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Friday, June 19, 2015

Early Summer snippets from North Yorkshire - Pied Flycatchers & Redstarts at Strid, Chimney Moths & Mandarin at Jefrey Bog plus lots of flowers!

Pied Flycatcher (male) pic courtesy of D.Cookson
Out with the lads at Strid Woods (nr Bolton Abbey) recently I was thrilled to see up to 15 or so Pied Flycatchers. One of my favourite 'small birds', they bring back happy memories of my first forays into birding during family holidays in the Lake District when used to wander off into the woods for hours on end and cause my parents much anxiety!

Smart birds, they seemed quite numerous back then and still hold their own there and in Wales but in common with so many insect eating birds habitat loss both here and in their sub Saharan wintering grounds due to de-forestation has seen their numbers decline by 25 - 50% in last few decades. To my knowledge, Strid Wood is about the only place in Yorkshire where they breed nowadays.

Redstart (male) Strid Wood. 8/06/15

To my chagrin I didn't manage a single decent shot.. poor light down I the gorge is barely half an excuse, but we all marvelled at their aerial prowess as they darted hither and thither over the river catching Damselflies. Plenty of Spotted Flycatchers there too along with Redstarts, Grey and Pied Wagtails all feasting on as many winged insects as I've seen this year so far.

Redstart (male) Strid Wood. 8/06/15

Strid Wood itself is a smashing and invigorating walk. The path meanders through the woods and along a section of the River Wharfe that has narrowed and deepened into some dramatic gorges, and eventually ends up at Bolton Abbey. The tea rooms at Strid and the usual tourist trappings of the Abbey have made it a popular place even on weekdays so my to would be to go early!

Strid Wood & River Wharfe

Dipper, Strid. 08/06/15

Kingfisher, Strid. 08/06/15

Meadow Crane's Bill, Strid, 08/06/15
The lads (Mikey & Nick), Strid. 08/06/15

At some point along the walk there's some stepping stones across the river to negotiate and I was devilishly looking forward to taking a pic of Mikey trying to cross with his dodgy knee but we took a detour so it never happened ... but this young Curlew with legs akimbo reminds me now of that missed photo op!

Curlew, Strid, 08/06/15


Same Mikey was after a Mandarin Duck for his UK list, and he got several, but he needn't have gone so far -  a couple of days later I spotted this female on the River Derwent at YWT reserve Jefrey Bog!

Yet another YWT reserve ticked off and visited (that's 62 out of 98 now).

A tranquil place this one and for once the sun shone and there was warmth. Should have brought the butterflies out but it was late in the day so I had to settle for some reasonable pics of Chimney Moths amongst the Ragged Robins, Yellow Flag Iris and Marsh Marigolds .....

Chimney Moth, Jefrey Bog, 09/06/15

Chimney Moth, Jefrey Bog, 09/06/15

Ragged Robin ... interestingly backlit, Jefrey Bog, 09/06/15

Marsh Marigold, Jefrey Bog, 09/06/15

 A few more early Summer snippets from round and about and in no particular order to round things off before the Solstice tomorrow - I'll be on Hatfield Moor again and praying for good light!

Red Campions, River Seven at Normanby, 20/05/15

Speedwell, River Seven at Normanby, 20/05/15
Dog Rose, Askham Bog, 14/06/15

Lastingham with the NY moors beyond, from Normaby, 20/05/15
Marsh Orchid, Askham Bog, 13/06/15

Marsh Thistle, Askham Bog, 13/06/15

Singing Yellowhammer, Wykeham, 10/06/15

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chilling out on Hatfield Moor, a possible new breeder, dashing Hobbies and singing Tree Pipits.

Some more good news for Hatfield Moor / Humberhead Peatlands, a couple of Marsh Harriers look like they're going to breed there this year. Its likely that this is overspill from nearby Potteric Carr where there are at least 3 pairs or even Blacktoft Sands where they're also doing well. With so many of our native birds in decline its heartening to witness the continuing expansion of these graceful raptors and it surely can't be long before a pair nest in the Lower Derwent Valley.

Marsh Harrier, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15

Not the best of pics because of the distance we were away from the nest site but I don't believe anyone else has managed to photographically record this success story and that was my mission on the day. This is the male, a very pale, relatively small individual that could almost be mistaken for a Montagues Harrier from a distance.

timbobagginsabroad, birds, raptors, breeding
Marsh Harrier, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15

We'll have to wait and see if they breed successfully but the omens are good.

Hobby, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15

Hobbies have been doing ok on Hatfield for some time now and along with nearby Thorne Moor, its one of the easiest of places to catch up with these dashing, colourful falcons. This one came out of nowhere as we were waiting for the Marsh Harrier to return, caught a dragonfly and in typical fashion ate it on the wing... all over in a flash and I had to be quick to get these pics!

timbobagginsabroad, raptor, falcon
Hobby devouring a dragonfly, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15

Hobby, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15

Hobby2, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15

We caught up with another Hobby later in the day, just cruising around, easier to photograph and  perhaps a more 'typical' view but to my mind not as exciting a capture as the previous one trousers on view though!

Even easier was this nice Tree Pipit, one of several singing birds on the moor. To the untrained eye its just another small brown bird; not as exciting as a dashing Hobby or as colourful as say a Redstart but hey they're just as fascinating. They too migrate 1000s of miles from Africa to breed here and they sing better than Hobbies! Holding their own here I'd say but getting scarcer around my vicinity in the Vale of York.

timbobagginsabroad, pipits, south yorks
Singing Tree Pipit, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15

Tree Pipit, Hatfield Moor, 28/05/15
Bright, warm sunshiny days have been few and far between this May in the UK and this wasn't one of them but biking around Hatfield with me old mucker Mark was as enjoyable as ever .. we got the record shots of a potentially new breeding bird for the reserve (mission accomplished), got plenty of other stuff too - disturbed a few Adders, heard a couple of Garden Warblers and many Cuckoos, and just chilled!

Chilled out on Hatfield
Hatfield Moor

Hatfield Moor

Check out the blog for recent sightings here - Hatfield Moor Blog Red Necked Phalarope over this past w/e ..where was my lens!