To coincide with Robert Fuller's Summer Exhibition yesterday saw the first day of a few wildlife walks in the Yorkshire Wolds. In the morning we met in Millington Wood, and we walked along the road to the pond. We heard a few Willow Warblers, and a Blackcap, plus a very distant Whitethroat. Of these we had a brief view of the Blackcap, but better views of one of the Willow Warblers. When we reached the pond a large Tawny Owl flew out from a hawthorn and flew quite some distance to some far Ash trees on the lower hillside. She perched low down in one of the trees and we were able to observe her for quite some time. She spent some time hunting, by dropping on to prey from her perch to the long grass below, but we weren't able to see what she caught.
Stoat with Vole
Around the pond itself House Martins and Swallows flew around, and Moorhens fought each other. Bullfinches were heard, as were Linnets and Goldfinches. We walked up the valley, and in the final hawthorn an immature Yellowhammer was perched for a few seconds before disappearing into the scrub to our right. We climbed up the path and had close encounters with Yellowhammers and Meadow Pipits flew just above the grass level.
Tawny Owl chick
We made our way back to the road and spotted a female Swallow drying herself off in a dead tree. Along here we saw a mixture of birds before someone spotted a Tawny Owl chick in another Ash tree, so that's why the female Tawny was there. It bobbed its head from side to side as it wondered what we were doing watching it! We walked as far as the Yorkshire Water compound, and here we had a good view of a male Marsh Tit. On the way back we kept having to move onto the grass verge to avoid cyclists and motorists, but looking back a Stoat was running towards us with an item of prey hanging from its jaws. Eventually, it became aware of our presence, stopped in its tracks, looked in our direction before deciding to cross the road and disappear into the long grass on the opposite side of the road. This was probably the highlight of the morning walk. When Ben and I drove back to the gallery we slowed down at the old Little Owl nest site. We could see plenty of bird droppings at the entrance hole, and then we could just see beyond the leaves obscuring the hole that 2 Kestrel chicks were looking out at the world outside.
At lunch time my nephew and I visited the Robert Fuller Gallery, after looking at the new paintings, where we also marvelled at all the live cameras. We arrived in time to see 2 young Kestrels in a different nest looking out, and Ben even saw the penultimate chick leave. We were also able to see young Stoats in a hollow log tugging at some tied down Rabbits. Meanwhile highlights of the Kestrel chicks was playing on a loop on the gallery front desk. Tree Sparrows and the usual garden visitors were on the feeders.
Common Blue on Common Spotted Orchid
Butterfly forcing Moth off its orchid!
Green Sawfly (thanks Barry Warrington)
At 1.30 o'clock we shared cars to Wharram Percy. For many details of what we saw, please follow this link to Thursday's visit: Here The Redstarts and spotted Flycatchers near the ancient monument were much harder to locate, although we did see the female & at least one immature Redstart. Our viewing was hampered by some over-inquisitive cows and lots of human visitors. However new things seen included Spotted Flycatchers both in and near Wharram Quarry. There were more Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Small Heaths, and Marbled Whites around, a very strange green and black insect, which Barry Warrington has kindly identified as a Green Sawfly.
Immature Willow Warbler