Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Time to Switch

Those who check in regularly will know that the frequency of my blogs on this site has reduced drastically. That is not to say that I have stopped publishing photos from my days out - quite the contrary. Thanks to my wife I have switched on to the joys of Facebook, and have set up a page entitled "Wolds Birdlife".

One of the reasons for the switch is that it is easier to keep in touch and have conversations about aspects of the blog. So if you want to keep in contact, then you need to use this link.

This page will largely become defunct from here on. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you on Facebook.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Long Time No See

I can't believe it has been 3 months since my last post - but I guess that has been a combination of the bad weather, work, and having assignments to finish for my degree course. Never mind.

Over the last few weeks I have been pleased to notice an increase in the numbers of barn owl around. I regularly see three in the mornings on my way to work, so perhaps winter has not been as hard as we may have thought.

I'm not sure the same can be said out in the North Sea of late. Yesterday afternoon I managed to get out for a couple of hours and popped over to Barmston to see if the Iceland Gull was till about. No sign of the white-wing, but there was lots of other activity as it approached high water.

There were upwards of 6 Little Gulls and immature Kittiwakes floating up and down the cliff edge, and I managed to get some close-up views of Sanderling, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, and a couple of Black-Tailed Godwits.

What surprised me was the amount of mess all over the beach. Yes there was a lot of human debris, as there always is along the North Sea coast. But what struck me was the amount of weed and mussels. Even more surprising were the dozen or more mature lobsters that has been washed up. The sea must have been particularly rough of late for this to happen! I guess that that has been the effect of the strong easterlies we have been having.

The conditions seem also to have taken their toll on the birdlife. Firstly, I came across the carcass of a juvenile Puffin, and then found a mature Guillimot having a struggle with the surf. On the way back to the car park I found a juvenile Kittiwake perched on the edge of the cliff, seemingly exhausted. Hopefully it made it back into the air and found something to eat as the tide ebbed.


Winter seems loathed to loosen its grip - but Spring will out.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Late, but still a Cracker.

I had to work over Christmas this year, which meant that my time off came in early January. Given the weather that was perhaps a bonus.
I decided to go over to the other side and pay a visit to some of my favourite haunts on the other side of the Bridge. First call was Far Ings, with a view to seeing the reported drake Smew. I arrived early with an eye on spotting a Beardie or two collecting grit. With no success after an hour I headed for the Hotel lake for the Smew. There was a nice pair of Goldeneye and two “winter” Great Crested Grebes dancing for eachother, but no Smew. Later I was to find out that it has been spending time across the water at Welton Water, returning late in the afternoon. A Bittern was visible from Ness, but was a bit distant.

I decided to move on, driving down the road to Alkborough. The Prospect Lane was marked as closed, but that I think was only for ice some weeks ago. Not knowing otherwise I parked on the edge of the village and walked down the hill loaded up with scope, camera, bins, and a rucksack full of lunch – yes I got quite warm.
The view from the main hide was all a bit distant, but despite that I was treated to some interesting sights – 16 Spotted Redshank with what looked like a large Snipe amongst them (the reported Long-Billed Dowitcher I was told), lots of Lapwing, Knot, and Dunlin. Interestingly, I didn’t see one harrier. The walk back to the car was long, but was rewarded with an overflying Green Sandpiper and 300-400 Pink-Footed geese which came down across the Humber around Brough Haven.


Back to Far Ings. Still no Smew, but there was a flock of c40 Waxwings in the bushes behind Reeds Hotel. They were feeding on rose hips and generally readying themselves for their roost. This was my closest encounter with that fabulous bird, and I found it very difficult to drag myself away. Eventually they moved on and so did I.
My last stop was Ness hide where I witnessed two pairs of Coot squabbling over one of the side pools. The squabbling eventually and inevitably resulted in noisy fisticuffs.

As thing quietened the last highlight of the day began – a “murmuration” of Starlings. It started with only 5 birds, but gradually the numbers built until a knowledgeable companion estimated the numbers at well over 5,000 birds. As quickly as it had started, the “murmuration” end with every last Starling diving into the reedbeds. I videoed the spectacle, but at 108Mb, the file is too large to share here.