John Hamilton Tweeted his sighting of a rare visitor to the district that he stumbled upon in Ossett – a black redstart! The bird has been seen in North Ossett churchyard and may have been around some time as there has been an influx of these beautiful little chats into the country in recent weeks. Eddie Andrassy has been up there and saw it the next day on Saturday 7th January. So, if you are that way out, it might be well worth a visit to the church to see if the rarity is still around. Do let us know if it is still there.
Nostell Priory seems to be proving popular with WNS members just now with Roger heading there last Friday and bunping into Barbara and Richard, and us there today also bumping into Barbara and Richard! I suspect we will make it one of the outdoor field meetings again next year!
I saw much of what Roger had on his visit with the exception of firecrest but for me it was the autumn colour and good selection of fungi that were the attraction. The woodland around the lower lake was superb in the late autumn sunshine on Remembrance Sunday and the temperatures were positively balmy. We had plenty of fly agaric, honey fungus and the shaggy scalycap pictured here. I only saw female goosander but they were still great to see and the occasional whistle of the wigeon was a delightful sound. We had a single male shoveller on the water too and plenty of goldcrests, treecreeper, nuthatch and long-tailed tits in the woodland.
Due to an error on my part, the November meeting will now be local photographer Ron Marshall giving his talk entitled – “Alaska – the final frotier”. The talk covers his trip to the very north of Alsaka to the remote town of Barrow and will cover the unique wading birds and mammals of the region. This is going to be a highlight talk so do come along on Tueasday 8th at the usual venue.
A sure sign of autumn for me is the flocks of titmice passing through the garden along with the occasional Phylloscopus warbler and today’s offering was a lovely chiffchaff/ The bird was fliting in the autumn red and yellow leaves of an Indian chestnut tree in the garden and was in full song. Lots of these birds on the coast, blown in by easterly winds, but not sure if this was a migrant or a UK bird heading south. Most welecome whatever his origins and, as I didn’t photograph him, here’s one I did earlier on the Yorjshire coast
After an anazing day at Sourn yesterday viewing eastern migrant birds like never before, a visit to the local patch was somewhat of a let down! However, I did manage to catch up with a couple of late ruddy darters basking in the warmth of the autumn sun.
I had a quick trip down to Haig yesterday. Despite my efforts earlier in the year, it is getting pretty overgrown. It is full of singing blackcap; willow, sedge, and reed warblers, reed buntings and a load of bird song I do not know. Lots of damsel flies and mating dingy skippers, plus one fresh four-spotted chaser. I also heard barking deer. There were no orchids yet and no hirundines which did surprise me.
During the previous ringing of the peregrine chicks it wasn’t possible to fit the Darvic rings due to a fault with them and so tonight, again with the aid of licensed bird ringers, the Darvic rings were fitted. The Darvic rings differ from normal metal rings in that they are big, bright and easily readable through binoculars or a spotting scope. It is hoped that by fitting these rings, our peregrines may be identified elsewhere in the country and we will gain an understanding into how far they move from the nest site. The adult female holds the territory around the cathedral and she will eventually drive the chicks out as they head towards adulthood.
Danny Kirmond, captain of the Wakefield Wilcats, is a keen follower on Twitter of Wakefield Peregrines and so he was invited along to watch the rings being fitted. There will be more on this story in the Wakefield Express this week
In order to keep track of our young peregrines and find out where they head off to in the future, the chicks were today ringed by licensed and experienced bird ringers from the mid-Derby Ringing Group. This involved taking the chicks carefully from the nest for around 20 minutes to weigh, measure and fit a metal closed ring on the birds’ right leg. These small metal rings have a unique number on them which is logged with the Brtish Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and should the peregrine be found dead or watched at a nest elsewhere, anyone that can read the ring and check with the BTO will be able to find out that it was one of our birds.
The small metal rings are only really readable of the bird is retrapped by ringers or found dead or maybe watched on camera at another nest, so in order to make it more easy for the general birdwatcher to read, a bright coloured plastic ring is also fitted to the left leg, This large plastic ring is called a Darvic ring and is bright coloured and has large letters that should be able to be read through binoculars or a spotting scope while the bird is perched. Unfortunately, today there was a problem with the Darvic rings and they were therefore not fitted so as not to cause any problems with the birds in the future. New rings have been ordered and these will be fitted sometime later this week, The second disturbance of the birds will be very quick and kept to a minimum as the birds have already been close ringed, weighed and measured. Disturbing the birds at the nest for this short period of time for scientific purposes is done under licence and won’t cause any significant distress to the chicks or the adults.
After a great deal of hard work from a few very dedicated individuals, the live webcam feed is finally here. You can now enjoy amazing live images of the four peregrine chicks and follow their development in the nest. This is live footage from a webcam inside the nestbox and is recording in real time so, please do not be offended if you tune in just as dinner is served to the four hungry mouths!
To see the webcam, go to the peregrine pages from the menu bar or click HERE
There was a good turn out for the Askham, Bog walk today and the weather wasn’t too bad with bright skies and some sunny intervals. There was enough warmth to have a few insects on the wing including orange tip, green-veined white, large red damselfy and the hoverflies such as the footballer. The water violets were superb in both the pond and the damp woodland, while things like slender tufted sedge gave the botanists some identification challenges. As well as the dog violets, there were marsh violets to be seen and we did see the royal fern, a reserve speciality, but it was still a long way from its showy best.