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Monday, 25 April 2016

Spring arrivals in Teesside

With more and more summer visitors arriving I decided on a bit of year ticking up in Teesside today(Sunday), started at Dorman’s Pool where several Sedge Warblers were singing from the brambles along the path to the hide, by the hide a Grasshopper Warbler sat out and reeled for a short while, always nice when they pose, there was also a couple of Whitethroats in the area (two down), from the end of the path I joined a few others looking over the top corner of Saltholme East where a pair of Garganey had been yesterday but there was no sign of them today. Went round to Saltholme next where a Little Egret and Grey Heron posed in front of the Phil Stead Hide and as I was walking round to the Visitor Centre I had my first Swift of the year. The main reserve was fairly quiet although I had my first Reed Warblers for the year singing at the Wildlife Watchpoint, I moved on and took a look at the Greatham Creek area, a few Avocets, Black Tailed Godwits, Dunlin and Ringed Plover were on the Tidal Pools and a Common Sandpiper was feeding along the Creek itself, Seaton Common next but that was really quiet so I decide to head for home via Danby Beacon on the offchance there may be some Dotterel around, there wasn’t but a couple of Wheatears entertained, finished off at Scaling Dam where a Little Ringed Plover posed in front of the new Hide and a good few Hirundines looked good in the late afternoon sun as they hawked over the car park.
not very showy at first

thats more like it

Gropper showing well

so thats why they call it a Willow Warbler

a few Linnets around

Herons from Phil Stead Hide

and Gadwall

first Swift of the year

Grebes at the Wildlife Watchpoint

a mighty fine looking Black Tailed Godwit on the Tidal Pools

plus Common Sandpiper on the Creek

and one or two Seals

Danby Beacon



Red Grouse on the run

LRP at Scaling Dam

another Willow Warbler

Friday, 22 April 2016

Patch Tick

Taking Maggie (the dog) for a walk on the Ings this afternoon, it having been a good week for Raptors, a pair of Peregrines, at least four Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel, we had done the rounds and I was having one last look over the Cornfield NR before we left when I espied two large birds coming over, I thought surely not but they were, two Common Cranes, I really need to get another pocket camera though, my old one packed in last year, because they were quite low at first and I could have got a record shot, they headed off over Clifton Ings circling and gaining height before slowly drifting off Westwards, all in all I was watching them for around ten mins, it was interesting to note one had been seen over the LDV this morning as well.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Top(hill) Birding

Out with Pete today and as there was nothing in particular to go for and we hadn’t done Tophill Low for a while we thought we’d go there first and then maybe carry on to the coast, upon arrival we decided to do the North side first, took a look over D Reservoir that initially seemed really quiet but there was actually quite a few Ducks on mainly Tufted with a few lingering Goldeneye, a load of Hirundines feeding along the far wall included my first House Martins for the year, we carried on to North Marsh where several Sedge Warblers were singing away but the real stars were a very showy pair of Cetti’s Warblers one of which posed on the screen next to the hide within 10 mins of us getting there, we stayed with them for quite a while getting more good views of them in the reeds etc and although they returned to the screen on a couple more occasions they unfortunately didn’t come out on top again, also a couple of Buzzards and a Marsh Harrier went over, a Cuckoo was calling and a young Grass Snake slithered through the grass. Eventually tearing ourselves away we headed to the top end where a pair of Garganey had been seen on Hempholme Meadows Pools but the river bank which runs quite close to there is unfortunately a public footpath and a large group with a pack of dogs had been through and flushed everything so we returned to the car for lunch. After lunch we did the South side which was pretty uneventful until we reached South Marsh East, here we found a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, a drake Red Crested Pochard and several Marsh Frogs entertained, we carried on to Watton Borrow Pits which played host to a couple of Little Egrets and at least two Lesser Whitethroats were singing, by this time it had got to 4pm and we deemed it too late to go to the coast so we headed back up to Hempholme Meadows to see if the Garganey had returned, they hadn’t but all in all a very enjoyable day. There was a little detour off to Wiggington on the way home when news of a Hoopoe there came through, unfortunately there had been no further sightings when we got there but hopefully it may get found again tomorrow.
young Moorhens already

Cetti's posing

pair of Buzzards

Cetti's seen several more times in reeds etc

Willow Warbler

amourous Marsh Frogs were being very loud

another little brown job that cocks its tail

Monday, 11 April 2016

A Peak in Springtime activity

Sunday the 10th, I was out with Mark and we headed over to Leeds to meet up with Darren and Richard who took us to a local site as they had some info on a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, several Warblers were singing away as we set out including my first Willow Warblers and Blackcap of the year, reaching the right area it wasn’t long before we located a drumming bird and although it remained high up it drummed and preened there for quite a while allowing us good and prolonged views, a Green Sandpiper was on a nearby pool. Next up was Owler Bar in the Peak District for a wintering Great Grey Shrike, as we headed into the area Darren soon located the bird sat on a bush but after a minute or so it dropped down and despite a good stomp around for the next 40 mins or more we failed to find it again, quite a few Tree Pipits were present though which was a bonus. We were going to try for Goshawk down the end of Derwent Reservoir next but the road has been closed for the summer season so we went to the Cutthroat Bridge area instead, we headed up onto the Moors and after a good trek round we managed to find a cracking male Ring Ouzel and a couple of Wheatear as well the usual Red Grouse and Meadow Pipits. Late afternoon we headed back to Leeds calling off at Swillington Ings on the way, a few Wagtails on one of the islands include a couple each of Yellow and White but there was no sign of the earlier Blue Headed, the Black Necked Grebes were also back in but were a bit distant this afternoon, as me and Mark made our way back to York we called off at Jackdaw Quarry near Tadcaster, no Peregrines but a pair of Red Kites entertained.
always nice to see

showing off his red cap as he preened

Green Sandpiper

Spring Warblers

Tree Pipit at Owler Bar

Red Kite in the Quarry