Monday, 2 December 2013

Foggy East Park

It was very atmospheric when I arrived in East Park today. The thick blanket of fog made photography tricky, though. In the little boating lake two female goosander preened themselves, surrounded by a raucous group of mixed gulls bathing. The rowans between the lakes were very busy with many Blackbirds, Woodpigeons and a Goldfinch feeding on berries. I spotted a Sparrowhawk sat atop a tree, which then gave a half-hearted chase to a thrush over the boating lake.
 I walked around the lake and came across more Goosanders, first a pair, then a large group of 14 on the east side of the lake.
 Some screeching noises mixed with black-headed gull calls called my attention. A parakeet! it flew into a garden by the park and then reappeared on a tree. I was able to approach and take some foggy photos, this was my first parakeet in Hull. A crow then came and scared it off.
 While walking on the east side of the park I heard the soft 'tu-i' call of a warbler and I located a Chiffchaff on a large willow, feeding with a pair of Blue tits. I manage some shots, and then of another individual near the bridge.
 No signs of the one-legged moorhen by the wooden bridge of the lake.
While trying to get closer to the Goosanders hiding behind tree trunks I saw a Treecreeper quite close to me. It crept higher in the tree, but it was behaving strangely. Then it stopped completely pretending to be a branch. A Magpie called from the same tree. Was the treecreeper trying to avoid being seen by the magpie? It stayed motionless for quite a few minutes, and I could get my best treecreeper photos ever. The Magpie flew off and the Treecreeper carried on climbing the tree.
Drake Mallard
Female Goosanders
Bathing common gull
A young woodpigeon tries to reach a rowan berry
Woodpigeon eating rowan berries
Ring-necked parakeet
Ring-necked parakeet
Black-headed gull
Drake Goosander
'frozen' treecreeper
Spot the magpie and the treecreper
Another one of the treecreeper
Bird List
  1. Black-headed Gull    
  2. Blackbird    
  3. Blue Tit    
  4. Canada Goose    
  5. Carrion Crow    
  6. Chaffinch    
  7. Chiffchaff 2   
  8. Collared Dove   S - Singing male
  9. Common Gull    
  10. Coot    
  11. Dunnock    
  12. Feral Pigeon    
  13. Goldcrest    
  14. Goldfinch    
  15. Goosander 18   
  16. Great Spotted Woodpecker    
  17. Great Tit    
  18. Greylag Goose    
  19. Herring Gull    
  20. House Sparrow    
  21. Long-tailed Tit    
  22. Magpie    
  23. Mallard    
  24. Moorhen    
  25. Pochard    
  26. Ring-necked Parakeet 1   
  27. Robin   S - Singing male
  28. Sparrowhawk 1   
  29. Starling    
  30. Treecreeper 1   
  31. Tufted Duck    
  32. Woodpigeon    

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Wild swans at North Cave

With a day starting so sunny we had to get out this Sunday morning. We headed of to North Cave, where I hoped to see the Whooper Swan family that had been around the reserve for a week or so. The weather didn't disappoint. Although puddles had a thick layer of ice that the kids delighted in breaking with their wellies, by midday the temperature was quite pleasant. We had the usual hide squabbles for the binoculars (note to self: must buy another set or two), but, my eldest had fun taking photos with her mobile, which was a nice surprise. As for birds, we saw the Whooper Swan family on the far end of Reed bed lake. They flew off after a few minutes - they seemed nervous and there were many people around, but we got to see them and another family, both with three young, from Crosslands hide. One of the families was quite close to the hide, with a pair of Mute Swans also present nearby.
 I watched a butterfly (likely a Peacock) flying along the hedgerow in Dryham Lane. After lunch in the Wild Bird Cafe - bacon butties and hot chocolates - moods were much improved, and we watched and photographed a Common Darter on the reserve entrance gate. I guess not much time left for the last dragonflies of the year.
Bright skies from East Hide
Shoveler up-ending and swimming in a circle 
The Whooper family about to take off from Reedbed Lake
 Whooper Swan family
Two young Whooper swans
A very tame female House Sparrow by the Wild Bird Cafe
Male Common Darter basking by the reserve entrance.
A short clip of the Whooper Swan family by Crosslands Hide

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull    
  2. Blackbird    
  3. Canada Goose    
  4. Carrion Crow    
  5. Chaffinch    
  6. Common Gull    
  7. Coot    
  8. Cormorant 4   
  9. Dunnock    
  10. Feral Pigeon    
  11. Goldfinch    
  12. Great Crested Grebe 5   
  13. Greylag Goose    
  14. House Sparrow    
  15. Jackdaw    
  16. Kestrel 1   
  17. Lapwing    
  18. Little Grebe    
  19. Mallard    
  20. Meadow Pipit    
  21. Moorhen    
  22. Mute Swan 3   
  23. Pied Wagtail
  24. Pochard    
  25. Robin    
  26. Rook    
  27. Shelduck    
  28. Shoveler    
  29. Snipe    
  30. Starling    
  31. Teal    
  32. Whooper Swan 10   
  33. Wigeon    
  34. Woodpigeon

Monday, 14 October 2013

Two lovely Grey birds in a (not so) grey day

I had a short trip to Tophill Low this morning. I wanted to see Whooper Swans, but they were nowhere to be seen at D res. On the approach road, however, I had a group of birds running in front of the car. I first thought they were pheasants, but soon was pleasantly surprised to see they were Grey Partridges. I hadn't seen this species for over 12 years. They stopped long enough for me to take some photos, although given the light conditions I had to take them through the windscreen.
  In the reserve itself things were quiet. In D-res many Coots, a few Great Crested Grebes, Pochard, Wigeon and a few Goldeneyes. As I walked towards D woods, a couple of Grey Wagtails fed together on the wall, my second grey species for the day.
 There were many Long-tailed tit flocks about in the reserve, and in D woods I saw Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Marsh Tits.
  Just a moorhen in North Marsh, no sign of Kingfishers. The windy conditions and occasional rain probably putting them off. Other than the colourful Galloway, some works by Helmpholme meadows meant the place was quite deserted.
 As I walked by the straight side of D res, I heard the rattling call of a crow. Two carrion crows were mobbing a Kestrel very vigorously, the Kestrel seemed to be distressed as it kept calling. I wonder if it was a young individual and the crows were taking advantage of its inesperience.
Despite the forecast of rain, the sun shore in some bright spells, and, although there was a bit of drizzle at some point, it was overall a pleasant walk around the north of the reserve.
 Two young rabbits snoozing.
and the snoozing Pochards
Given the poor light conditions, I was happy to get a Goldcrest in focus.
Goldeneye moulting
I like the size comparison of a Common Gull and Herring Gull in this shot.
Unfortunately, the Great Black Back gull flock took off before I could take some shots
This caterpillar, still to ID (please comment if you know what it is!), and some wasps were the only invertebrates I saw today.
Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull 
  2. Blackbird 
  3. Blue Tit 
  4. Bullfinch 
  5. Carrion Crow 
  6. Chiffchaff 
  7. Coal Tit 
  8. Common Gull 
  9. Coot 
  10. Cormorant 
  11. Dunnock 
  12. Goldcrest 
  13. Goldeneye 
  14. Great Black-backed Gull 
  15. Great Crested Grebe 
  16. Great Tit 
  17. Grey Wagtail 2 
  18. Greylag Goose 
  19. Herring Gull 
  20. House Sparrow 
  21. Jackdaw 
  22. Kestrel 1 
  23. Little Grebe 2 
  24. Long-tailed Tit 
  25. Mallard 
  26. Marsh Tit 
  27. Moorhen 
  28. Mute Swan 2 
  29. Pheasant 
  30. Pochard 
  31. Robin S - Singing male 
  32. Skylark 
  33. Treecreeper 1 
  34. Tufted Duck 
  35. Wigeon 
  36. Woodpigeon 


Monday, 7 October 2013

A sunny sunday in North Cave Wetlands

Unusually, a sunday trip to North Cave with the wonderful company of Jess Stokes and Gui Saúco. It is quite a shock to see a bus and a quite full car park and people everywhere! (I am used to the very quiet mondays), but the weather is amazing, almost 20 oC, no wind and almost clear blue skies. The sound of a large flock of Greylag and Canada Geese greets us, and then a large skein of Pink Foot geese flies high overhead.
While at Turret hide the whole of the geese flock on the village lake takes off and starts flying in circles around the reserve, until they settle again later.

 In Island lake, Jess spotted this Wood Sandpiper quite close to the hide.
 And after leaving Turret hide, there are several invertebrates on the wing:
 Speckled Wood
A very bright male Common Darter (we also see at last two pairs mating)
The hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta
I only manage this shot of a late Small Copper feeding on rape flowers. We also have a fleeting view of a Comma, followed by a Stoat crossing the path!
This male Migrant darter settled on the butterfly walk
 We got to see these Egyptian Geese, which have been in the reserve for a few days.

This female Marsh Harrier flew a couple of times around the reserve...
..flushing the Lapwing flock.
Bird list
  1. Black Swan   
  2. Black-headed Gull    
  3. Blackbird    
  4. Canada Goose    
  5. Carrion Crow    
  6. Chaffinch    
  7. Coot    
  8. Curlew   
  9. Egyptian Goose
  10. Feral Pigeon    
  11. Gadwall    
  12. Goldfinch    
  13. Great Black-backed Gull    
  14. Great Crested Grebe    
  15. Green Sandpiper  
  16. Green Woodpecker 
  17. Greylag Goose 100
  18. Jackdaw    
  19. Lapwing    
  20. Little Grebe    
  21. Magpie    
  22. Mallard    
  23. Moorhen    
  24. Mute Swan    
  25. Pink-footed Goose    
  26. Pochard    
  27. Robin    
  28. Rook    
  29. Starling    
  30. Teal    
  31. Tufted Duck    
  32. Wigeon    
  33. Woodpigeon    
  34. Wren  

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Londesborough Park

For a change, I went for a walk in the Wolds this monday. I chose an area of pastures that used to be a deer park, with a lake in the way, with added some interest. The crop had been harvested on the fields and groups of Rooks and Woodpigeons fed on the ground. I spotted a brown rat by a field margin.

Brown Rat
  I walked to the lake, where three young swans fed. On my map there appeared to be a path around the lake, but, although there was a path by the weir, it stopped at the lake shore not far away. Amongst the shore plants, I could see a large flock of Gadwall, moorhens with young, adult swans and a coot. Pheasants fed on the path, and I flushed many more on the walk. As I walked uphill towards the village, I disturbed a Mistle Thrush, who rattled and fled from atop a lime tree. The path was lined by old lime trees, and those missing had recently been replaced by saplings.
View towards the lake 

I arrived at the pretty village of Londesborough and walked on the church grounds. A young, sleepy woodpigeon sat atop a headstone. The feathery remains of another woodpigeon, possibly its sibling lay on the grass a few meters away. Most front gardens had bird feeders and one of them had an amazing range of visiting birds. In a random shot of one feeder I managed to get five species. A woodpigeon was feeding underneath, and a robin sung nearby.
Young woodpigeon.
Another young pigeon had been predated nearby
Dead common shrew on the road. If you click to enlarge, you can probably spot bluebottle eggs on it.
Can you spot the five species?
On the way back, two distant Buzzards frolicked over a plantation on a ridge. A Grey Heron landed far from water on a oil rape field.
Grey Heron
Bird list
  1.  Black-headed Gull    
  2. Blackbird    
  3. Blue Tit    
  4. Carrion Crow    
  5. Chaffinch    
  6. Collared Dove    
  7. Common Gull    
  8. Coot 1   
  9. Curlew    
  10. Gadwall   
  11. Goldfinch    
  12. Great Black-backed Gull
  13. Great Tit    
  14. Greenfinch    
  15. Grey Heron   
  16. House Sparrow    
  17. Jackdaw    
  18. Linnet    
  19. Mistle Thrush   
  20. Moorhen
  21. Mute Swan
  22. Pheasant
  23. Robin
  24. Rook    
  25. Skylark   
  26. Swallow  
  27. Tree Sparrow    
  28. Woodpigeon
  29. Wren