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Monday, November 30, 2015

LAST POST AND LINK TO NEW BLOG

After 4 plus years I've decided to call time on this blog. Its been great fun and I'm not about to stop posting about my stuff  - I did think about it but I've got the blogging bug now and its a wonderful way of recording and sharing ones experiences. Here's the link to the new Blog

BAGGINS ON THE LOOSE - my brand new Blog

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hunting Kestrels, Ring Ouzels and first winter thrushes in at Flamborough,

Got some great pics of hunting Kestrels the other day whilst I was scouring the hedges and bushes at Flamborough for migrant warblers. Bright morning sunshine always helps but with a family party of 4 that were continually stooping for prey along the cliffs I couldn't fail!
Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 

Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 
Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 

Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15

A little trickier once the birds were against the cliff-side but one or two came out well including this one -

raptor, bird of prey, bird, timbobagginsabroad
Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
Much easier against the sky and the sea, and of course a good hovering Kestrel pic is a must for the collection and these are some of the best I've ever managed. At least 3 distinctly different individuals here including one which appears to have a chunk missing from its wing ... didn't seem to affect its flying ability however.

Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 
Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 

Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 
Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 

Common Kestrel, Flamborough, 06/10/15
Ring Ouzel, Buckton, 06/10/15

I failed abysmally to see any of the dozen or so Yellow Browed Warblers that were present on the headland but to my credit I did see a Barred Warbler (hopeless pic unless you like hawthorn bushes!) and there were passage thrushes everywhere, especially further up the coast at Buckton (adjacent to Bempton RSPB -  mainly Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, the odd Redwing, 3 Fieldfare and the undoubted highlights - 5 Ring Ouzels. Damn difficult to get close but a passing Sparrowhawk flushed one and enabled me to get some half decent 'in flight' shots.


Ring Ouzel, Buckton, 06/10/15









Very reminiscent of our common or garden Blackbird, Ring Ouzels are a tad bigger, males sport a distinctive white crescent across their breast and they have silvery grey wings. Fab birds, they breed in mountainous, hilly regions (there's a healthy population in the NY Moors) most of these however are likely to have come in from central Europe. Some excellent info here if you want to know more about these birds - Ring Ouzels

 
 

Ring Ouzel, Buckton, 07/10/15
 

Ring Ouzel, Buckton, 06/10/15
 

Ring Ouzels, Buckton, 06/10/15


Fieldfare, Buckton, 06/10/15


I got lucky with the Fieldfares I think - they just appeared after a bit of mizzle and then flew off south. To my knowledge, although there have been a few at Spurn, these are possibly the first records this Autumn for Flamborough.

Footnote re the Ring Ouzels - the next day and well tuned into their call, I had another of these birds at Fangfoss, no pic sadly but a mega record and the 80th species for my local patch. Well done me!




















and here's that bush with a Barred Warbler in it - I think maybe I should stick to photographing Kestrels!

Barred Warbler, Flamborough, 06/10/15
 
Barred Warbler, Flamborough, 06/10/15











Saturday, September 26, 2015

September ins and outs down my way, young swallows venture south and the finches move in.

September .. the summer crops are gathered in and wild flowers are blooming their last. Nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping, cricket's days are done and rugby takes centre stage, and small birds of many species are moving south .....

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Almost all of the Swallows around Fangfoss Park have now departed, slightly earlier than last year when I had good numbers well into the last week of September and then the odd late straggler into the first week of October. Their long and often hazardous flight down to sub Saharan Africa must be a daunting one for all this year's young ones and, although many other birds undertake the self same amazing journey, there is something endearingly magical about the annual departure of these vulnerable looking wee birds.


birds, wildlife, timbobagginsabroad
Barn Swallow, Strensall Common, 10/09/15 

These youngsters were 2 of many that were massing together on Strensall Common a couple of weeks ago and obviously getting ready to go. They'll be well on their way now, their journey time south to Africa is a lot more leisurely than the dash back north in the Spring and these 2 can be reasonably confident of catching flies under South African skies within a couple of months but my they look so fragile!







Barn Swallow, Strensall Common, 10/09/15



timbobagginsabroad, yorkshire
Blackcap, Fangfoss, 21/09/15

Departure time from Europe for many other birds too, including many warblers using the UK as a convenient stop off point and feeding station. The many hedgerows around my local patch here in Fangfoss have held many Willow Warblers, ChiffChaffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps over the past few weeks and even a couple of Lesser Whitethroats ... sadly not able to photograph the latter but as with my Whinchat of a couple of weeks ago a welcome new species for the area.



Willow Warbler, Fangfoss, 22/09/15

Spotted Flycatchers bred here this year and this may be one of the youngsters but could equally be another individual on passage ... it was in amongst a roving group of tits and warblers.


timbobagginsabroad
Spotted Flycatcher, Fangfoss, 15/09/15
timbobagginsabroad
Lesser Redpoll, Fangfoss, 21/09/15


There's a lot of fruit laden hedgerows around the countryside at the moment and all worthy of a look if you're looking for migrants (and I don't mean Syrians!). Just as the warblers, chats and flycatchers feed up on this seasonal feast before heading south, other birds are arriving on our shores either to stay or in transit - Blackbirds, Robins and assorted finches have all increased in numbers of late and a small flock of Lesser Redpolls in amongst the more numerous Goldfinches is a sure sign of the changing season ...



Lesser Redpoll, Fangfoss, 21/09/15
Goldfinch, Strensall Common,


timbobagginsabroad, birds, yorkshire

No Redwings or Fieldfares have made it this far inland as yet but a steady increase in Blackbird numbers, like this one gorging on Elderberries.




















Good to see some healthy flocks of Lapwings back in the fields too ...

Lapwings, Fangfoss, 15/09/15
I'm glad my Aug 24th Honey Buzzard sighting finally made it onto the Flamborough bird observatory site here - http://fbo.org.uk/category/sightings/ It was the highlight of my day too, even though I had to study the pictures before I realised what it was!

Back here in the Yorkshire Wolds our own Common Buzzards seem to go from strength to strength with up to 8 in my immediate vicinity.

Common Buzzard, Fangfoss, 16/09/15


Common Buzzard, Fangfoss, 16/09/15


Lucky shot of this one calling as it swept past me!


Almost certainly I'll be heading out to the coast soon to catch some more visible migration ... maybe an October trip out to Spurn when the winter thrushes start coming in, but in truth I'm more than happy walking the lanes and hedgerows of my own patch!




Friday, September 18, 2015

Scrapping Spars!

Searching the Yorkshire coast again for passage migrant birds last week brought us precious few ... a smattering of Redstarts,  'WillowChaffs', Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat but the undoubted highlight was a couple of scrapping Sparrowhawks at Buckton. Quite why they were being so aggressive to one another I'm not sure - maybe they were looking for the same prey as us and similarly frustrated took it out on each other! More than likely though one of these birds is just an intruder on the others patch; whatever the reason it was great drama, went on for a good 5 minutes and I'm reasonably pleased with these captures....

All started out quite tame ... just a couple of Spars out a hunting



timbobagginsabroad, yorkshire, Buckton
Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15


Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15


Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15

..... all going so well and then it got kinda nasty!


Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15
Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15





timbobagginsabroad, raptors, birds,
Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15

Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15
 
 

Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15

 Not sure if this was the winner or the loser but with normal service resumed after all the commotion it was the sharpest pic!

Sparrowhawk wars, Buckton, 11/09/15

I've never seen Sparrowhawks being so aggressive with one another, in fact not common to see this much interaction between birds that are more often than not seen as lone hunters.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Flamborough for the first proper 'fall' of the year .. Honey Buzzard the star amongst many migrants

It was just 'one of those days' we birders dream about ... late August, persistent easterly winds and a forecast of fog rolling in off the sea and all this after a weekend of sultry storms in these 'ere parts ... there had to be a 'fall' in the offing!!


Red Backed Shrike, Old Fall, Flamborough, 24/08/15
I toyed with the idea of Spurn Point but decided it was just too far and that Flamborough Head would be just as good for the first proper migrant 'fall' of the Autumn - birds migrating South and getting caught by the wind and forced to make landfall on the nearest coast.

Often spectacular and always the chance of a rarity or two, and there were indeed a couple of rarities knocking about - a Red Backed Shrike that didn't look quite as good in the mist and through a fellow birder's scope as this superb pic by Tony Dixon, who if its the same TD, is an old pal of mine going years back ... get in touch Tony!




The other rarity was Icterine Warbler, 2 of them, neither of which I was lucky enough to see but I did manage a splendid Wood Warbler in the Old Fall wood and then a lucky rarity of my own.




timbobagginsabroad, wildlife, birds, photography
Honey Buzzard, Flamborough, 24/08/15

Walking over to the headland from Old Fall hedge I spotted a big hawk coming out of the mist and gliding towards me at cliff top height. It never looked quite right for a Common Buzzard ... jizz was all wrong, long wings, long tail and a well sticky out head .. could it be a Honey Buzzard?











Still to be confirmed by whoever needs to confirm such things but it sure looks like one to me - 



Honey Buzzard, Flamborough, 24/08/15


Honey Buzzard, Flamborough, 24/08/15



Honey Buzzard, Spurn, 24/08/15


A similar bird was seen later on in the day at Spurn and highly likely that these are one and the same judging by the obvious damage to some of its flight feathers. Here's the Spurn pic (courtesy of Nigel Glen) - different light and aspect. Judge for yourself but its the same bird for me!













What a cracking start ... I'd already bagged a Wood Warbler, several Pied & Spotted Flycatchers, a couple of Redstarts, Garden Warbler, dozens of Willow Warblers and then a probable Honey Buzzard - all before 9.00am!



timbobagginsabroad
Red Admiral, Flamborough, 24/08/15
Only downside was the poor visibility and with intermittent fog making photography less than easy it was a bit frustrating, especially on the headland, but when the mist cleared it was warm and in addition to the many migrant birds about there were also hundreds of butterflies on the wing - many Wall Browns and Red Admirals plus the occasional Painted Lady.




Wall Brown, Flamborough, 24/08/15



timbobagginsabroad
Painted Lady, Flamborough, 24/08/15

















..... even managed a half decent 'dragonfly in flight' pic, an Emperor no less


Emperor Dragonfly, Flamborough, 24/08/15

Redstart, Flamborough, 24/08/15






Back amongst the birdies I had mixed fortunes with photographing the common migrants on show. Still lots of leaves on both tree and bush makes it difficult enough without errant twigs spoiling the shot!

And then there are the predators that seem to show up at such times .. I had at least 3 Sparrowhawks on the Headland, all looking for an easy lunch making the migrants skulk even further back into the bushes!










Sparrowhawk, Flamborough, 24/08/15


This Spotted Flycatcher escaped after a frantic chase and will hopefully learn not to choose such a prominent perch next time there are Spars about in numbers!


Spotted Flycatcher, Flamborough, 24/08/15


This is where he should have been, out of sight like this juv Pied Flycatcher, out of sight and learning well!
Pied Flycatcher, Flamborough, 24/08/15



 

 

a late Common Swift was one of half a dozen on the headland


Common Swift (with a House Martin), Flamborough, 24/08/15



 
 A stroll up Hoddy Cow's Lane at Buckton in a vain search for 2 reported Wrynecks also saw the return of mist and fog in the late afternoon but it was not a wasted journey - yet more Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, various common warblers and a Cuckoo that had surely just made landfall made for nice if less than sharp image
 


Cuckoo, Buckton, 24/08/15

There's a Heligoland trap and bird ringing station up there and sure enough Mark Thomas, otherwise known as the Buckton Birder was hard at work ..... 'birds everywhere' he said simply, and he was right. It seemed as if almost every available perching post was in occupation!
 


Pied Flycatcher, Buckton, 24/08/15





timbobagginsabroad
 
 
 

.... and here's my favourite Wheatear pic of the day, it would have been perfect to photograph one on an actual 'wheat ear' but the next best thing - a barley ear was perfect enough!
Wheatear, Buckton, 24/08/15



 
Top day and the first of many more this Autumn I hope. That Honey Buzzard was a new UK bird for me and I'm on the hunt for 2 or 3 more in the next couple of months. If I'd gone to Spurn I would have picked up Red Footed Falcon but lets not be greedy!