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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Shaking off my post Spain blues and hanging with a couple of good guys in Goshawk territory!

Hasn't it been dismal with all this wet weather of late! I guess up here in North Yorks we're just getting our share of what the West country has had to cope with for weeks now, so fair do's. Judging by the footage I've seen of the flooding on the Somerset Levels we're getting off lightly ... for now!

None of this squally weather and dismal skies has helped my post Spain trip state of near hibernation of course and work has been nr impossible out on the reserves I cover so a planned trip out with a couple of friends of mine was very welcome. So I met up with a couple of top guys and fellow nature nuts Mikey and Robin, and despite the predictably dodgy weather forecast, we were after spotting the elusive Goshawk. We had a cracking good day ... saw the Gos (well 2 of us did ... never mind Rob, come again in Spring!), had a few other good birds but most of all it was just good fun, easy going, like minded, blokey type fun.

Now at this point I'd like to be basking in dubious glory over you drooling over a fab Goshawk pic like this one perhaps

Northern Goshawk
..... but of course both you and I know that's just an image of this magnificent hunter lifted from Google images (shot in Korea of all places) not Wykham Forest, nr Scarborough on a misty murky Monday morning! Nae worries, I'm confident of a decent pic soon enough -  now that I've got the lie of the land; the one we saw briefly as it flapped lazily down the valley wasn't dissimilar to the above and judging by the paucity of footage of wild Goshawks, they're tricky to capture - good job we like a challenge!

This bird is steeped in folklore - North American Indians called it the 'Grey Ghost' and of the few 'non falconry' clips of this highly evolved predator go here's a couple of the best
Rabbit v Goshawk - slightly gruesome but hey that's nature

Aerial skills of the big Gos! - a Chris Packham special, minus Michaeala Strachan (big shame)

In a sense that was 'mission accomplished', yes we'd have liked another view of the Goshawk or the other target bird Crossbill, but we decided to cut our losses and head over to Scarborough to see the long staying juvenile Great Northern Diver in the harbour there. Pity the bird was half asleep and way off from the harbour but here's a decent enough record pic
Great Northern Diver, Scarborough.

Just as well Rob was on hand to take some close ups ... even if the subjects were most definitely not beautiful birds!
Clocking the Great Northern Diver in Scarborough

Who knows what we were laughing at, maybe it was the surfer?

Scarborough Surf he mad?!

..... have to say that's a nice beard Rob .... living where you do though, best shave it off before spring in case a Meadow Pipit decides to snuggle in and nest in it!

Goodbeard Rob!
Walking around the harbour looking for Purple Sandpipers we encountered a very inquisitive Turnstone and all took pics .... hardy wader the humble Turnstone, cocky and adaptive, they're the master seashore scavengers.
Turnstone, Scarborough harbour

Turnstone, Scarborough harbour

The Redshanks weren't as brave, sheltering under the harbour wall ...  very nearly lost my footing trying to get the right angle to capture this one. Looking good though, very resplendently red legs on this 'spring ready' male
Common Redshank, Scarborough harbour

I was rooting for a Purple Sandpiper here but hey we got Goshawk and Great Northern Diver on a squally day with little sunshine, so who am I to complain ... bonus birds included a Common Snipe flushed from Scalby Mills that with hindsight did seem quite small (mmhh!) and a nice Kingfisher on the mere as we were searching for a reported Firecrest there (no joy), and decent flock of 200 or so Wigeon in the bay at Scalby Mills ....
Wigeon, Scarborough bay.
  .....and one of my favourite pelagic birds, Fulmars - getting it on and acting decidedly matey on the cliffs. Yes Spring is but a February breath away and many birds, beasts n flora are gearing up for Spring .... Daffodil, Crocus and Snowdrop shoots already coming up for a look see and can't wait for Spring!

Fulmars getting it on, Scarborough

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