Today I visited Kane in Atherton to begin the nest monitoring of Blue Tits for my dissertation project and it went very well with all 10 of my study boxes being occupied and with varying numbers of eggs laid.
I think cute factor has to go to the three baby Tawny Owls that were ringed in the woods. I love how sleepy and grumpy they always look (probably because they are!)
On the train home, I also managed to find 6 nests on stations including 4 Feral Pigeon nests, 1 Collared Dove nest and amazingly, a Magpie within the station structure! Amazing!
A really enjoyable day and 4 'yearticks' in the form of Whimbrel, Ring Ouzel, Green Woodpecker and Swift.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Thursday, 12 April 2012
Sadly, within the last week, Carsten found 2A00 dead, which for someone who has followed his story over the past year, saddens me!
This blog post is a slight tribute to the gull that started off the North West Black-headed Gull Project. Hopefully it does 'our boy' 2A00 justice! RIP little man!
Last year, I also went up to Haweswater to see the famous Golden Eagle, but I had no idea where to look so failed miserably. This year however, I got a tip off of where to look and a 30 minute walk later, I scanned the horizon and caught site of a large bird gliding across the valley. It was the eagle! What a fantastic bird and a real privilege to watch England's only example of this impressive and majestic bird. As the bird displayed over the valley in an attempt to find a mate, I felt slightly saddened that this was almost a waste of effort as he will probably never find a mate and start up the English population once more. If it was up to me, I would love to translocate a young female from Scotland to keep this population going. It would be a great shame if my children and grandchildren will never be able to observe such a wonderful animal in their own country (unless I move to Scotland of course!)
A fantastic day!
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
At 11.25, I scanned south of the ribble and noticed all the gulls had lifted. I saw a bird of prey in amongst them that was noticeably chunky, so when it banked and revealed a pale chest, I new straight away that I was watching my 8th Osprey of the year! Fantastic!
It suddenly descended and went out of view below the trees and appeared to head down to the river. This was the last I saw of the bird.
With further westerlies and showers forecast for the next couple of days, I would like to continue my patch work before I head back into my final term of the year at Bangor on Saturday.
Monday, 9 April 2012
An hour or two later, heavy rain started and I began scanning the gulls to see if the 'resident' Med Gulls had dropped in. A small gull flew past the back of the gull-flock which turned out to be a 2cy Little Gull. Fantastic! This bird stayed for at least 40 minutes before I left the site, so could still be there now.
In addition to these fantastic birds, I also saw my first Willow Warbler singing of the year, and a female Wheatear on No1 island.
Sunday, 8 April 2012
An hour or so into the visit, the weather began to clear up, so Mark and I moved over to the infamous eastern bank and began to scan. The first 360 degree scan produced nothing except a few annoyingly osprey-like Grey Herons and Black-backed Gulls. The same again for the second scan. Half way around my third scan and I picked up a large bird flying towards us directly south of the car park. Instantly I noticed this wasn't quite right for a Buzzard. Mark arrived on this bird at this point. The wings looked too long. As it got closer, the tail seemed longer than a Buzzard and it appeared to show a shallow 'M' in its wings. Getting closer and closer, our heart rates increased as it was looking better and better. In the very poor light, it seemed to take ages before it looked anything other than dark. It slightly banked and revealed its two-toned dark and white underside. An OSPREY!
It gradually started descending and as it drifted over the car park, everything on No1 pit took flight and a mass panic started. The bird circled over No1 twice and moved over to the eastern end of Boilton Wood almost right above and hovered briefly over Redscar Weir on the Ribble. It then flew directly north over Redscar and out of view leaving Mark and I pumping with adrenaline. Always a thrill!
My 7th Osprey of the Spring and I'm well on the way to getting into my double figure target.
Saturday, 7 April 2012
This bird at Leighton Moss has decided that I haven't been through enough pain yet, so remained completely elusive.
Sightings that made up for the dip were as follows:
Osprey flying high north over the Causeway at 14.55
Pair of Garganey from Grizedale Hide
Lots of Avocet from the train on coastal pools
3 displaying Marsh Harrier (1 male)
A fantastically tame Marsh Tit
Singing and calling Cetti's Warbler on path to Grizedale which showed itself briefly
Finally, the cherry on the cake was an Osprey flying north over Garstang from the train at 15.36 (my 6th for the Spring)
Sunday, 1 April 2012
Whilst doing a raptor scan from the Motorway hide, I picked up on a familiar harsh call and looked up to see my first Sandwich Tern at Brockholes! It called twice and flew off strongly east, at which point I lost it in front of the sun whilst trying to photograph it. This is a really good record for the site and is only about the 6th or 7th record.
I moved off to the east of the site where I joined Bill Aspin and continued with the raptor scanning. Observing all day with the occasional refreshment break and sit down, I saw at least 4 Swallow and about 70 Sand Martin. At 15.23, I was scanning east when I picked up a raptor flying north at 15.23. It was an Osprey! Result! It was only in view for about 40 seconds, but as always, it was a real thrill to see it!
Continuing the scanning after this buzz, I picked up a small raptor over the river south of the car park. I thought it was a Kestrel at first, but the flight wasn't quite right. It was a Merlin. I flew rather strongly north overhead and allowed me to fire off a couple of record shots right into the sun. Only my 2nd record for Brockholes.
I ended the day spending 2 hours in the south eastern corner of Main Pool looking for the ever present Cetti's Warbler. A couple of Chiffchaff and Wren in the reeds got my adrenaline pumping, but sadly, no sign of the Cetti's Warbler. I really do NEED to get this bird before it disappears!
09.20-18.20: The longest I've spent on-site for a long time and it was really worth the sore back and tired legs! Patching at it's best!