
Pintail with Redshank and Dunlin


Dark Bellied Brent Goose with Greylag

After we moved on to Beacon ponds were we saw our first Terns of the year. They were Little Terns! I was also really pleased because this was a lifer for me. Most of the time they were quite distant but 2 came really close. There was about 15 all together. Some other birds on Beacon ponds included Tufted Ducks, Mute Swans and Shelducks.

Little Terns
After that we went to the Canal Scrape. Pretty much as soon as we arrived we heard a Sedge Warbler singing in a bush just outside the hide, we were trying quite hard to find it but we couldn't see it. After we went in the hide were the only birds we could see were Mute Swans, a Coot and 2 Swallows sitting on poles. On our way out of the hide we once again tried to find the Sedge Warbler and this time he showed much better, he was sat right at the top of the bush. After it had went down in the bushes I turned around to start looking through some other bushes just behind us, while I was looking through I saw something big out of the corner of my eye, I then had a good look at it and then shouted "Short Eared Owl"! This was a very nice surprise!
Sedge Warbler

Short Eared Owl
After that great moment we headed of to the Warren, we had a look at the sightings board but much had been sighted. We then moved up to the sea watching hut where we saw several people looking into a field just beside it, we asked a man to see if he could see anything and he pointed out a Whimbrel in the field. The man was actually someone I know of Twitter called Martin Garner. He then said there was some Pale Bellied Brent Geese and a Hybrid on the Humber so we went to have a look. A few mins after arriving my Dad picked out one of the cracking Pale Bellied Brents in the middle of some Dark Bellied Brents. A few seconds later a huge flock of Waders lifted up and then landed in amongst the Brent flock, there was Grey Plover, Knot, Sanderling and Dunlin.
Pale Bellied Brent with Dark Bellied Brent

Grey Plover
After we had a little walk down to the point. We didn't see much apart from Linnets and lots of Wheatear. One male Wheatear showed really well, it came within a couple of metres at one point.

Afterwards we went to Sammy's point in Easington in hope of finding the Firecrest but despite a long hard look we couldn't find him but we did see more Whitethroats. On the way back home we saw another Yellow Wagtail, it showed really well.
Yellow Wagtail