Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Linacre- WeBS Walk 13th August 2011

This month's WeBS walk was again a collaberation between myself and other members of the Chesterfield RSPB Group, thanks Alan.

As always at this time of year numbers of waterbirds are quite low, although the Cormorant and Common Sandpiper were very nice sightings. Birds and numbers seen this month were: Mallard (51), Moorhen (5), Coot (5), Cormorant (3), Tufted Duck (25), Mandarin (16), Grey Wagtail (3), Pied Wagtail (1), Great-crested Grebe (1 adult) and Little Grebe (2 adults).

Other noteworthy birds not recorded by WeBS, but present were Swallow (3), House Martin (10 feeding over the top reservoir), Willow Warbler (1 singing), Blackcap (1 brown capped female or juvenile) and Jay (1 heard).

Butterflies present were Gatekeeper (2), Meadow Brown (4), Small Copper (1), Speckled Wood (2) and Peacock (1).

Bridlington and Hornsea Mere

Sunday 28th August saw a little sunshine in an otherwise pretty overcast bank holiday weekend, so the family and I decided to head off to the coast for a last smell of fresh sea air.

First stop was, as always, the crazy golf course on the north promenade of Bridlington's seafront. Again, as usual, I was well and truly beaten by my wife and daughter! Afterwards we walked down towards the harbour area passing dozens of  Black-headed Gulls and a few "commic" terns that were loafing on the beach. 3 Oystercatchers flew past, over the sea and  Starlings and House Sparrows were also flying around the area.

Arriving at the harbour we were surrounded by lots of Herring Gulls, both adult and juvenile.

Herring Gull

After a lovely day walking around the harbour, town and seafront we headed off to Hornsea Mere, where hundreds of Little Gulls had been reported roosting throughout August. Arriving at about 5.00pm, we parked in the main car park and started to look for the gulls. Unfortuntaely we were a little early and so we only saw 2 birds, which were both sleeping on the gangplanks by the boats. Both birds appeared to be moulting adults.

Little Gulls

Also present around the site were Swallows, House Martins, 2 Cormorants and dozens of Mallards.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Barbrook Dragons!

Every summer I like to visit a small area of moorland just off the A621 Baslow road to look for a few of my favourite dragonflies, namely Black Darter and Golden-ringed Dragonfly. The area that I call Barbrook Bridge is located by the junction of the A621 and a minor road leading to Cubar in North East Derbyshire, grid refernce SK278741.

Bar Brook Bridge

As you can see, the site is an area of moorland with the Bar Brook running through the middle of it. Just under the bridge there is a small, slow flowing pool, which then runs into a a shallow, much faster flowing stream. My visit today started at the bridge where the Black Darters as usually to be found. I say usually, because unfortuntaely I didn't find any today! What I did find, however, was this amazing spider.

Spider species

Moving further down the river I walked through the vegetation when I suddenly disturbed a large dragonfly species. It flew a short distance, before landing on the ground. I crept up and saw a beautiful Golden-ringed Dragonfly probing the ground with its rear end. I realised that this was a female egg laying or ovipositing! As I watched it I noticed that it had got its wings caught in the water, so I reached down and it crawled out of the water and sat on my hand vibrating its wings to dry off and warm up, before flying off again, when it was lost from view. What an experience!

       Golden-ringed Dragonfly

After this amazing encounter I walked up to a smaller pool where I managed to find a Common Darter, 2 male Emerald Damselflies and half a dozen "blue" Damselflies.

Common Darter

Emerald Damselfly

Apart from the dragons several other birds and insects were also  present in the area. Butterflies were Small Copper, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and my first Wall Brown of the year. 

Wall Brown

Birds present were Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Goldfinch and Blue Tit.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

RSPB Old Moor - 17th August 2011

For the last few years I have subscribed to the Birdguides website as a way of keeping up with bird news from around the country. Looking through the sightings recently I noticed that RSPB Old Moor at Barnsley was beginning to record its first passage waders of the autumn and so decided to go along and have a look myself.

Wath Ings hide at the far end of the reserve is usually the best place for waders, so I  started here. First up were the Green Sandpiper, with an amazing count of 15!

Green Sandpiper

Also from this hide were 3 Knot, a very good inland record, 2 Greenshank, at least 5 summer plumaged Dunlin, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Redshank, 1 juvenile Spotted Redshank, 4 Ringed Plover and around 100 Lapwing.


Away from the waders there were also 20+ Sand Martin, 6 Swift, my latest ever record, Common Terns feeding 3 juveniles, dozens of Canada Goose and Greylag Goose, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Great Crested and Little Grebe, Grey Heron and Tufted Duck, as well as many small passerines such as Tree Sparrows, Linnets and Greenfinch.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Whitby and Scarborough

Just come back from a few days in Whitby and Scarborough, where we enjoyed a bit of sunshine, a couple of games of crazy golf and some great seabirds.

Whitby Harbour

Around the harbour I saw dozens of Herring Gulls (adults and juveniles), 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 returning Turnstones, Black-headed Gulls, 2 Fulmar, Cormorant, Starling and Oystercatcher.

On the way home we stopped off at Scarborough to look for the Mediterranean Gulls that winter around the area. 4 birds; 2 moulting adults and 2 juvenile birds, were found on the rocks belowthe Spa in the South Bay.

Mediterranean Gull (moulting adult)

Also present on the rocks were all the ususal gulls, Oystercatcher and an adult Sandwich Tern, which was also moulting out of summer plumage.

Adult Sandwich Tern

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Linacre - 9th August 2011 Sunshine, Butterflies and another Sandpiper

I had a lovely walk around Linacre this morning in bright sunshine and 16 dgerees of heat! The highlights were 5 species of butterfly, some lovely new flowers, loads of hoverflies and another Common Sandpiper!

First up were the butterflies with 4 Gatekeepers, 1 Peacock, 5 Meadow Browns, 2 Small Coppers and  2 Speckled Woods.


Meadow Brown


Next up were the birds: Common Sandpiper (1 on the middle reservoir), Cormorant (3, the highest count yet), Mallard (56), Tufted Duck (25), Mandarin (16), Swallow (3), House Martin (10), Grey Wagtail (3), Pied Wagtail (1).

Lastly, one photograph of the on going works on the middle reservoir.


Monday, 8 August 2011

RSPB Dungeness - 27th July 2011

Hello and welcome back! Just been away to Kent for a family holiday, hence the lack of updates.

Whilst down in Kent we visited the RSPB site at Dungeness.

As is to be expected at this time of year it was pretty quiet, but we did manage to see  a few nice birds and got a chance to explore this part of the world.

The highlight was the ARC hide where a good number of waders were spotted including summer plumaged Golden Plover, a couple of hundred Lapwing, 3 Little Ringed Plover,including a juvenile bird, 1 Common Sandpiper and a couple of summer plumaged Dunlin.  Also here were 3 Little Egret and my first Teal and Wigeon of the "winter".

Golden Plover and Lapwing

Over on the main site we visited 5 hides and saw many commoner species such as Mallard, Mute Swan, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Oystercatcher, Great-crested Grebe, Moorhen and Coot. The main highlight on this site however, was the pair of nesting Common Tern, with 1 chick seen from Denge Marsh Hide.

Common Tern with chick