Black Redstart

Eastern Black RedstartThat should be Eastern Black Redstart a bird that was gracing us from lands far away (residing in Central Asia and wintering in East Africa) and has been on Yorkshire (or is that Cleveland) shores at Skinningrove since late October 2016 and has been an internet celebrity since.

I arrived on site at about 11am and parked just off Marine Terrace in a small car park close to the beck and made my way along Cleveland Way towards the jetty seeing Bar tailed Godwit, Black headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Rock Pipits, and Redshank along the way.

I went thru the gap along the jetty to the beach area and stayed along the side of the jetty, this is where the bird was last seen (along the boulders place at the side of the jetty) whilst waiting for it to show I picked up Fulmar (on the cliff face), Dunnock, a few Robins and a few Turnstones. It wasn’t long before I was joined by other people and with extra eyes the Eastern Black Redstart was soon picked up along the boulders, a stunning bird to see with its orange belly and black back, we soon had great photo opportunities has it came within close quarters. Here’s a a blog post from A.W. Birder in 2011 giving the various Redstarts CLICK

Video of Eastern Black Redstart HERE

Cant stay for ever so one my way back to the car park I picked up Stonechats (♂,♀), more Rock Pipits, Ringed Plovers, Oystercatchers and Wren

After Skinningrove I stopped off at RSPB Saltholme, basically because I’ve never been and I was in the  area, so I had a quick walk around just to get a feel of the place.

It’s a big place, you need a full day to get the benefits of it, café on site always need one of these, and plenty of birds and hides to stop off in, tried searching for the roosting Long eared Owl here to no avail

Birds List from Skinningrove :- Bat tailed Godwit, Black Redstart (Eastern), Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Common Gull, Dunnock, Fulmar, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Magpie, Oystercatcher, Pied wagtail, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rock Pipit, Stonechat, Turnstone, Wren

Bird List for RSPB Saltholme :- Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Gadwall, Great black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Egret, Magpie, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Shoveler, Starling, Stonechat, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon

Eastern Black Redstart

Eastern Black Redstart Eastern Black Redstart



Calder Wetlands

Not managing to get out on Friday due to car problems all was healed ready for a quick couple of hours around Calder Wetlands on the Saturday Morning. Parking up at near the Swan and Cygnet pub area and paying my fees (glad I did as on return warden was parked up next to me) I was greeted by 6 Whooper Swans flying overhead, plenty of Wigeon were on the embankment as I made my way round, on the water were Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Tufted Duck and a few Mute Swan. I decided on making my round by going between the two lakes and this is were I found my quarry for the morning, one Long tailed Duck  and it was also within a reasonable distance, good views were had before moving on towards the river where I saw a few Goosander, Blackbirds and Robins.

Id gone about half way round now on my walk and was seeing more Wigeon, Black headed Gulls, Common Gulls and Little Grebe tucked away up against the reed edges with the larger Great Crested Grebe swimming happily out in the middle of the lake. A Kingfisher brightened the morning up with its blazing blues as it flew by , Goldeneye ♂ and ♀ were spotted out on the lake and Redshank and Lapwing just about seen tucked away amongst the grasses on one of the small islands, I was at the end of my walk now and was greeted by two Whooper Swans flying overhead making there way towards Wakefield, I’d gone full circle in more ways than one

Long tailed Duck VIDEO

Morning Bird List :

Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Long tailed Duck, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Pochard, Redshank, Robin, Shoveler, Stock Dove, Teal, Tufted Duck, Whooper Swan. Wigeon, Woodpigeon



Fairburn Ings

Another day out, I could get use to this, so my destination was to Fairburn Ings an RSPB reserve near Castleford, I had a quick look back at my records and it was January 2013 since my last visit…tut tut

Arriving on site I parked up at the cut lane end, due to me coming off the A1, and was immediately taken aback due to all the new house builds at the top of the lane, what else was in store today.

I headed off making contact with Dunnocks, Robins and House Sparrows as I did so, stopping off at a field with goats in and spotting Fieldfares  and Redwings a plenty in the bush and hopping around on the floor.

Down the cut whilst watching Mallards and Coots I caught the usual sighting of a Kingfisher as it whizzed on by, better views were had later up the lane.

Out on village bay I spotted Tufted Duck, Pochard, Goosanders and Great Crested Grebes on the water with Cormorants and Grey Herons sat in the bushes

From the Charlies hide and near the hide more GoosandersBlack headed Gulls, Tufted Duck and a female Goldeneye. Along the trail I made my way down to the Village Bay view-point and managed to be in the right place at the right time as a small tit flock mad its way thru containing Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Willow Tit, Coal Tit,Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and a Lesser Redpoll

Along at the visitor centre area, snack time, i watched the feeders whilst having cake and hot chocolate, Collard Dove, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Dunnocks, Robins, Blue Tit, Blackbirds, Great Tit were all active

I finally ended up down at the Lin Dike end of the reserve where I saw Wren, Little Egret and a field containing lots of Lapwing

To finish the weekend off 60+ Waxwing found in Huddersfield Town Centre with White fronted and Pink footed Geese and 60+ Brambling to finish the weekend off

List of the days Birds in Alphabetical order:

Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collard Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Goldeneye, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, House Sparrow, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser Redpoll, Little egret, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Pochard, Redwing, Robin, Shoveler, Song Thrush, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Treecreeper, Willow Tit, Woodpigeon, Wren

Little Egret

Little Egret

Tufted Duck

Female Tufted Duck

New Year

The start of a New Year and news of Waxwing nearby had me out and about sooner than I thought, but Brighouse is just over the hill and with a couple of hours to spare who wouldn’t be tempted

On site people were about and of course the old saying of “you should have been here 10mins ago, there was about an 100”, the weather wasn’t good, light drizzle, and grey skies, but not the less off I set in pursuit.

Redwing were everywhere, every bird seemed to be a Redwing, Blackbirds and Mistle Thrush were picked out amongst the Redwing, I found 2 tress loaded with berries both guarded by Mistle Thrushs, still no Waxwing

I ventured in to the park adding a flock of 5 Brambling to the day still no waxwing, so I decided on going down to where they were first seen,Lane Head Hotel….Black headed Gulls were overhead, Grey Wagtail flew over, bonus, and Goldfinch were seen in one of the trees but no waxwing

I was about to give up I’d been here 2 hours now, but you get a feeling sometimes that your being watched…I turned around and looked up and there a top of a nearby by tree 7 Waxwing, at last, enjoy. I took my eyes away for a moment for the camera and looked back and of course they were gone.

Ok…I hung around for a little longer heading back to the park area where I had seen the Brambling earlier. I took a quick scan with the binoculars from a safe distance and behold I could see a flock of waxwing feeding where the Brambling had been earlier, I headed towards them crossing the road and heading into the park, it wasn’t to be my day they were scared off by someone walking close by….I didn’t see them again after another 30 mins of looking.

Mistle Thrush ….on Guard Duty

Mistle Thrush on guard duty

Old Moor RSPB

The end of the year at last saw me out blowing the cobwebs off the old bins and back down to Old Moor RSPB reserve a visit was long, long overdue  23 January being the last time I set foot on this reserve. Old Moor Map

I enjoyed about 30mins near to the car park watching and taking photos of mainly Blackbirds in the berry trees with the addition of Song Thrush and a nervous Redwing before going onto the reserve itself

My first place of call was down at the Reedbed Hide, not to see Bittern, but Bearded Tit which seem to have taken to this side of the reserve. Long tailed Tit were the only birds I saw flitting among the reeds. On the water however Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, Little Grebe, Mute Swan. Coot and Moorhen were all present.

Back near the Bittern Hide I caught sight of a Male Stonechat on the fence posts to the left side, after watching him for a while feeding, and flying in and out of adjacent fields the female finally showed up, great to see these and a new bird for me on this site

My next port of call was the family hide were Black headed Gull, Common Gull, Teal, Cormorant, Lapwing and Goosander were added,  along with 2 Drake and 1 female Pintail and a few Shelduck

Outside of the hide nearby a friendly Robin posed nicely for photos

A brief call into the cafe for a Coffee and slice of cake and change the camera battery before heading back to the Tree Sparrow Farm were I finally saw Bullfinch, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Great Tit and Dunnock

Last port of call was the Bittern Hide area for the Starling Roost and the murmaration, the birds gathered on the nearby pylons from about 3:45pm and gave a brief flying display before roosting in the reed bed. The number of starling here wasn’t great but none the less the displays are always good to see and of course they always attract birds of prey and in this case a Sparrowhawk giving chase

Todays Bird List (In no particular order) :- Blackbird, Redwing, Song Thrush, Long tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Stonechat, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, Linnet, Pintail, Lapwing, Shoveler, Magpie, Crow, Bullfinch, Common Gull, Black headed Gull, Goosander, Lesser Black backed Gull, Shelduck, Jackdaw, Common Snipe, Robin, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Stock Dove, Goldcrest, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Starling, Little Egret, Sparrowhawk

Common Gull

Common Gull 2-1300939

Stonechat (Male)

Stonechat 3-1300835


Once again I found myself down in Dorset on family matters but Saturday had me out and about this time dropping into Ferrybridge Nature Reserve (Chesil Beach Center) and then onto Portland Bill and the Tout Quarry

First call was Ferrybridge and the Chesil Beach Centre, I arrived at about 10am and fortunately the tide was on the way out, I had a look at the birds around the centre seeing Black headed Gulls, Great Black backed and Herring Gulls, and a few Mediterranean Gulls a single Wheatear popped up along the bridge railings, which adjoins the car park to the shingle beach, there eventually turned out to be a number of Wheatear today as I made my way along the beach, these and numerous Silver Y Moths kept me company on the walk.

Most of the activity was around the centre where numerous wader species were busy feeding on the mud flats, Bar tailed Godwits, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Oystercatcher,  and Dunlin were all seen, overhead a couple of Sandwich Tern and Swallows.

I eventually made it over to the island of Portland and decided on a walk around on of the quarries, Tout Quarry Nature Reserve  was the one I had decided on earlier in the week. I parked up the car near the Heights Hotel,Free Car Park and great views back to Chesil Beach. First encounter was a pair of Kestrels on the lower slopes, on in to the quarry Wheatears’ were seen and the odd Red Admiral Butterflies.

It wasn’t until I was well in to the quarry where I found a good flowering Buddleia bush that I found a good number of Red Admiral Butterflies well into double figures. Whilst watching these I noticed Painted Lady Butterfly had joined the party along with a few Silver Y Moths but the star attraction was a Hummingbird Hawk Moth, a quick flight around the bush and it was gone, it was there that I decided on ending my day, you couldn’t get better than that.

The Day List:-

Sanderling, Dunlin, Bar tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Mediterranean Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Wheatear, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Cormorant, Small White Butterfly, Red Admiral Butterfly, Painted Lady Butterfly, Silver Y Moth, Hummingbird Hawk Moth


Hummingbird Hawk Moth


Not the best shot in the world,  but do you know how quick these things are

Frampton Marsh

A new place for me this being a first time visit to RSPB Frampton Marsh situated out near the Wash on the  Lincolnshire coast it took about 2hr 30mins to get there from home but we arrived in glorious sunshine, windy but nice.

After a break, coffee and sarnies, we dropped into the visitor centre first to say hello and to look at the site maps before setting off on site towards the 360 hide.Our first was with a Painted Lady Butterfly, which would be first of a few seen today. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the hide and settled in, looking gout over the pools we found Black tailed Godwits (numerous), Ruff, Redshank, Dunlin, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank, Common Snipe, Little Egret (c14), Pied Wagtails skipping along the pool shoreline.

We moved off seeing very little at this time of year the wind was strong but we saw a few large White Butterflies long with a Red Admiral, and Meadow Browns.

We eventually found a sheltered spot well out of the wind where Large Whites were numerous, Hawker dragonflies were evident but never settled, but there were plenty of Ruddy darter Dragonflies which were settling and it was a great time spending time with these, and a Reed Warbler was seen around by the pond

It was quiet today but we were told to return in winter when the birds would be numerous an offer not to be refused


Ruddy Darter

Ruddy Darter





Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly