Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Sunday 16 May 2010 - Potteric Carr

Even though the forecast was for rain, we thought we'd chance a quick visit to Potteric Carr on Sunday. We had been visiting the parents and it was only a quick hop down the M18. It was well worth the chance, as the sun shone for most of the day and we really enjoyed the ramble round the reserve. We knew about the Iberian Chiffchaff and thought it might be busy, but as it is such a large reserve any crowds were swallowed easily. The only heaving mass was around the wandering warblers haunt. The rest of the reserve was as peaceful as usual.
Except for the gulls, of course. This was a particularly vocal one

My first Damsel Fly of the year was a sheer fluke. Basking in the sun, sheltered by a window in a hide, it was so simple to get up close and really appreciate the delicate detail.
Unfortunately nothing else was so obliging. A very nice Redshank would not stand still, so this was the best I could do.

And the Canada Geese just about showed off their brood.
No year ticks so stubbornly stuck on 107. Roll on Mull - that'll give me a boost!
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Monday, 3 May 2010

Monday 3 May 2010 - Golden Acre Circular

Making the most of our May Bank Holiday Monday, we decide to do a circular walk from the car park at Golden Acre Park.  Thanks to Linda's recent blog we decided to take in Adel Dam and Breary Marsh.
Adel Dam is a gem.  Compact, atmospheric, it has two small hides and well worth a visit.  Amongst the birds we saw and heard was my first Treecreeper of the year.
From there we walked out the back of the park, through Five Lane End, to Eccup Moor Lane.  The hedgerows and fields were buzzing.  A bright flash caught my eye and as it landed on the top of a hedge, it seemed to pose.  My first Yellowhammer of the year.

In the fields, amongst the Jackdaws, Crows and Pheasants were Red-legged Partridges.  These two were soon seen off by the cock Pheasant.
On the way to Lineham Farm, we stopped off at the New Inn at Eccup.  About half way round the walk, this would have been a great place to have lunch.  As we had pack-up, a pint of well kept Taylors Landlord had to do.  In the beer garden we watched some very confident Swallows.
Walking away from the pub we had one of many views of a Red Kite.  They are well scattered all along this walk.
Whilst passing Lineham Farm and the Donkey Sanctuary, the heavens opened.  Hail pinged off us, but we took shelter against a stand of trees and soon were on our way again.  The views on this walk are excellent.  Sometimes you are reminded that you are on the outskirts of a busy city
other times you could be in the middle of nowhere
Showers dogged us right the way through the walk, so it wasn't until we got near the end that we could sit down and eat our lunch.  But the spot we chose was magic.  Breary Marsh has a small lake at one end, called Paul's Pond.  We sat on the bank, watched the Swallows and House Martins swoop and wheel, and reflected on a brilliant day.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Sunday 25 April 2010 - Bempton

A weekend deal was struck.  A day in the garden, then a day out.  Saturday in the garden wasn't a chore at all.  Buy the barbecue, new pots for trees and compost.  Assemble the barbecue, transplant the trees, cut the grass.  Eat barbecue, drink wine, sit out until nine, watch the bats.  Job's a good 'un.

Sunday we decided to go to Bempton.  Hadn't been there for years.  Not too long a journey from Leeds.  The rain held off enough for three good hours on the cliffs.  Perfect conditions, lots of birds, not too many people.

All the usual suspects were there.  Herring Gulls on the best perches, watching the proceedings with disdain.

Fulmars pairing up and displaying in front of uncaring Kittiwakes.

Some, like this Razorbill wanted to hide away.

Others, like these Guillemots, were easier to capture.  I'm particularly pleased that I got the bridle on the one in the middle.

And there were even Puffins.  Not as many as we remember from years ago, but still there if you looked hard enough.

There was a lot of excitement on the reserve because there had been sightings of a Ring Ouzel and a Grasshopper Warbler.  We kept an eye out for both as we walked, but didn't see them.  We did see a Whitethroat in the car park and this Corn Bunting near the Radar Station.  It was very obliging, returning to the same perch on the barbed wire.  It's an odd sight in flight, with its legs dangling, almost like a raptor. 

Finally the clouds in the distance got blacker and blacker and we decided to call it a day.  As we walked quickly back to the car, we passed a clump of bushes and Rebecca's eye was caught by something skulking.  She called me back and we got a great view of the Grasshopper Warbler!!  Too quick to photograph, but what a thrill!  I think Rebecca's a bit tired now of me constantly calling her my Gropper Spotter.

To round the day off we wanted fish and chips in Bridlington.  We left the rain behind in Bempton and took the scenic route, stopping off at Flamborough's South Landing, to relive memories of a school trip some forty years ago.  Not much seemed to have changed - the view was excellent.

As we left the headland, a white object floated in front of the car.  Stopping quickly down a side road we watched our first Barn Owl of the year quarter the fields.  Too far away for the camera to capture, but an excellent end to a perfect day.

Yes, I'm afraid I did say end.  By the time we'd reached Bridlington, the rain had caught up with us.  We parked on the sea front in a monsoon.  Preferring dry and hungry to soaked but sated, we drove back to Leeds for a pizza.

Fifteen year ticks and a lifer.  Roll on Bank Holiday Weekend!!