Tag Archives: Osprey

Jubilation and Expansion

5 Jun

This weekend has mostly been taken up with Jubilation… some time back I was persuaded by the good lady wife to apply for tickets for the Diamond Jubilee Concert… and then subsequently I was surprised to find I’d been one of the lucky 5,000 out 1.5m that got the tickets.

Even more surprising given that I have “previous” within the walls of Buckingham Palace – luckily I seem not to be on a blacklist.

Anyway.. birding opportunities were limited to gross generalisations :

  • Buzzards are on the increase massively. I’ve never seen buzzards close to London but I had4 sightings within the M25 circle this weekend
  • Ring-necked parakeets are also on the march. My kind host for the weekend lives in Surrey (Ewell) and had previously had regular visits from parakeets however in his new home he’d not had any sightings on 12 months. I managed three sightings from his kitchen in two mornings.

Other good birds this weekend emerged as we drove to pick up the little un who had spent the weekend with the grandparents and managed an osprey near Scaling Dam (host to a single male for most of last summer) followed by a merlin on the moors.

Minimal time to watch birds but an interesting weekend all the same.

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More Welsh Wandering – Ospreys and Roseates

22 May

Further to my last post about my trip to North Wales, I managed to pick up a few new year ticks… some expected and some less so.

Most unepected perhaps was roseate tern at Cemlyn lagoons… I went to see the nesting colony of sandwich, arctic and common terns and I was not let down. Thousands of birds swirling in the air from time to time in a screaming dread I could see all three species in abundance when in the middle a single markedly pale individual floated past me with long flowing tail streamers and a dark beak. I snapped off a couple of shots to double-check later as I lost it out to sea.

Also on the lagoon a dozen red-breasted merganser including a pair obligingly close. After watching them for a while and taking a few more photos I returned out of the biting wind to the car whereupon I checked my photos. “No card in camera” the screen cheerfully reported. What? I opened the hatch for the memory card and there was my memory card in situ, but unlatched. D’Oh!

Anyway, an hour later the pager report chirped up.. roseate tern at Cemlyn Lagoon, so I at least I had confirmation even if no photos.

Also at Cemlyn I picked up my first ringed plover of the year.

The Llanberis pass offered up plenty of raven, pied wagtails, a pair of dipper and a single common sandpiper.

Also slightly unexpected were a pair of nesting osprey not far from Snowdon, a male circling around before heading for a nest atop a large pine tree… further down the road by a mile or so a big bold RSPB sign for “the Glasyn Ospreys” indicated I probably wasn’t the first to find them!

Back at South Stack I found choughs to be much more obliging than my last trip to anglesey – numerous individuals evident on each of four visits, including a pair nesting in a cave inside the cliff face. On the top of the cliff a cuckoo was reported eagerly being fed by an unwitting and long-suffering rock pipit.

I missed out on black guillemot at Holyhead Harbour, and also little owl which I was hoping for, but it was still a most enjoyable trip.

More ospreys than greenfinch?

20 Jul

Well maybe not quite, but this year I’ve seen exactly the same number of ospreys in England as I have greenfinch – two. And thats only because I saw my second greenfinch of the year yesterday to catch up with my two osprey.

Last year when we moved to Bedlington, greenfinch and goldfinch were the most common visitor to our garden, easily outstripping sparrows, starlings and blackbirds. This year not a single visit by either.

Thats not good news, however the news yesterday that the 2nd pair of osprey at Kielder have two surviving chicks to go with the one from the established pair is excellent. A little more info here.

Osprey, Chicks and the Blues

30 May

Had a brief visit to Teesside and North Yorkshire this weekend to catch up with family and pay a few flying visits to a few sites I don’t get to often.

First was a 15 minute stop off at RSPB Saltholme to try and see yellow wagtails and lo and behold 10 minutes yeilded four individuals, albeit three of them flying at 100mph in the vicious wind!

Next was a 90 min whizz around Coatham Marsh – my first visit for ore more.  That yielded my first blue butterfly of the year – a very bright common blue. Again the wind didn’t help in trying to get a photo on the grasses that were constantly buffeted around. A little further round the marsh a second blue was no less elusive.

Common Blue

Another first for me this year were small heaths flitting around the pathways.

Lots of birds with chicks – Canada and Greylag Geese, Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and Reed Bunting all with young families in tow, the dabchicks particularly high in the cute factor but sadly far to wary to allow any kind of approach.

Mute Swans

I was half hoping that some of the ruddy duck that used to breed here may have escaped the cull, but sadly no sign of them – I fear I wont see them around again for a while.

An evening trip to Lockwood Beck for crossbills and osprey drew a blank on the former but did get a brief glimpse of an osprey while engrossed in trying to watch a pair of willow warblers that were dancing around us in the trees only a few feet away. Only a poor quality record shot to show for it :

Osprey

Osprey

This morning I had an early morning trek up to Danby Beacon and despite the drizzle managed to see a pair of golden plover with two enchanting chicks – looking like golden cotton-wool balls on stilts! There was also an abundance of Jackdaws – more than I’ve ever seen there before – perhaps they were all just gathered together in the rain.

Oh and I should also mention the rogue pea-hen that seems to have taken up residence in my parents’ garden and is now bullying poor Tiggsy the cat !

Pea-hen : an unusual garden visitor

Birds seen : Mallard, Shoveller, Coot, Moorhen, Little grebe, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Reed Bunting, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Black Headed Gull, Grey Heron, Collared Dove, Osprey, Willow Warbler, Cormorant, Yellow Wagtail, Common Tern, Wheatear, Golden Plover, Curlew, Jackdaw, Rook, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch

Butterflies seen : Common blue, small heath, large white, small tortoisheshell