26th May: Flyed Pies

An evening visit to Padley paid off in that the Bank Holiday crowds had dispersed by the time I got there. Plenty of Pied Flycatchers and a couple of singing Wood Warblers.

25th May: Rare Eggs

Yet another pointless Bank Holiday. With the exception of a few scarce specimens at Spurn and at last a few bits for my good friend Mr Fray up on Shetland the spring migration looks well and truly over. Several visits to Blue Man's Bower over the weekend produced very little with a Ringed Plover being the highlight (if you can call it that). However one visit to the Bower revealed the existence of some near mythical white dog shit. It would seem that this rare phenomenon is on the increase following a discovery last spring at Pit-house West and a recent record from Northwest Derbyshire, see 27th April http://www.skills-bills.co.uk/birds.htm
Records should, where possible, be supported by photographic evidence. Being careful to rule out confusion specimens such as Chalk, Limestone or Owl pellets, though in my younger years I made the mistake of confusing the latter with WDS, it wasn't until I noticed the lack of small mammal bones in it that I realised just what I had crumbled in my fingers.

19th May. The Blue Man's Triangle

After another highly tiring day at work Jo and I settled for a walk around Blue Man's Bower and adjacent Whiston Meadows. A strange phenomenon took place. Firstly the auto focus on my lens stopped working then the pager inexplicably died. The lens was sorted with a bit of tinkering when I got home but the pager remains dead. Could it be caused by the large pylons that transverse the fields around Blue Man's Bower or some unexplained bronze age curse? Or could I just be talking bollocks?

Anyway I didn't see any notable birds but the Bower looks perfect for a scarce wader or tw0.

18th May. Some Pie

Following a night out with one of the original 'Drunk Birders' (a title that he continues to enjoy) I felt too tired to do any birding today. I did however make a meat and potato pie, which by my reckoning is the first pie reference on this blog in too long.

16th May. Paddling

A rather early start this morning. Firstly I was awoken at 3am by one of the cats torturing a young rabbit, at the bottom of the stairs, which later succumbed. Unfortunately it wasn't even big enough to fit in a pie! The mammal count now stands at 5 species!! A pre work amble, at 5.30, through Padley Gorge seemed a good idea earlier in the week, though in reality it was cold and a bit lifeless (much like the aforementioned Rabbit). Several Pied Fly's were singing with a handful of Redstarts thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately very little else was seen except for a female Stonechat by the entrance.

10th May. Red-Foot

I spent the first hour of the morning pondering what would be the best course of action to take i.e. visit RV, Pit-house West or the moorland fringes. however a report of a female Red-foot at Pugneys Country Park helped make my mind up, particularly as I've not seen this species in Britain for almost twenty years. Edit: Apparently I saw the Gringley Carr bird a few years back. Think I must have been eating out of too many alluminium pans!

Beth found the Caddisfly more entertaining.

5th May. Far from the madding crowd

I’ve never been one for all that ‘let’s drive to the coast because it’s a Bank Holiday’ nonsense. I was often moaned at in the past with the words “If a rare bird turned up then you’d go” Too true but I don’t like hospitals either – however if my leg were hanging off I’d go to one!!

So with this in mind I decided on a walk from Pit-house West to Whiston Meadows via Treeton . In short an antisocial walk, on my own, avoiding Chav soaked RV, which by now (11ish) would be warming up to the distant (Zula like) base boom of a thousand Vauxhall Corsa’s descending on it.

Pit-house West was quiet apart from around 10 Reed Warblers some of which were singing from the surrounding trees – something that I only noticed after the floods last year. Woodhouse Washlands, with the human count standing at only 3, was very quiet apart from lots of Whitethroats and a couple of pairs of Lapwing. Next stop Treeton Dyke and firstly the tip area which disappointingly only produced a Garden Warbler. I was perhaps over optimistic thinking that the Dyke might come up with a Black Tern or Little Gull – it didn’t. However a piece of floating debris in the middle of the Dyke turned out to be a spanking male Garganey which promptly flew off. Fortunately I relocated it in the bay at the Northern end where it sat showing off its splendour for the next 30 minutes. Jo phoned me with the offer of a lift home so I decide to quit whilst ahead.

Back home my Bank Holiday relaxation was interrupted by a phone call informing me of a Woodchat Shrike just down the road at North Anston. A quick dash and we were watching it flycatching from a line of hawthorn. A cracking find for one lucky individual who apparently found a Great Grey a few yards away last month.

3rd May. Bunting Hunting

I was reminded the other day, about just how scarce Corn Buntings are these days after not seeing any at Bempton. A visit to a site just on the edge of the county revealed that at least a few are still hanging on with 2-3 males singing.