Tag Archives: photography

Eastern Yellow Wagtail in Northumberland

20 Dec

Eastern Yellow Wagtail is one of those birds that flew under the radar until recently with the first accepted record over a hundreds years old on Fair Isle in 1909 with a further bird there in 1912 now considered “British” following genetic analysis of  both records.  The next record was at Colyton, Devon in December 2010 which was trapped allowing DNA analysis to confirm it as the 2nd record {BB Vol 106 p36-41}. Since then though there have been a small but steady occurrence, likely more to do with greater knowledge, particularly the call with sound recording and sonographs, as well as ‘appearance’ than actual increase in occurrence. What were just late “grey’ Yellow Wagtails [as with the Devon record birds seen after the usual autumn migration and into winter] are now given a good grilling [and listening!] Of course with split of Eastern from Western forms they have now become in demand to twitchers. Living in Yorkshire the temptation to ‘sit and wait’ had kept me expecting one locally but with one not too far off in Northumberland and showing well TD got interested and ofter some reluctance I gave in.

18712/19 Too cold, with the risk of ice, and my usual trip to Bridlington by bike was replaced with the train. So walked to Cottingham station in the dark and despite initial worries the new ticket machine proved non-challenging and after a few minutes on a frozen bench joined RG on the train. TD picked us up from the station and got to Prestwick Carr by early afternoon with incident. Unfortunately the bird, having been settled all morning, had flown to north of the cross road. Getting there it had flown again and after a few minutes searching returned to the fields further south. Found a distant group of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit and started looking through when called back to the northern field were the Eastern Yellow Wagtail had been relocated. To be honest the usual early twitch panic where a bit of patience was the best thing. The bird then spent the rest of our stay feeding on blood worms only a few metres from the birders.

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Eastern Yellow Wagtail-Prestwick Carr

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Birders including Joe and Richard at Prestwick Carr

The fields had a few horses and was like the sort of thing you see in RSPSA programs being virtually devoid of grass although did have a plenty of hay in feeders.

Was nice to get back to Bridlington and getting on train with only a short walk home at the end rather than having to ride back the extra cost is an issue. In better weather the ticket price would have paid for almost enough petrol to make the full journey on my own.

With the Cornish Brown Booby already on my life list from Florida the Wagtail looks likely my only lifer in Britain in 2019, my worst total since I started birding. However got a few more in Romania.

A word of caution The parking is a on a soft verge and one birder got so stuck the front of the car was dug in so deep with couldn’t push him out.

 

Update Still present on Sunday 29th but a better marked male in Norfolk of the Blue-headed [Alaskan] race is attracting more visitors.

Smew and Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere

23 Nov

Saved from a boring day rained in, with even the dog not interested in a walk, by RL with a trip to Hornsea Mere early afternoon. Started in Seaton Road hide where immediately on opening the flaps saw the redhead Smew close in. Went for our cameras, and ignoring a close fly over by a Marsh Harrier, got a few shots before it swam off.

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Juvenile Smew at Hornsea Mere from Seaton Road Hide

Nothing else of note and having learned from MJ that the track to Wassand Hide was flooded we headed to Kirkholme Point where a Long-tailed Duck was usually seen around the jetties. No sign there so looked further afield, still with no luck, but on walking back towards the jetties RL picked it up flying in from the west then landing and showing well again at the jetties.

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Juvenile Long-tailed Duck with Tufted Duck at Kirkholme Point, Hornsea Mere

No sign of any of the recent Scaup.

Went to look for wild geese in the Skipsea area with out luck then ended the day looking for gulls around Catwick but also no sign no helped by a jet ski on FosseHill.

Shag at East Park, Hull

17 Dec

17/12/18 Apart from twitching the Royal Tern on Anglesey last Tuesday the only birding I’ve done recently had been locally with the dog.

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Royal Tern-Traeth Lligwy, Anglesey

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Raven-Traeth Lligwy, Anglesey

This doesn’t mean I don’t get to see much, as a Little Egret has been seen on the north side of Cottingham a few times recently with another lingering in fields north of Springhead GC. Even better last Wednesday managed to see Peregrine, Merlin, Little Owl and Green Woodpecker.

This morning the dog wasn’t interested in going out so with a Shag in Hull at East Park Lake since at least late last week and the weather better, got out on the bike for the first time in a while. From the feeding area [although ‘feeding’ is no longer encouraged] the bird was visitable and although the guy I spoke to seemed to think it was a Cormorant, on closer inspection it was clearly an immature Shag.

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First winter Shag-East Park Lake, Hull

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Goosander-East Park Lake, Hull

A few Goosander were also in the area and after getting a few pictures set off round the lake to count them. Thirty had been reported earlier and my count was in the same ball park.

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Black-headed Gull-East Park Lake, Hull

Didn’t see them myself but of interest Jay and Mistle Thrush are on site.

More winter wildfowl

30 Oct

30/10/16 Started Sunday morning at High Eske NR, with RL and ML, hoping to see the recent Long-tailed Duck. Met DH along the track from the farm. Had seen the duck on Saturday evening but no sign today but had had a Smew. The lone Whooper Swan was still present.fullsizeoutput_1a4d

Whooper Swan-High Eske NR

Quickly found the redhead Smew among the Tufted Duck and Pochard at the south end. Also picked out three Scaup. The large flock of Greylags dropped still with the Pink-footed Goose. Next to Hornsea Mere starting in the Seaton Road Hide. A Pink-footed Goose was just in front of the hide. Eleven Whooper Swans were near the entrance to Decoy Bay and another eight flew southwest.fullsizeoutput_1a4a

Whooper Swans at Hornsea Mere

I picked up the two Slavonian Grebe between us and Kirkholme Point, presumably displaced by the boat.dscn3372

What we have to contend with at Hornsea Mere

Eventually came fairly close.

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Juvenile and adult Slavonian Grebes with Mute Swan-Hornsea Mere

Went round to Kirkholme Point where the same or another Pink-footed Goose was just offshore.fullsizeoutput_1a42

Pink-footed Goose at Hornsea Mere off Kirkholme Point

A few Tundra Bean and White-fronted Geese and a Common Scoter had been seen earlier. Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. I found a redhead Smew on D reservoir from car park hide. Likely the same bird we saw this morning as it was also associating with Pochard. Flew to the north end and RL and I went to the North Hide while ML went to North Marsh where a Bittern had been seen earlier. The Smew showed close in before flying off with Pochards eventually coming down below car park hide where it stayed until late afternoon at least. fullsizeoutput_1a3b

Redhead Smew with Pochard at Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Also had two Green Sandpipers in flight before dropping onto Decoy Fields.dscn3408

The new visitors centre at Tophill Low NR-‘still under wraps’

Did the gulls. Although we didn’t stay until dark, with the clocks now back, we’re likely to start doing the gull roost again. A Tawny Owl was calling in D wood as we left. Had a few Migrant Hawkers. With the forecast of colder nights there won’t be many more.

New York-Day 4-June 19

31 Jul

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The plaque in the garden commemorating the Commonwealth victims on 9/11. Although the main 9/11 memorial is pristine local workers us this garden for a fag [cigarette] break as witnessed by the discarded tab ends.

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Plaque remembering the American fallen of the Vietnam war. One of the good things Harold Wilson PM did was keep the UK out of this one.

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The main Vietnam memorial. Some very moving inscriptions including passages from letters written home by GIs.

Took the Staten Island Ferry mainly for the Statue of Liberty

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Manhattan from Staten Island Ferry.

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Ferry berthed at Staten Island

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Another Staten Island Ferry going the other way

Had a look round the National Museum of the American Indian in the 1907 Custom House. A very good exhibition and free. I am English and we don’t take pictures in museums but took a few of the building.

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 Christopher Columbus in 1907 Custom House-rather poignant considering it now houses the American Indian Museum.

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Interior of 1907 Custom House

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Street performers near Brooklyn Bridge. Very entertaining but didn’t have the time to watch the full act.

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Started walking across Brooklyn Bridge but very busy and hoardings, due to maintenance  work, blocked the view of the actual river crossing so turned back.

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Brooklyn bridge

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Beekman Building. Interesting architecture as from some angles looks like it been “bent” by a collision . A bit weird when so close to the 9/11 site.

Did a rather pointless “Lonely Planet” tour of film locations this afternoon, including Holly Golightly’s apartment then had another quick walk through Central Park where I added Eastern Kingbird to the trip list.

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Common Grackle-Central Park.

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Chocolate statue for a same sex wedding.