As you know due to the current lockdown restrictions and travel allowed only in our local area, we’ve all had to spend a lot more time in the Barnsley area. Not least Ron Marshall. ‘Any sunny, fine evening [of which there’s not been many] I have spent with this glorious Barn Owl.
Hope to see you in the New Year! Stay safe and well. Ron and Joyce.
The Brown Shrike is a very rare visitor to our shores from Eastern Europe and most of the few records are on the east coast of Great Britain. So when one turned up in West Yorkshire (so near to Barnsley) this was a major bird watching event. This was a first ever record for West Yorkshire.
The bird was discovered on Sunday 18th October and stayed until Thursday 22nd October. In that time most Barnsley birdwatchers made the short journey to South Kirby to see the bird, many wishing that the bird could fly another couple of miles into the Barnsley recording area. Keep safe and hope to see you all soon. Ron and Joyce
This autumn we had arranged an eight-day holiday to the Shetland Isles hoping to see rare birds. For this to happen you need gale force winds and inclement weather, and we got both of these!
First gales from the west brought our first Yankee bird: Tennessee Warbler.
This was followed by two days of North Easterly gales, which brought two little gems from the East, Pallas Grasshopper Warbler and Lanceolated Warbler. These three birds were all new to me, and these were backed up with a full cast of semi rarities: Little Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Arctic Warbler and Olive Backed Pipit. As well as gales we had the wettest day on record! Here are images of all the birds:
Pallas Grasshopper Warbler
Olive Backed Pipit
The final indignation came from the weather with our return ferry from Lerwick to Aberdeen being delayed. It sails every night at 7 o’clock arriving in Aberdeen at 7 o’clock the next morning. We departed at 10-30pm arriving in Aberdeen 1-00pm in the afternoon. We were certainly rocked to sleep that night.
This delay cost us a new bird on our way home: Siberian Thrush in Fife. Ah well you can’t win them all. Keep safe while we meet up again. Ron and Joyce
I thought you all might be interested in some ‘tails’ from my garden recently.
A first tail – forget White-tailed Sea Eagle or even Rose-coloured Starling – here is a picture of a Starling with a ‘Leucistic’ white tail. It didn’t affect its performance in any way but it looked quite individualistic and a bit dapper, amongst its mates and juveniles.
A second tail: A big fluffy moggy came into my garden (all teeth and claws). It clobbered one of my adult Robins, which managed to escape the cat’s sneaky attack, albeit with the loss of its tail. Once again, this didn’t seem to affect its performance and it now continues to live a normal life, recovering from its near-death fright.
Third tails: A trio of juvenile Long-tailed Tits have spent the best part of a week in my garden (still present today). No adults in sight but they make a merry band, in their immature plumage of mainly brown and white and no pink, except their eyelids, as yet. With their ruffled plumage and reddened eyes, they look a bit like they are recovering from a heavy night at the pub.
Plucky little fellas, they were initially intimidated by the aggressive, noisy and squabbling Starlings on the fat ball feeder, not to mention the numerous House Sparrows flying about constantly feeding their young… They soon learnt to play to their strengths, as only they could (and perhaps Blue Tits can do) and found that they could feed quite happily by hanging upside down, on their backs, pecking calmly at the lowest fat ball, at the base of the feeder, unfazed by three or four noisy Starlings flapping wildly only inches above.
A great joy to see! Co-existence but not exactly peaceful. Best Wishes, Alwyn