Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Everything has gone a bit quiet up here in Sutherland, all the waders seem to have cleared out of the uplands and the raptors are very hard to see, took a few shots of an approachable family of Whinchats yesterday.

Had to find some new digs cos the lodge I've been staying in is booked out this week, ended up in a pub miles from anywhere I kid you not it's like the league of gentlemen seriously dodgy, I'll probably never leave!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Bought a new tent recently after a bit of research I decided on an MSR here's a link to it


Got to use it on Friday night when I had to do a vantage point survey at dusk then another one at dawn on Sat. It shoud be £250 but after a quick internet seach I found one at field&trek.com for £200, they're part of the Sports Direct group so I presume it was nestled in between the Nickleson polo shirts and the Reebok Classics!! It does seem money well spent it looks a very good design, my old tent is 17 years old and it's amazing how much things have moved on since then.

Sat I went for a bit of a drive up the coast and found a nice group of Terns on some rocks so after patiently waiting for the sun to show itself got a bit more practice with the camera, quite pleased with a couple of the pics of a nice juv Arctic Tern. Only trouble is when I change them from RAW to TIFF files to alter the curves and sharpen them my software doesn't give me the option of saving them in a format small enough to upload so I have to change them to JPEG's and do the alterations but then they lose too much quality! I hate this camera!!!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Managed to get to Hornsea on Sat night but all the Little Gulls were too distant to make it worth getting the camera out. There were about 90 present, also a moulting adult Black Tern a couple of Common Sands and an eclipse drake Garg.
Although I've lived around Beverley for 15 yrs I've only been to High Eske and Pulfin Bog twice, basically cos it's shite! On Tuesday though I had to make the effort and go look at the Collared Pratincole, bit of a bumper year for them in Yorks following the bird in West Yorks in the spring. Shame really it was a nice blocker over all the low listing jonny come latelies.
Anyway watched it for best part of a couple of hours and saw it fly about 2 yards! Although the wing pattern wasn't seen the tail was longer than the wings at rest and it's a nice pale bird and the dark lores didn't extend up onto the sides of the forehead, couldn't see the shape or extent of the red at the bill base due to distance but I guess it's not gonna do an Amur Falcon on us! Rattled off a couple of shots of a Common tern that came close. Also a shot of an Arctic I tok a couple of weeks ago in Scotland not quite the same pose but I think it illustrates the shape differences between the 2 quite well. Arctics must be one of my favourite birds they're stunners.
Back up in Scotland now for another week or so.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Back in Yorkshire at the moment for a week or so, numbers of Little Gulls seem to be building up as usual at Hornsea mere so I'll try to get over and take some shots of them. Speaking of cameras after using a Canon S2 bridge camera for a few yrs I've taken the plunge and got a DSLR it's a 30D with a 300 f4.0 lens. To be honest I'm struggling with it nothing really seems as sharp as I'd hoped, I guess it's just a case of practicing with it.
Before I came back home managed to catch up with another Drag tick in the form of Highland Darter with a couple seen at Loch Garten and one seen nr Lairg, also saw what I assumed to be an Emerald s at Loch Garten but it was very brief and I don't know what sp they get there and the RSPB staff were clueless!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Whilst up here I've not got much birding done other than the surveys, so last Sat I decided to have a drive over to see the River Warbler at Applecross. The last and only other River Warbler I've seen was way back in Norfolk in 1989. One of the abiding memories of that twitch was my old mate Phil Hansbro hitting and killing a cat on route, he didn't want to leave it in the road so carried it to the nearest farmhouse and placed it lovingly on the doorstep, like the birding mafiosa!
Any way the Applecross bird showed ok but unfortunately it was a bit wet and bedraggled so the undertail covert and breast marking were a bit difficult to see, all the same a nice bird which gave me an opportunity to study the shape and listen to the song in life rather than recordings, really weird how the whole bird shakes when it sings.
Also seen whilst on route were 3 adult White tailed Eagles one of which I managed to get a "poor record shot" of!
Also managed to score a Drag tick in the form of an Azure Hawker at Loch Maree, disappointedly couldn't find any Emeralds or White faced Darter though.
I've been working up in Scotland since the middle of May carrying out various bird surveys which has been great seen plenty of Eagles which I'd only seen twice before in the UK, both in North Yorks!!!
Also had a few Black throated Divers, Ospreys and lots of breeding waders which was a bit of a new one on me. I've not seen too many upland waders on the breeding grounds before, I'll add a couple of pics later (when I figure out how to do it).
One of the best things I've seen up here was Pine Marten on the very first night I was here about half a mile from the digs, stunning thing.


I've been thinking about setting up a blog for some time, so here it is I finally got round to doing it. It's really just somewhere for me to ramble and rant and stick pics (usually not very good ones) of birds and other stuff I find interesting. Those of you who have met me will know only too well how important my Yorkshire list is hence the blog name. Expect updates mainly from Spurn (my local patch) and other sites around Yorks, plus a bit about my various travels and occasional twitches (I don't need to twitch much these days!).