Monday, 16 January 2017

It may be sunny birding here but in the UK?

16 January 2017

Having reported on my Saturday visit to the Charca de Suarez and bemoaned that the weather was cool and cloudy but leasing to very warm, clear and sunny, my friend Chris Bell from Worksop in Nottnghamshire emailed me to report on his birding day at Blacktoft Sands near Goole on the Humber in East Yorkshire.  Not only very cold but a lengthy journey to boot.  On the other hand, he at least is able to sit in the warmth at home and look out of his window to watch the recently-arrived Waxwings!  Now that's a bird that always seems to make a bee-line to the furthest point the minute it hears that I am back in the country and on the lookout.  Read Chris's message and see what I mean.

Blacktoft Sands, River Humber: Saturday 14 January

I am very sorry that when I read your Saturday visit report to Charca de Suarez on Saturday, that I smiled.

I visited Blacktoft Sands on Saturday and it was probably my most disappointing visit to that site.
The first hide I visited, Xerox, had approximately 30 Wigeon and about the same number of Gadwall plus a pair of Teal.  The second hide, Marshland, had a single Snipe, and a single Lapwing.
Well it was cold, but not as cold as expected and the wind diminished during the day, so that the -7 C wind chill factor did not materialise, and it was sunny.   There was a dusting of snow on the Wolds enhancing the view.

Marsh Harriers were few and far between and only 5 came into roost.  No Hen Harrier into roost what-so-ever.  Even when the Barn Owl put in an appearance, it spent most of the time in the reeds, It obviously  didn’t know I was scoping it there.  Best without a doubt was a Bearded Tit that showed very well, be it that it wasn’t close.  Had a nice Sparrowhawk fly through.

Only real wader species was a Dunlin that touched down on Ousefleet for about 5 seconds, and a couple more that flew through.  There was a disappointing lack of bird movement with neither Golden Plover, Pink Footed Goose, nor Curlew on the move.

So looking on the positive side, I didn’t get my feet wet from flooding nor from precipitation, it was neither as windy nor as cold as forecast, it was sunny and I had the necessary "ticks" to nudge my year total to just above the 100.

Whilst watching the Match of the Day replay this morning (Sunday) spotted 5 Waxwings in front of the lounge window and a walk this afternoon  resulted in finding 39 together (on TV aerials).

Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus (Internet Photo)

Re-reading the message this morning I note that we have similar totals for the year to date, all two weeks.  Whilst I added Cetti's Warbler on Saturday, Chris recorded three birds that I have yet to see, namely Waxwing, Sparrowhawk and Bearded Tit.  Chance are that it will only be the Sparrowhawk that I pick up in Spain during the rest of the year.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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