Saturday, 24 September 2016

Autumnal Birds

The classes start again on Tuesday, and the birds are certainly migrating.  Here's a male Blackcap feeding on small cotoneaster berries in the garden.  Let's hope we can also find the birds out there in the wild!

At the time of writing there are a couple of vacancies on Wednesday and Friday afternoons.  There are fewer vacancies in the mornings. If you are interested in another session, please ask. 

In the Autumn we'll be looking for special migrants including: Redstarts, Whinchats, Wryneck, Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe and Hen Harriers. Autumn is also the best time of year to enjoy really good views of Bearded Tits, so we'll be going to see them. 

So, if you are interested in learning more about your local wildlife in beautiful and secluded venues for less than £10 a week, then this is the course for you! We visit a different local hotspot each week and identify all the birds and as much other wildlife as we can. This includes mammals, and fungi with butterflies, dragonflies and wild flowers. The course runs twice daily Tuesday to Friday. If you are interested in more details of the course, or wish to be placed on a waiting list, please leave a comment next to one of my posts or email me on the address above.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Nearly Behind Bars

On 26th August a loud call of a Green Woodpecker rang out just behind the garden.  This would have been a new bird for the garden, and surrounding area, but after a careful search it was never heard again, despite a daily excursion to look for it.  There have been rumours of sightings in East Park in recent years, but in these parts it is a scarce bird, and East Park is a very busy place for this wary bird.  However, our cemetery is much quieter.

Then today a woman was going on her brisk morning walk, when she spotted it on a very thin, dead young tree.  I was informed, and decided to see if I could use my car as a hide to get closer to it.  I drove to the place where it has been seen with no luck until my passenger spotted it feeding on the ground.  At first glance it was obvious that it was an immature bird, with its streaky juvenile plumage being replaced by adult feathers.  It wasn't too far from the car, and as my passenger was closer, she had to attempt to take photographs, despite the fact that the only other photos she'd taken previously were with a box-brownie!  After a short time I drove past the bird, turned round and slowly approached again, so that I was nearer the bird.  I was able to take many photos over the next 10 minutes.  Luckily, no one was putting flowers on their relatives graves this morning.  As the car engine eventually started up again it once more flew into the thin dead tree, and we left it to feed it peace.

It's just a shame that the Woodpecker couldn't be taken without the fence of the prison behind it!

Juvenile Green Woodpecker

All remaining Green Woodpecker photos (c) 2017 Linda Flowers

 Immature White Wagtail?
 Young Common Lizard

Thursday, 25 August 2016

2017 Wildlife Calendars Ready!

A unique feature of the calendar is that it includes 300+  lines of info of what wildlife to see, & when & where to see it 
Goosander family (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
 My new 2017 Yorkshire Wildlife Calendar is hot off the press.  Featuring stunning photos of Hawfinch, Great White Egret, Firecrest, Cuckoo, Bee-eater, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Great Crested Grebes, Goosander, Linnet, Redstart and Kingfisher.
Male Redstart

Almost all photos were taken within the old Yorkshire boundary by top-notch local photographers incl: Mike Ashforth, Maggie Bruce, Jane Robinson, Tony Robinson, Martin Standley and yours truly.  Cost £9.20 for 1 (incl P & P) to UK addresses only.  Cost £8 if collecting in person [2 calendars are £17.55, 3 calendars are £26.10, and 4 calendars are £34.10 by post]   
Bee-eater (c) 2016 Tony Robinson
These are lower resolution pictures.  The higher resolution images can only be seen on the actual calendars

Friday, 19 August 2016

Here's looking at You, Kid!

Yesterday afternoon a male Sparrowhawk popped in to the garden for a bath.  He didn't know that heavy rain was forecast today, and he would have unlimited water for the next 36 hours, or so!   He stayed for over 5 minutes, but was on the alert the whole time, looking for danger in every direction.   despite his vigilance, I was able to creep from the back of the room to almost to the front of the window, taking shots the whole time.  He appeared to have some brownish tail feathers in his tail, so he may not have been as mature as we originally suspected, but he was old enough to father a brood locally this year.
Despite looking through the double-glazing he hadn't spotted me
 Right profile
 Checking behind
 membrane coming over eyes for protection before a splash in the bath 
 Checking the rooftop
 Having a splash
White nape and back feathers, where outer feathers have been plucked off by thorns when chasing prey

 Thoroughly waterlogged

Monday, 8 August 2016

Spoonbills at Alkborough

Last week I visited Alkborough Flats, and was surprised to see as many as 11 Spoonbills.  This is the largest number of individuals I've seen on the Humber.  As you can see from some of the photos several of these were immature birds - the ones with black tips on their primaries.  These birds must have had a wonderful breeding season on the near continent, as prevailing winds can't be responsible for bringing quite so many of these strange looking birds to these shores.
All Spoonbill photos (c) 2016 Jane Robinson
My classes will be resuming towards the end of September and we will be visiting Alkborough, but it is very unlikely that the Spoonbill will still be there, so I let all my 'students' know about the birds, so they could visit to try and find them.  Several people have let me know that they've seen them including Jane, Pat, Dave & Joan from Friday mornings, Simon & Chris from Friday afternoons, and Lynn from Wednesday mornings.  They all saw more Spoonbills than I did, with the record currently standing at 15.
 Spoonbill, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit & Black-headed Gull
Same Species, plus a Cormorant
 Record Shot of Greenshank (c) 2016 Lynn Hall
 The Maze at Julian's Bower (c) 2016 Lynn Hall