Monday, 21 March 2011

Good evening, good morning

Great Grey Shrike- North Duffield Carrs YWT

Had a brilliant time locally today and yesterday, less succesful tho when I wandered further away. I started yesterday with the intention of an early start, aiming to hit Flamborough hard and get in some first migrant passerines. It wasn't to be, tho, partly 'cos I didn't get up til well gone 9, and partly cos Flamborough was shit. Spent about an hour seawatching, altho I was demotivated from the start, when i rocked up and Brett said the highlight so far had been a LBB Gull. The hour I watched for was even worse, so I mostly sat and listened to the chat about birds from olden times, or at least pre-2003 when i started birding. Got Puffin for the year tho, so could have been worse. With news of 2 bluethroats in the country, I was misguidedly optimistic about bumping into at least a common migrant or 2, say a wheatear or even a Chiffchaff. But no, the place was thoroughly bird free, so I gave up, had a quick look at the White-fronts with the Pink-feet on tha marsh and fecked off back towards York.

I had a brief stop at Skipwith to look for the GGS, but was quickly reminded that it was Sunday afternoon by there being dogs and dudes everywhere. With grey clouds gathering overhead, I thought I would head to Wheldrake, in the hope that the heavens would open and a few hirundines or waders would get grounded. It didn't, but I did bump in to Russell Slack, who 5 minutes later, and after a lot of useless faffing by me with my useless phone, managed to get through to tell me there were 3 Common Cranes heading south along the river. I dashed back to get a vista, and watched them head down the valley. 20 or so minutes later, Russ got a call to say they were on the deck at Bubwith. My girlfriend, who is just getting into birds, had just finished her shift so I rang her to see if she wanted to come. She did, so a very fast drve back home, and then an even faster one back out saw us watching the 3 cranes, partially displaying, out on Bubwith Ings. Shortly after, someone got a call to say the GG Shrike was showing from the Geoff Smith hide at North Duffield, so we dashed around, and got good views in the fading light.

GGS- from Geoff Smith Hide at 06:30

2 of the 3 Common Cranes

Barn Owl at dawn in half light

This morning, hoping for a better look, and armed with my housemates old Cyber-shot, me and Cat headed back out to North Duffield, sure enough, both Shrike and Cranes were still there, as were 2 Barn Owls, all putting on a great show. We then went to Skipwith for a flying visit, and had a third Barn Owl perched on a post right next to the car. A visit to Wheldrake was aborted when we realised that work was being done all along the river, so instead we headed out to Newburgh Priory, where eventually the Green-winged Teal decided to show just enough of itself toconfirm it was the bird, do a quick dabble, then fall back asleep, obscured by branches on the far side of the lake. Shit bird, shit views, but still, hadn't seen one for a few years so had to be done I suppose. A scan of the lake at Castle Howard on the way back produced a whole lot of not very much, except a surprisingly large amount of heat haze.

Cat ticking Green-winged Teal

In the ten seconds it was awake for (this is the bird, honest)

Returning to York, birding again picked up with 2 LRP, 2+ Oystercatcher, 2 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plovers displaying and mating on Snave Eel Pool, Hes East, as well as a Gadwall, the first I've seen there.

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