Friday, 3 January 2014

Winter Swans, Sadberge

A party of four swans have favoured a field just north of the Dogs Trust in Sadberge since December.  The group is made up of 3 Whooper Swans - one adult and two juveniles along with one adult Bewick's.

Although the two species have extensive overlap, there are still no definitive cases of hybridisation in the wild. Hybrid offspring would be difficult to recognise due to the similar morphology and bill markings. The book 'Bewick's Swan' by Eileen Rees describes incidences of other Bewick's hybrids though.

Family party of Whooper Swans, Sadberge

Bewick's and Whooper together

Bewick's Swan, Sadberge

Whooper Swan, Sadberge

Great Grey Shrike, Bradbury

Following on from the Swans at Sadberge, I made the short trip to Bradbury where I enquired about the presence of the shrike.  A group of birders in a parked car had had no joy scanning the hedge north of the railway line, so I started scanning the general field boundary and picked it up near the farm at first.  It then flew to the hedge by the A1 - some distance hence the poor record shot!

Bert Mitchell, John Money and a few others turned up just as I located it.

Great Grey Shrike, Bradbury
3 January 2014

A nearby flock of gulls contained Black-headed, Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed.

Here's one I made earlier! Just a little bit closer :-)

Great Grey Shrike, Hartlepool Headland
10 October 2010

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Staveley YWT

A family trip to Staveley (a recently expanded YWT reserve near Boroughbridge) late this morning with the family was quite fruitful with views of Water Rail from one of the East Lagoon hides.

Water Rail

The other highlight was picking up a Marsh Tit when chatting with Maurice Local.

Surprisingly no Yellowhammer, Siskin or Redpoll before heavy rain put the dampers on things.

Foot It 2014 begins

We're off! The first bird of 2014 for me was a Woodpigeon...

Nothing earth-shattering, but the Foot It list is up and running and stands at 22 species:

Great Tit
Collared Dove
Blue Tit
House Sparrow
Carrion Crow
Tree Sparrow
Mistle Thrush
Long-tailed Tit
Black-headed Gull

A mixed winter thrush flock gorging on my neighbours' apple windfall was good to see, but couldn't match the 26 Blackbirds present yesterday. There were Redwings and Fieldfares in the mix though.