Saturday, 5 April 2014

Late winter and early spring

A few highlights from work and the odd birding trip in the UK at the start of this year:

 The period started quietly, but as always there were plenty of gulls at Rufforth tip, with a smattering of Iceland and Glaucous gulls around, and Chris' 3w Kumlien's continued to knock about.

The first hints of spring came on a walk along Filey bay with Cat, with double figures of skylark arriving in off. The sea was a bit more wintery though, with slav grebe, velvet scoter and a few red-throats seen distantly. The cute sanderlings stole the show though, and I put up with still digging sand out of my hair the next day to get a few eye level shots.

Young male peregrine over Bank Island
In terms of finding birds, the first weekend of March was the highlight, when this Tundra bean goose showed up at Castle Howard in the feral goose flock one afternoon, and the next day, two more bean geese were at Bubwith Bridge, but stayed too frustratingly distant to be ceratin of racial ID, despite hinting at being Taiga.

From March, the survey season picks up a little and I was kept busy at work out in the field (thankfully the weather was pretty good):
These always brighten up a survey
 It's been great working on quite a few sites with these this year:
This 2cy male came close whilst hunting woodpigeons

Showing the white patchy markings to the mantle

...and clear streaking on the underside
 Meanwhile it was good to start bumping into the odd barn owl back out hunting in the day again. After a poor breeding season in 2013, this was a hard species to see locally over winter with the adults hunting almost entirely after full darkness

Carrying food back to it's box

Church Bridge at dusk
 And some from work trips further north:
Adders were out basking in early March

And ravens were 'gronking' and displaying overhead

Always a highlight of any day!

And it was good to see these back on their ledge
 Whilst it was pretty quiet locally in March, there were a few nice bits and pieces to see:

...including Glaucous and 3 Iceland gulls in one field in Poppleton

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