Monday, 13 November 2017

13th November

A walk along the river on a bright, but surprisingly cold, morning. Around 60 Curlew were in the beet field near the bridge…


There have been really good numbers of Curlews around the last few days including a flock of around 160 in the large open fields near the school and 40+ down Potter Lane.


The river itself was fairly quiet but I saw Kingfisher, three Snipe, two Little Grebe, a small flock of Golden Plover and my first Goosander since the spring…


And what, from a distance, I took to be an interesting wader…


but it was only an Oystercatcher (although the first I have seen since June).  

A flock of 200 Fieldfare in the Bottom Fields on Saturday were the first of the autumn, around three weeks later than usual. There were still good numbers around today…


I walked back via Langlands Farm flushing four Grey Partridge. A Corn Bunting was surprisingly in song here and a single Grey Wagtail was feeding around the field drains…



Sunday, 29 October 2017

29th October

Half term and a week away in Norfolk. Quiet by Norfolk standards, and the winds stubbornly stayed westerly all week, but even a quiet week in Norfolk has its moments.
Lapland and Snow Bunting…


20 species of wader…




Black Brant…


...Cattle and Great White Egret, Marsh & Hen Harrier, Water Pipit, Yellow-browed Warbler and woken each morning by new arrivals of geese…


You also notice the great birdwatching infrastructure and the impact that has on tourism. Something Welcome to Yorkshire should consider given the brilliant birding in the county.


Coming back to Ainderby today was a bit of an anti-climax but saw the first sizeable arrivals of Redwing, a covey of ten Grey Partridge in the top fields and 128 Curlew by the school.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

15th October

John came down for the last mothing session of the year last night. In the end it was colder than forecast but still a reasonable catch of 23 different species. The commonest were November moths and Red-line Quakers…


The total included five new ones for the parish. Blair’s Shoulder Knot, Acleris sparsana, Dark Chestnut, Brick…


And Sprawler…


On the birding front it has been a quiet week. Two late Sand Martins were seen over Ainderby last weekend along with at least 50 Pied Wagtails and the first Snipe since the spring. The first Redwings were seen on the 7th…


But they have remained very scarce, in fact significantly outnumbered by Red Admirals which are still around in exceptional numbers. Even more surprising was this Comma seen today, the latest I have ever had one in the village…


In fact birding at work was better than in the village this week with a Grey Wagtail in the car-park, three skeins of Pinkfeet over and a cracking adult Yellow-legged Gull on the playing field.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

24th September

A drake Wigeon on the Manor Pond today was the first I’ve seen this year and pushed the year list up to a measly 101 species. I am really missing the wader habitat of last year!


Yesterday the Manor Garden was alive with Blackbirds with at least two dozen around the lake. They were very jumpy and active so I assume they were fresh arrivals (from the continent?). They also spotted a Tawny Owl in a weeping willow on the island and eventually drove it out, sending it flying low across the water. They had all gone by today.
Other sightings included Woodcock over the Magic Garden, Little Egret, 200 Goldfinches and two Grey Wagtails by the river and a flock of 45 Meadow Pipits in the Bottom Fields. I also spotted this Stoat running along the railway…


Earlier in the week I went bat detecting with our neighbour Jim and friends of his, Phil & Lynda, from the Nottinghamshire Bat Group. Phil had a very sophisticated bat detector which recorded the calls. They were then put through a piece of software which turned them into sonograms. Not great pics but they were on my phone (and in the pub!)…


This one shows the ‘hockey stick’ shape of pipistrelle bats (in this case Common Pipistrelle)


Another pip but this time at a higher frequency (between 50 & 60khz) - this is a Soprano Pipistrelle.


This one shows some species of myotis bat (possibly Natterer’s) with a second species, Noctule, shown in the short straight sequence at 20khz. We also recorded another myotis bat but this time near the water so presumably Daubenton’s bat.


and this one shows  pip again but the effect of different habitats. The flatter, deeper (and therefore further carrying) calls are when the bat is in the open and the higher pitched are when it was hunting around the tree canopy (this was recorded at the top of Greenhills Lane).

Sunday, 10 September 2017

10th September

I’ll start with this magnificent beast, a Convolvulus Hawkmoth. Unfortunately not in the parish but close by in Scruton found in a friend’s garden…


It has still been fairly quiet on the bird front. A very late Swift was still over the Magic Garden on Friday (8th)...  


...and three Green Sandpipers were on the river. A Jay was in the Magic Garden yesterday, the first I’ve seen in the village since April.  I wonder where they go in summer? Today over 100 hirundines were feeding over Warlaby Lane, most were Swallows, flying almost at head height, along with a few Sand Martins. Above this were 20 odd House Martins.
In terms of migration Blackcaps seemed to be ‘tacking’ from nearly every bush yesterday but didn’t see, or hear, a single one today. Instead there seemed to have been a strong arrival of Goldcrests overnight. Buzzards were also on the move with up to ten seen over the village yesterday, including a tight ‘kettle’ of seven birds. This one attracted the attention of the local corvids...


They followed it up until they were all almost invisible to the naked eye.

John, my resident moth expert, did a search for leaf mines in the Magic Garden yesterday and added a remarkable 13 species of moth to the parish list. This included  Phyllonorycter esperella, the first record for North-West Yorkshire (Vice-county 65).

He also came across a number of galls including this striking Oak Artichoke Gall, caused by a tiny wasp Andricus foecundatrix...


Monday, 28 August 2017

27th August

A few signs of birds on the move this weekend – warblers passing through our garden…


And the first Meadow Pipits re-appearing in the parish…


In the Magic Garden there were at least half a dozen Blackcaps today with none seen yesterday…


A feature of recent days has been an evening movement of Curlews over the village with 60 odd birds moving north-east (to Teesside to roost?) . We found the flock today in the sheep pasture on Langlands…


Nearby there was a flock of 120 Lapwing and around 2000 Starlings feeding in a freshly turned field

Along the river yesterday there was a single Green Sandpiper…


A Little Egret…


And at least four Kingfishers…

(One day I will get a good shot of this species!)

Other sightings in recent days have included a Hobby over the village, four Swifts still present and evening gatherings of hirundines above the Magic Garden including over 50 Sand Martins.

I’ll finish with this striking fungi photographed on Langlands Farm…



...according to Mal, the very knowledgeable mid-Yorkshire fungi recorder, this is Ganoderma resinaceum or the Laquered Bracket. Looking this up it seems to be a very rare species this far north. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

20th August

Bird-wise it’s been very quiet. A Kingfisher has taken up its usual late summer residence on the Magic Garden lake. A Swift was over the village yesterday (along with three Buzzards) and around 50 Swallows were feeding low over the village green.

On the insect front the pick of the sightings was this Small Copper butterfly in the Magic Garden. This is the first I’ve seen in the village for many years…


Also there today, along with the usual whites, were half a dozen Speckled Woods…


Red Admiral, Peacock and two Walls.

The first Migrant Hawkers were seen last week. Both female…


and male...


But this Common Darter was the only other dragonfly seen today…



Sunday, 13 August 2017

Shetland

We’ve just come back from a fortnight in Shetland, almost thirty years since our first visit (our honeymoon!). We were blessed with amazing weather…


It even got mentioned on Radio 4 that we had more sunshine than Cornwall!
This wasn’t conducive to great birding (the only migrants I found were four Crossbills, a couple of Swifts, Chiffchaff and Grey Wagtail) but really showed these beautiful islands at their best…



And even their commonest birds are interesting…










And one of my favourites, the Shetland race of Wren…


Chunkier and with quite a distinct song.

Mammals included both Common and Grey seals (the latter almost climbing into the replica Viking ship we were sailing in!) pods of Risso’s and White-sided dolphins and this little cracker ‘nesting’ in the cliffs at Eshaness…


Unfortunately the list didn’t include Orcas with several sightings whilst we were there but we were always just a little too late…

We will be back...