Monday, 20 June 2011

Black-necked Grebes - beautiful birds!!!

Spent a few hours over at RSPB Old Moor in Barnsley as my Father's Day treat on Sunday. Unfortunately the weather wasn't playing, with grey clouds and a strongish wind. Despite this however, I managed to get some good birds (as always) and a new tick for me in the shape of a Tree Bumblebee!!

First up, birdwise, were the hundreds of Black-headed Gull chicks. They were everywhere!! Most were pretty well developed and spent most of the time sat around preening.

Juvenile Black-headed Gull

The next birds I saw were two stunning adult summer plumaged Black-necked Grebes swimming on The Mere from the Family Hide.These birds have been present for over a week now and can, at times, show really well. No photos of these birds, but here's one I took a few years ago in West Yorkshire.

Black-necked Grebe

As well as the young Black-headed Gulls, lots of other species were also in full breeding mode with juveniles of the following species seen: Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Little Grebe, Coot, MoorhenMallard, Gadwall and Pochard (my first ever!!). Other species still on eggs or feeding young included Lapwing and Sedge Warbler. Three species of wader were seen: Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Redshank, but no young were spotted. Avocets have bred successfully for the first time this year, but we didn't see them today! Don't know where they were! Swifts, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins were all feeding over the water. The latter species was using the high tech Sand Martin nesting bank, bought with donations from many groups including our very own Chesterfield RSPB Group.

Sand Martin bank
On the way back to the car the sun had come out so I stopped off to look at some bees. I spotted one that I thought might be a Tree Bumblebee, so took a few shots, before it flew off. I uploaded the pictures to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust's website and they very kindly emailed me back to confirm the identification.

Tree Bumblebee

This bee is a relative newcomer to the UK having only arrived here for the first time in 2001, but has been spreading north ever since. It's quite easy to identify, so if you want to find one for yourself this summer have a look on the above link.

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