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Sunday, 29 December 2013


It's fairly quiet around here at the moment and for what will probably be the last birdwatch of the year me and Mark decided on Scarborough, we started at the Harbour which is still playing host to the juv Great Northern Diver, it was again showing well plus a Grey Wagtail and several Purple Sandpipers were also present, there was no sign of the Peregrines along Marine Drive this morning but there were several Red Throated Divers and Guillemots plus a pod of Harbour Porpoises in the Bay. We had a quick look at Scalby Mills but with the tide nearly in there wasn’t much to look at apart from the Wigeon, then we headed over to the Mere to see if we could find the recent Firecrest, upon arrival a small group of birders pointing camera’s into a nearby tree told us our quarry was still present, it was very mobile though and difficult to keep on. We had lunch with the Mediterranean Gulls at Holbeck then headed back to the Harbour, with the tide being in we thought we might get some shots of the Diver more on the same level if it was feeding in the right place, it wasn’t it had actually moved just outside the Harbour mouth, we didn’t hang around, the place was heaving, we thought we’d go and see if we could find something in Filey Bay but no it was very quiet there as was the Dams. A bit stuck with what to do for the last hour we decided to just take a slow steady drive home along the back roads over the Wolds, very pleasant drive through some lovely countryside but nothing better than a few Buzzards although it's great to see these becoming more common in the area.
the Diver was still present

and showing well

Shag silhouette

Wigeon at Scalby

typical view of it disappearing behind a leaf

the Med Gulls were a tad more obliging

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Parrots on the Common

Me and Mark made a trip south to Budby Common this morning to see a small flock of Parrot Crossbills, part of the mini invasion into the country over the last few weeks, this flock has been in the area two to three weeks now  and upon arrival we made our way to the quoted  grid reference and joined a sizeable crowd of birders already waiting there, still very popular even though they've been around a while, we got the gen on the birds habits etc and then luck was with us for a change, as within five mins the flock flew in and landed on the tree directly in front of us, at least 12 birds with a couple of Common Crossbills in with them, they posed well but were then flushed by a Kestrel a few mins later. We hung around for an hour or more hoping they might return to their “favourite trees” but eventually received news they had been found a kilometre further along the track feeding in a large conifer, we moved up there and found the birds feeding right at the top so photographic opportunities weren’t good but we got excellent scope views. Not much else on the Common, no sign of the recent Great Grey Shrike today so mid afternoon we took a steady drive back through Clumber Park, which didn’t yield much, then on to Hatfield Moors, we drove around the Wroot area looking for winter Swans first but only found Mutes, a Green Sandpiper in one of the ditches was a nice surprise though and there was a lot of Fieldfares in the fields (where else) plus one or two Buzzards sat there but as always they fly off as soon as you stop the car, we ended up at Boston Park but there wasn’t a right lot on there. 

stonking bill

a couple of Common Crossbills with them and as well
as the less heavy bill they seemed slighter overall

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Yorkshire Ivory

Late Sunday afternoon just after I had finished photographing the Great Northern Diver at Scarborough Mark rang to inform me that a juv Ivory Gull had just been found at Patrington Haven, Sunday afternoon just as it was getting dark was not the best time to receive such news. However I had already got today booked off but after the disappointment of the Northumberland birds it was fingers crossed, fortunately it was still present Monday morning and some quick thinking birders had brought it some fresh fish which it feasted on before flying back out to the estuary where it spent the day, returning to the fish late afternoon, it had followed the same pattern yesterday so I planned to get there for just after first light, but I mistimed it, it was busy through Hull even early on and it had already been light more than half an hour when I arrived, there were already birders coming back saying it had been on the fish but had flown back out to the estuary, oh well at least it was still there. I found the bird sat on a clump of vegetation on the edge of the Saltmarsh preening, I got reasonable scope views although it was very windy today which didn’t help, my second after seeing the bird at Aldeburgh, Suffolk in 1999, still it was another Yorkshire tick for me, I was rather hoping it would change its routine today, it wasn’t a good weather forecast for this afternoon, and fortunately it did, after a couple of hours it flew back in and circled around a couple of times before plucking up the courage to drop down to the fish, a superb bird really confiding, I seem to remember the Aldeburgh bird was just the same, it had a good feed for 20 mins or more allowing all the photographers to fill their boots, and memory cards, before flying back to the estuary much to the disappointment of the late comers. After lunch I headed back and spent a rather drab, grey afternoon at North Cave Wetlands, it was very quiet although I flushed a Green Woodpecker on the main path, it flew up onto a post but by the time I had got the camera out it was off, not that there was any light anyway.
first views

eventually it took flight

and headed back in

lunch time

tucking in

don't know what was on the menu

changing light when the sun went in

came even closer

take off

back to the estuary

Waders on the mud

winter Grebes at North Cave

plus Pochards

drying off