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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Raptor Roost

Out after work primarily for the Raptor roost at Blacktoft, a family party of two adult and two immature Bewick’s Swans were seen in fields near Swinefleet on the way, Blacktoft as per usual at this time of year was very quiet just a handful of Ducks and a few Waders, the roost had up to ten Marsh and a ringtail Hen Harrier plus a Barn Owl was sat on a nest box.
Bewick's family

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Weekend Wanderings

It was up to Teesside via Scaling Dam on Saturday, I was hoping the recent Brambling would still be around but I didn’t see it nevertheless it was a nice sunny morning and a Marsh Tit was in attendance, a fine male Merlin stirred things up as he dashed through and a couple of Buzzards went over. I carried on to Redcar and had a look from the seafront but the tide was well out and there was no sign of the recent Scoter flock so I soon moved on to South Gare, fairly quiet on the Gare but a Great Northern Diver and a pair of Red Breasted Mergansers were out in the Bay. Early afternoon I headed north of the Tees encountering an adult Yellow Legged Gull sat on a lamppost by the Haverton Hill Hotel but a search of the fields nearby failed to locate the Bean Goose, I went on to Dormans Pool to try for the Green Winged Teal, a group of birders by the road put me on it but it was right at the far end, I moved up to the top car park to see if I could get a better view but ended up having to carry further along then up the bank to get a better view of that end, well worth it though got some good views of the Teal. Went back for another look for the Bean Goose and with more Geese in the field I was fairly optimistic, sure enough a quick scan soon found it and the accompanying Pinkfeet, its being mooted as a Taiga the last couple of days and with the large size and longer bill I would tend to agree with that ID.
plenty of common birds around the car park at Scaling Dam

including this Marsh Tit but he didn't hang around long

easy to see how they got their alternative name "Green Plover"

Yellow Legged Gull on a lamppost as I passed Haverton Hill Hotel

got a bit closer but looking into the light

"Taiga" Bean Goose
Not a very good weather forecast for today but it was fine this morning so I went down to Beckfield Lane to see the Waxwing that’s been there through the week, not many around this winter so it was nice to catch up with one, it was feeding on a Cotoneaster at the junction with Norman Drive but was only coming down for three or four berries then it was back up the tops of nearby trees, it eventually moved off to another area so I took that cue to head off to Temple Newsam woods near Leeds to try for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, it is an historic site for them but there has also been a few reports this year including yesterday morning but despite a good tramp around for a couple of hours there was no sight nor sound of any today. As I headed back to York I had a couple of Red Kites soaring over the Tadcaster by-pass, I called in at Askham Bogs, it was fairly quiet but there was a nice mixed flock of Goldfinch, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, early afternoon the forecast rain started so I called it a day. 
York's star bird at the moment

down the hatch

Treecreeper at Askham Bogs

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Gone Surfing

Another misty murky day although the sun did break through on a couple occasions, me and Mark headed to Filey first thing for the drake Surf Scoter that had been found yesterday, it was feeding about halfway along the Brig and we were amazed at just how close it was, giving us our best ever views and photographs of this species, there was also a good selection of Waders along the Brig. We then went off to Scarborough Mere where the long staying drake Scaup is starting to look a bit less scruffy but that unfortunately kept its distance, then after half an hour at Forge Valley where a Brambling has been attending the feeders recently (not today) we headed for Grindale, as we passed through Wold Newton on the way we noted there were still three or four Snow Buntings in with the large flock of Linnets but at Grindale there was no sign of the Rough Legged Buzzard at first, we had a tour around the area and eventually came across a group of birders who were scoping the bird sat distantly in the middle of a field, it wasn’t long before it was flying around though and it eventually flew back across the road and plonked itself down on a nearby hedge, it sat there for quite a while but was then noted flying off over the back of the field, we had the inclination it might have returned to one of its favourite areas, the track out to High Easton Farm, we drove round there and sure enough there it was and once again it showed very well in this area. 
amazing views

a few Waders entertained on the way back

Scaup at Scarborough Mere didn't really come close enough

initial views of the Rough Leg

sat on this hedge for a while

before moving round to one of its favoured areas

trying to balance on a thin twig