Thursday, 7 May 2015

The surest signs of Spring

This time of year is an exciting one for wildlife watchers as each outing can bring exciting sightings of new arrivals.

I have a couple of local routes that I take every year to try and find birds that are on their migratory cycles, specialised local knowledge together with information passed on from trusted friends can be really helpful, far better than wandering aimlessly round the countryside hoping against hope for some sightings!

Heading up to a local moor which has an enclosed plantation near the top I saw a lovely meadow pipit taking a rest on a wall top...

The main object of the walk was to listen to, and hopefully see, cuckoos.

This area has been a reliable site in the past and it was not too long before the distinctive call rang out across the moorland. As I neared my usual watchpoint the calls became louder and louder...little wonder as a cuckoo was in clear sight..

Continuing my walk I saw plenty more meadow pipits...

...and an occasional curlew..

A visit to RSPB Blacktoft Sands is always enjoyable, this time of the year especially so as the east coast is the landing place for many incoming birds such as the sweet sedge warblers.

We also heard but did not see the elusive grasshopper warbler and cetti's warbler despite a lengthy watch over the reeds.

Marsh harriers were plentiful on the day, here a female is hunting over the reedbeds...

A great crested grebe called for a partner, alas it was in vain as the calls went unanswered

A large colony of avocets was seen from one hide...

We spotted a male reed bunting..

A couple of rarely seen garganey ducks were having a rest in the distance...

A black tailed godwit came in quite close..

Male marsh harriers were plentiful on the day...

A grand day out!

On a lane near home a male wheatear posed nicely..

Willow warblers are delightful to watch and listen to

Peacock butterflies are emerging in good numbers

In a wood near home I found a chiffchaff

Similar in colour to the willow warbler their distinctive call of their name makes identifying them much easier, if they are not singing the chiffchaff has much darker legs and a habitual tail flick.

Wrens are very visible and vocal at this time of year...

Great spotted woodpeckers are noisily drumming

Plenty of goldfinches to be enjoyed too

On duty with the RSPB at the peregrine watchpoint and during spells with no visitors I take a few photographs to record the different birds we see.

A puffed up pied wagtail..

A male redstart..

The peregrines have been incubating eggs and consequently are only seen at change over times, occasionally we get a fly by...
One of local woods is a favourite place for blackcaps, this is a male..

RSPB Bempton Cliffs is a big journey for us to undertake in a day but we decided to visit to enjoy the spectacle of the nesting birds.

Our first sightings were linnet..

and reed bunting

Gannets nesting on the cliffs provided a magnificent spectacle...

Kittiwakes and fulmars, respectively

Add to these guillemots and razorbills and you get an idea of the scale of things to enjoy...

....and they have puffins too!

The stars of the day had to be the gannets though...

Many thanks to all who read, please don't forget if you do leave a comment they come to me first for moderation.


  1. Wonderful pics & a very enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Loved all the pictures Dave. You were lucky to get the Cuckoo. Well done, I know how hard it is to photograph little birds, they are so quick :)

  3. Wonderful again Dave, we have always wanted to visit Bempton cliffs, ever since Sherran and Bill told us about the sea birds to be viewed there, and also from Jill R's latest visit. What fabulous gannet photos, though I do love the Puffins. Spring is a wonderful season, enhanced by seeing all your fantastic wildlife shots. Ann

  4. Lovely photos as always. I know what you mean about the wrens ,,,, they are lovely little things. Blacktoft Sands is very close to us and a friend of ours is a voluntary warden there.