Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bempton Cliffs 22-1-12

With good friend Dave Hutton biting at the bit for a second chance of the Male Desert Wheatear at Bempton,a earlyish start at 7am we set off for our target bird on the journey up to Bempton.we had a good start with a pair of Barn Owls hunting which we stopped and watched for a few minutes before continuing we reached Bempton around 8.30am,with a strong wind blowing we headed for Staple Newk view point where the Wheatear favours but after waiting and searching for a hour and no sign,we decided on heading for Tophill Low nature reserve where the Cattle Egret was showing and yes it was but nobody said it was behind a 7 foot fence but still a great year tick.
With news breaking of the Desert Wheatear showing well we headed straight off back to Bempton only this time when we arrived we was told that it had been in the carpark,we spoke to various birders who all had their own stories of where it had gone none matched up though but was told that a numpty photographer had been chasing it around,but headed back to Staple Newk and about halfway we spotted it on the footpath,we were both happy to locate it and get some cracking views and photo's unlike the previous time we came.
With other birders/photographers coming and going I was more than happy to get them on to the bird which all thanked Dave and myself for our help at the end and everyone went away happy with either having cracking views or they had managed some shots of this stunning bird.
With enough light left we decided on heading back into North Lincs and one of my local patches Worlaby Carrs to see if we could get any Short eared Owls but with the wind probably keeping them down none took flight but we did manage to add a female Hen Harrier to our list.
A great day out which I really enjoyed thanks again Dave for driving.
Desert Wheatear

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Weekend in Ramsbottom 14/15-1-12

With arranging to meet my friend Jacqui in Ramsbottom for the weekend who is also a very keen birder/photographer,I arrived at The Grant Arms Hotel around lunchtime where I was staying for the weekend a real nice place to.
Once checked in Jacqui came and picked me up and we set off for Calf Hey Reservoir & Haslingden Grane Moor at Helmshore,we arrived after a short drive and my guide for the weekend shown me the feeding station first and we sat in the stone hide which must have been the remains of a old building but it was great with lots of activity with plenty of Coal,Blue,Great & Long-tailed tit also coming to the feeding area were Nuthatch,Treecreeper,Great spotted Woodpecker & Lesser Redpoll along with Green & Goldfinch after a while it was time for a walk down to Calf Hey Reservoir not very big as reservoirs go,as we walked along the causeway stopping to have a scan across the water the sun was blinding so didn't help matters but managed to pick out a pair of Goldeneye & a lone male Goosander amongst the Mallards.
Making our way along the far bank we stopped for a look at the gulls but only picked out a immature lesser black backed gull in with the black headed gulls.
We then made our way up to Haslingden Grane Moor with lots of old ruins and dry stone walls,I would imagine this would be great in summer for migrants such as Ring ouzel,Wheatear & Whinchats anyway we walked up the hill to the top and it kicked in that I had not done this recently as North Lincs is flat but never mind it wasn't that bad.
We walked around the top of the moor trying to follow a path that kept disappearing and then Jacqui told me that she had never been up this way,but me being me didn't really care just nice being out somewhere different but we did manage to find our way back,The moor itself was quiet with the usual corvids flying around but I was trying to find Short eared owls but no luck.
We returned back to the feeding station which was still quite active but we called it a day with the light fading.
On arriving back at the Hotel we agreed on going out for a meal which we did sort of,firstly nipping down to the India restaurant but we had to book a table but with time getting on we nipped up to a country pub,but they only done carvery meals but we had a quick drink whilst we decided on what to do and decided on the pub down the road,we got a drink and sat down then asked the waitress what time did they serve food till and she replied 9pm and it was 9.15 so there goes my steak I was looking forward too so we ended up with a Chinese Takeaway and sat and ate it in the Land Rover well at least they gave us a fork each what a disaster for me anyway at the time but funny looking back on it :) ( sorry Jacqui).

Sunday Morning I was rudely woken by my alarm at 4.45 am still set for work pitch black outside and no work today that soon got sorted and back to sleep,I re-woken and got up around 7am which was more like it after a coffee and everything else sorted I just went for a walk around Ramsbottom until Jacqui came to pick me up for todays adventures,we set off for Springdale & Burrs Country parks for a walk along the River Irwell in search of one of my favourite birds the Dipper with a bright but cold start we started off at Springdale Country park and  walked the banks of the river we came across some canoeists launching themselves from the bank and became a bit of a annoyance when we found Dippers as they were getting pushed around a lot with a couple of shots we continued down into Burrs Country park which was more quieter on the river as far as canoes go but no luck with Dippers but we did manage to find a very nice male Goosander which wasn't bothered about our presence but the light was playing havoc with the photo's sun and white birds don't really mix well but not complaining.
On the walk back to the car I was glad to find Jacqui a life tick in the form of Redwings as they flew from a tree but will get her better views next time.
With time getting on and Jacqui on nights she decided we had time for a quick look at Elton Reservoir a place you would never know it was there a bit like going to Paxton Pits but without the sign posts,with not much time a quick walk and a few scans around only picking out the usual waterfowl and a distant Kestrel but a real enjoyable weekend all the same.
After Jacqui left me back at the hotel I had a few hours spare so I got changed from my muddy clothes and boots and went for Haddock and chips then a walk down to the river just in case a Kingfisher or Dipper shown but nothing after making my way back to the hotel my friend rang me to say he was going to be a couple of hours still,so I sat and watched the football on that was on while a couple of pints of  Peroni went down.Arriving back at Barton and dropping my gear back at home we decided on finishing the weekend at The Old Mill with a cold pint.
Thank you Jacqui for a real enjoyable weekend



Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Far Ings 8-1-12

I started off at the Haven at Waters Edge and walked along the Humber bank to Barton reedbed,I counted 17 Redshank at the Haven and 1 complete numpty on a bike even for an old boy,as I put my tripod down to get my camera out to photograph the Redshank he rode straight at my tripod and as he went by he turned and said "don't f***ing move then mate"my reply to that was "i'm not you mate".
On reaching Barton reedbed I decided on staking out the Bearded tits again but no luck but did get a Marsh Harrier land in the reedbed another yeartick :).
I continued my walk along the Humber bank just in case the Short-eared Owl was showing but it didn't,a quick walk around the cement works produced Bullfinch,Fieldfare & Redwing.
I then decided to walk along hotel track to Ness hide with a quick scan of hotel pit but no sign of the Smew probably due to 2 fishermen being booked by the local police,I reaching Ness hide and had 30 minutes here birds included the usual winter duck,Cormorant & a single Grey Heron,I made my way then to Target pit & spent a further 30 minutes here again watching the winter ducks with the addition of Wigeon.
I decided on being cold enough that it was time for a coffee at the visitor center and sat and watched over Pursuit Pit,I could see a skein of around 200 Pink-footed geese flying across the farmland,not a bad morning out

Thursday, 5 January 2012

First Foray of 2012 2-1-12

With only doing garden birds on new years day I decided on a walk around my local patch ( Far Ings ) to see if I could get the Short Eared Owl that had been showing on the Humber Bank and get my year list off to a start.
On arriving at Far Ings I walked the usual way starting off at Barton Reedbed picking up a few of the common birds but not much else, so I carried on to the bank but no show for the Owl only a cold wind so decided on a look around the Old Cement works for some shore birds and a bit of shelter a single common Redshank was on the foreshore and a few Bullfinch flitting about,after a while I continued along Hotel track making my way to Ness hide again only adding the usual waterfowl to my list but all welcome.After half hour or so I decided on a wander up to Chowder Ness for more waders but as I was leaving some guy shouted out Bittern I made my way up the stairs to have a look but it didn't show so after another half hour I made my way to Chowder Ness but on scanning the mud flats it was Waderless :(,but did pick up Shelduck & Wigeon on Target Pit.
With the wind being so cold I made tracks for home just as I reached Pursuit Pit I was alerted to a Male Smew showing on the Pit,so I scurried along Far Ings road to a opening that allowed me to view him in the middle of the pit defo bird of the day.
other birds of note
Water Rail

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Last day of 2011

With being at 199 species for the year and failed today with the Tawny Owl again,I decided on tomorrow it would be a trip to Bonby & Worlaby Carrs,to try and locate the Tundra Bean Geese.
After a 30 minute bus trip scanning the fields along the way for any signs of geese in them,I arrived at Bonby Carrs my first ever foray here so I walked down Carr Lane to the channel that leads onto Carr Lane at Worlaby,with no sign of any geese I walked the channel after a couple of minutes a female Hen Harrier got up and flew around allowing me great views before she landed back out of sight in the field.I continued to the halfway bridge where plenty of Fieldfare sat in the hawthorns with lots of Yellow Hammer & a few Corn & Reed Bunting,continuing my walk to Worlaby a Common Buzzard came over head & a Kestrel hovered over the scrub as it hunted for voles.
On reaching Carr Lane at Worlaby the car park was empty so I looked down towards the train line at the bottom end and could see a few cars so it was relatively quiet,I thought great Owls will come and sit nice as the wind was very light for this large open area on reaching the bottom end a few were standing around but talk about noise not good as I could hear them half a mile away :(.
Soon a few others arrived 1 being David Alan so I went and had a good chat with him which was nice,with the wind picking up and rain starting I didn't stay long and made my way home on walking back up the lane a male Marsh Harrier came across the field also a few Tree Sparrow in the hedge near the houses,with not being able to connect with the Bean Geese left me still at 199 for the year,I later found out that they were in the fields above Worlaby Village thanks Steve Routledge :)