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October 25TH UPDATE

It's been more than five months since I last posted on my blog. For those of you that don't know I have an imaging, manufacturing business and employ people, this I have found very difficult over the last seven months. I have been in business for over 30 years and largely enjoyed it, but when you're making decisions about other peoples lives when the circumstances are out of your control and are been taken at government level, it has at times been unbelievably stressful. The act of going birding has been way down my list of priorities and at times I have even felt I shouldn't be going when so many people are genuinely suffering.

Below is all the birding I have done all year with the exception of a couple that I feel are just wash out days not of any note. It will tell you where they were taken and a date but not much more. And from now on I will post more regular updates, more photos, and definitely more narrative. It will take me a while to get back into it, but I will get there, if you are reading this Thank you. All this week I will be uploading and writing.

Brown Shrike Thursday 22 10 2020

The Shrike had been at South Elmsall near Pontefract for quite some time before I got off my bum and went. I had seen many images and had quite a few texts and emails letting me know what I was missing. It's only 30 minutes away from where I live so off I went. Meeting Phil there at 10:30am we then yompt the half mile or so to the bird. As I had basically come from work I was wearing nice shiny patent Doc Martens not wellington boots and the mud in places was 200mm deep. With shoes caked in mud we entered the last field you can see from the image below, nice long wet grass! This took all the mud off and polished the shoes to perfection, Looking good. :-)
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The image above is showing just how far we were away from the Shrike. The bird was in the bush at the far right corner on the edge of the frame.

There has been many discussions as to what kind of shrike this is and all sorts of notions, some founded and some unfounded. For me I was unsure and on twitter called it a Northern Shrike which covered even or most eventualities.

I then read Jonno Ladleys blog "
Birding Dad" and the science just stacks up. Have a read.
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HOOPOE, COLLINGHAM

The Hoopoe have been with us for a while before I decided to go and see it on the 8th of October. The weather was very changeable and at the point of getting in the car it was actually drizzling. When I arrived in Collingham there were about 20 birders all pointing their cameras at the small object on the cricket pitch. The small object could not give a damn, it just did its own thing. Sometimes flying up into a tree, but only for a few seconds and then back it came to the adorning crowds.

Below is the sound of a Eurasian Hoopoe.
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Alkborough Flats, Cherry Cobb Sands, Sammy's Point

Alkborough Flats, Cherry Cobb Sands, Sammy's Point on Saturday 10th October 2020. It was a cold wet day to start with, low laying fog or mist covered most of the land around Alkborough Flats in North Lincolnshire. For the first couple of hours we didn't see a thing but as the day progressed things started looking up.

By the time we got to Kilnsea and to the back of the church it was a bright sunny day. We were there for a Yellow Browed Warbler in the cemetery, we could hear it but we could not see it in the dense bushes. Two Goldcrest paid us a visit and went immediately into the same bush, they kept hoping out but too fast for me to get a photo.

All the time we could hear the Yellow Browed, but no sign, even with six of us looking.

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We moved on to Sammy's Point just up the road, now bathed in sunshine and looking promising. Large floats of birds were coming in off the sea and flying north up the humber. Linnets below and the Stonechats above were just some of them.
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REDPOL, BANK ISLAND

It was just one of those days not much happening, overcast, misty, and very muddy. Then all of a sudden redpoll! Not much els to say really. I like Redpol !!! Poor quality shots, sorry. I would like to say it was the excitement of seeing them but its just poor camera work.
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THE NENE VALLEY & FERRY MEADOWS

In mid September we paid a visit to the Nene Valley in particular Ferry Meadows. This was essentially a non-birding break however who could resist the ring necked parakeet which has bred here for a number of years. The birds had not been seen for a few days and returned to their favourite feeders just as we were passing, so a couple of quick snaps.
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North East, Salthome, Zinc Road and the Gares

I love the North East of England, especially the coastal areas just below and above Seaton. With it's mixture of industry both working and derelict and wide open spaces and amazing beaches. I once took a friend and he was astounded at the contrasting landscape and the beauty therein. I've been there many times and the birding is always great but of course there is also lots of other wildlife.

Butterflies, Seals, Fox and other mammalian wildlife are all there if you look close enough. Recently there have been porpoise, and even Minke and Orca seen just off the coast, a truly magnificent sight.
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Above: Chalk Hill Blue (I think)
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Above: The gentle Kittiwake
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Above: Three shots of the Guillemot, keeping out of the way of the Kittiwake.
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Above. The majestic Sandwich Terns & one below.
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Below: Common Tern with its catch.
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Below: Left, Redshank and on the right Black Tailed Godwit.
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Below: Black Tailed Godwit.
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Above: Golden Plover and the smaller Dunlin.
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Above: Curlew Sandpiper.

Below: Redshank.
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The Champions of the Flyway
Bird Race

Champions of the Flyway 2018



It’s 7.15pm and I’m sat in the Ron Cook hub on the York University campus. I’m looking out of the windows at birds in silhouette to see if I can identify them, some I can and some I can’t Heslington is really quite ethereal at night in the winter. Last night I went to a talk, a lecture, a piece of information delivered expertly by a fellow if somewhat better birder. The Champions of the flyway was the title “a talk by Mark James Pearson” @fileybirder.
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ALKBOROUGH SEPTEMBER 2017

Alkborough Flats and the area of Alkborough is not in Yorkshire, however this is most definitely one of my favourite birding spots. Yesterday, 17th September 2017 I visited with long term birding friend Phil Smithson. Phil picked me up at 6.15am and we set of in very poor visibility, low heavy fog but with a strange glow above. Our route, M62, M18 didn't clear at all until we got into the Burton Upon Strather area and then only slightly. We were determined to get out of the car and at the very least walk and listen, and what a soundscape. The first sound I heard was of Reed Buntings, hundreds of Reed Buntings, Then a single Cetis Warbler and a loud symphony of bird calls & alerts all coming from the fog.
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BOU changing to the IOC

If you are a birder you will have or will eventually come into contact with a bird list of some kind. Whether your list is a printed list or a list in an app but a bird list non the less. There are several kinds of bird list but here in the UK we tend to use the BOU list "British Ornithology Union" This gives us names we all know and many understand and relate too.
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Hutton, East Yorkshire

I was in Hutton East Yorkshire this weekend and although the weather was awful the sound was great for anyone who cared to listen. I was stood in a gateway on a country road and because the winds were so high the birds were static, the sounds wonderful and the lighting beautiful
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Its all about the Godwits


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Well, the weekend had just about every weather front the British Isles has ever seen. On Saturday I ventured to Alkborough and the weather was amazing with blue skies and not much around on the birding front. I did manage to film some displaying Mallard and Teal, you can see this on the film page under media. I then moved on to North cave Wetlands and again not much but think the high winds kept most birds down. A study reveals that more than half of the worlds Godwits and Curlews face extinction you can read more here Godwits.
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On our way to moo moo land

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It's all about Respect

Driving down the motorway today, M62 in fact, there was a large lorry carrying cows. On the rear of this lorry was a graphic, "on our way to moo moo land" Tasteful, I think not, funny I think not, why would you pay for this kind of decal if you had any respect for the animals you are carrying, in charge of?

I couldn't get the name of the haulage company or I would have challenged them on this disrespectful and quite frankly offensive statement. I am a meat eater, a total carnivore but I hope with some respect for animals and their welfare.

There Has been Icelandic Gull at Taphill Low, Waxwings at Hemphome, Long Tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere and Black Redstart at Flamborough. Waxwings were also seen at Dunsville and Rotherham in South Yorkshire. The Palid Harrier was also seen at Welwick Saltmarsh and I must go over to see it as it's not on my list.

Fairburn Ings also had waxwings by the visitor centre and a couple in the village.

I have been listening to the excellent
BBC podcast series on the east Asian Flyway, this four part series tells the real story of this flyway birds use in world wide migration from Australia and New Zealand up through China's Yellow River. I've put a link on the soundscape page under Media.
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wykeham-wood

This weekend I spent in Wykeham, North Yorkshire. Wykeham forest is a working forest with birdlife in abundance, the only problem is the abundance did not show themselves to me. I could hear, Nuthatch, Woodpecker an entire forest full of Tits and Finches but without many sightings. In the distance I could see Red Kite, Buzzard but not close enough to get good views. I really will have to try harder next weekend when I'm staying in Hutton, East Yorkshire. There has been plenty of waxwings about this weekend and all avoiding me.

So this week we have had Firecrest and Waxwings at Blacktoft, Glaucous Gull at Swillington Ings, Long Tailed Duck at St Aidens, Waxwings at Swillington, Short Eared Owl at Bempton, Hen Harriers at Blacktoft, and the Pine Bunting is still at Dunnington.

Beautiful Light

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