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Monday, 27 March 2017

Sunny Sunday on the Yorks Coast

Out with Pete Watson this Sunday and it was a lovely sunny day if still a little chilly which was even more accentuated by my recent chemo session, we decided to head up to the Raptor viewpoint at Wykeham first thing and although a bit slow to start with eventually some Buzzards started to get up closely followed by several Goshawks, we had at least six by late morning including a bird that perched up down in Troutsdale, we took a chance in dropping down there hoping it might still be perched up, unfortunately not but it was flying around above the wood so we got some closer views, we stopped at the bridge at Hilla Green on the way back seeing the Dippers again, the male displaying to the female today, then carried on into Langdale Forest, unfortunately he road has been gated so far along now so we couldn’t get to the area the Great Grey Shrike has been seen however several parties of Siskins and Crossbills plus a Chiffchaff put on a good show.  Mid-afternoon we headed to the coast to spend the remainder of it at Bempton to year tick Kittiwake, Puffin etc with the added bonus of a Short Eared Owl over the car park as we arrived, plenty of seabird action at the cliffs as to be expected but a very cool sea breeze soon got the better of me so we retreated back to the car after an hour or so. As the Great Grey Shrike at Acaster Airfield had been reported this afternoon and with Pete not seeing it yet we thought we’d give it a try on the way home, as we arrived a birder looking across the field near Ibbotsons Trailer Park pointed us in the right direction and there it was straight away perched on a small bush, a bit distant but looking splendid in the evening sunshine, a good end to the day.
a pair of Crossbills at the viewpoint

a rather distant perched Goshawk, good scope views though

dropped into Troutsdale but by the time we got there it was flying around again

as well as several Buzzards

Chiffy in Langdale Forest

as well as some more Crossbills

Seabird city at Bempton

Acaster Airfield Shrike looking splendid in the evening sun

Sunday, 19 March 2017

South & West Yorks

Out with Mark today and we headed South this morning to Hagg Lane Flash at Newington near Bawtry where a drake Green Winged Teal had been found yesterday, it was still present this morning but typically right over the other side of the Flash, good scope views though and a good selection of other Wildfowl. As we were nearby we decided to have a look at the two Shore Larks at Stainton next, a good inland record, after eventually finding the site we made our way up to the top of the slag heap and with other birders watching them we were soon onto them, one of the other birders mentioned they had seen a Raven fly into the nearby quarry so we went over to have a look and picked it up flying around on the other side, such a big bird it dwarved the other Corvids and a nice bonus bird. Next up was Broomhill Flash hoping for Garganey and other stuff, two drakes and a female duly obliged though distantly. We were disappointed there were no Sand Martins about but we knew there had been some at Swillington Ings so after a bit of lunch we headed North, called at the Lemonroyd Filter Beds again and with no workmen about today we managed to get onto a Water Pipit amongst a handful of Meadows, on the very windy main reserve we failed to find the Long Tailed Duck but three Sand Martins and the Black Necked Grebe were good. It was very blowy so we soon moved on to a slightly more sheltered Fairburn Ings, the Great White Egret was out in a ditch behind the Flashes today so no hoped for photo opportunity for Mark and the feeders were also very quiet so we called it a day. 
the distant Green Winged Teal

Shore Larks at Stainton

also distant Garganey at Broomhill Flash

Water Pipit on the filter beds

obliging Dunlin on the causeway at Swillington

Monday, 13 March 2017

A trio of Inland Wetlands

I was out on Sunday and as the weather looked better away from the Coast I decided to do some Inland Wetland reserves starting at Nosterfield with the chance of year ticking Smew, called in at Ladybridge Lakes first on the offchance Fridays Ring Necked Duck might have returned but it hadn’t, a good selection of Wildfowl but nothing out of the ordinary, carried on to Flasks Lake where the 1st winter drake Smew has been residing for a while but there was no sign of that neither, I suppose they all have to go sometime, it was a lovely morning though, the Great Crested Grebes were displaying and I just had a steady wander around. Late morning I headed South, Swillington Ings was next on the agenda, I went to the Lemonroyd Filter Beds first hoping for Water Pipit but ironically even though it was Sunday they were working in the compound so there was very little about although I did have my first Chiffchaff of the year singing away, the main reserve held the usual fare plus the long staying Long Tailed Duck on Lemonroyd Lake and the Black Necked Grebe now attaining its summer finery on the Eastern Reedbeds. Mid-afternoon I moved on to Fairburn Ings where a walk along Lin Dyke saw the usual stuff plus a couple more Chiffchaffs then a local informed me the Great White Egret was showing well from the feeding platforms by the Visitor Centre, I went down and spent a bit of time watching it feeding along the edge of the reeds then carried on to Pickup Hide where I saw my first Willow Tit for the year then gradually moved round to the Kingfisher screen where there was not a lot happening, with nothing more to do I headed back for a second look at the Egret watching it until it flew off late afternoon, magnificent bird. 
Great Crested Grebes displaying at Nosterfield

the Black Necked Grebe at Swillington Ings coming into summer plumage

and the Long Tailed Duck on Lemonroyd Lake

Fairburns Great White

a good selection of passerines from the Pickup Hide

Oh and the odd Squirrel

a second look at the Egret

until it decided to go

Sunday, 12 March 2017

A Great Grey afternoon

A couple of hours to spare this afternoon (Saturday) so I nipped down to Acaster Airfield for another session with the Great Grey Shrike, it was in the area beyond Ibbotsons Trailer Park this afternoon and initial views from further down the road were fairly distant, however I moved back to Ibbotsons to see if I could see it from the far side of the Trailer Park and discovered it linked to a part of the old runway with all the hay bales lined all along it, I walked out and soon found the bushes the Shrike had been perched in and discovered it was still sat there, I approached carefully and was quite amazed just how close it let me get, it even flew down onto the bales to catch and dispatch a Bumblebee then flew back to the bush, it also perched up on a couple of trees nearby and started singing at one point, wasn’t sure whether it was in response to a pair of Buzzards that had started displaying. A super approachable bird but a grey cloudy afternoon meant the poor light levels didn't lend itself to photography.

dispatching a Bumblebee

having a good sing song from this perch