Bullfinches doing well…

Data from watching visible migration as I do at Caldene fields can provide valuable information on the ongoing status of some of our common birds. An example of this is the Greenfinch which has declined by some 59% over the last ten years. To illustrate this point on a local level I recorded 1,662 Greenfinch in autumn 2008 in 77 hours of observations. This autumn 275 Greenfinch have been recorded in 220 hours!….very sad!

However, in contrast the Bullfinch seems to be doing better.

Totals of the left and years at the bottom

As the graph illustrates there appears to be an upturn in numbers since 2018 where 212 hours of observations were conducted and 220 hours in 2019.

Male Bullfinch heading N over the watch point

In fact I recorded 19 Bullfinch on passage with a further 3 present on the 19/11 which is a site record. So early signs suggest the species may be doing well…lets hope the Greenfinch follows suit.

Reaping the rewards with ”A mega rarity”…

Record shot of the Great White Heron

This post was supposed all about our scythe training with the YWT which took place on Saturday….however, today whilst watching visible migration from Caldene fields I found a real rarity…A Great White Heron!! which came in from the E and moved N. This bird is a site first for our area and a bird I didn’t expect to find …..

Now back to earth….Yes on Saturday Peter Gurney of YWT gave our group a training session on how to use a scythe, which will be very useful in cutting the meadows.

Is it Friday the 13th….

Peter expertly explained how to set the scythe up to the size of the person using it so it makes it more comfortable and effective when using it.

So off we went scything through the meadow….and Iv’e got to say once you got the hang of it it was very efficient at cutting the meadow.

Peter demonstrates how to sharpen the scythe to keep it in top working order. So all in all an excellent morning and roll on next year when we can put our training into scything the meadows. Our thanks go to Peter ( YWT ) for all his expert knowledge and…. patience !

Visible migration updates…

Sadly visible migration is coming to come to an end as expected at this time of year. During the last week there has been a noticeable drop in finch counts especially Goldfinch.

However, some species are still moving and it was very interesting on the 30/10 when a party of Fieldfares came in high over the watch point and in the flock were 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker suggesting the birds maybe of the nominate form from Scandinavia or beyond. Also recorded again were 867 Pink-footed geese moving to the S/W and N/E.

On the 3/11 there was a bit of a surprise when I located a Rose-ring parakeet east of East Bierely moving S/W. This is the second sighting of the species this autumn. Also on the 3/11 later in the morning 99 Herring gulls came in from the N/E and moved S/W which was a good count for our area.

Wood pigeons, Fieldfares and geese on the move…

It was excellent at the watch point today. With over night temperatures dropping to zero Wood pigeon were on the move south with the majority passing to the east of our area. A total of 8,589 were recorded

Pink-footed geese also moved N (above) 122 with a Common Buzzard above.

Fieldfares started to arrive from the N/E and S/E mid morning many overhead and the final tally was 1,835 S/S and 232 to the north

Fungus walk with YWT…

Tuesday was a busy but enjoyable day for me. Firstly it was an early start at the Vis-mig watch point but there were not many birds moving through.

Then at 11.00 Sarah Goldsmith from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust had arranged a Fungus Walk through Raw Nook NR and Toad holes Beck with her colleague Kat Woolley (YWT)a fungus expert. Sixteen excited people attended and my job was to record how many new species Kat could find to add to our fungus list of 30. Well we had only gone a short distance before Kat found a new species a Deer Shield Fungus Pluteus cervinus. As we walked to where the paths divided a member of the group point out a large group of mushrooms…and another new species….

Glistening Inkcaps Coprinus micaceus Left

So as I was busy writing down the minimum count of 17 new species found….One of the group said to Kat ” What this tiny orange one over here” So Kat got on her knees to have a look…then suddenly with a very excited..OH! Brilliant!…I’ve never seen one before…It’s a Scarlet Caterpillarclub (Cordyceps militaris) ( below ) which is not a common fungus and we were lucky to find it.

So after searching Raw Nook NR the plan was to visit TH Beck but we were finding so many interesting fungi that we ran out of time..

However on the way back we just had enough time to view and learn about the White Saddle fungi  Helvella crispa ( below

So the end of the walk was over and Kat had taken away a number of fungi for further research so more new species may be added to the list.

A big thank you to must go to Kat for her excellent knowledge and time and to Sarah for organizing this wonderful event.

Pinks are a coming…

If you have heard the sound of geese in our area in the last few days it’s not surprising…as there has been a good number of Pink-footed geese moving through to the S/E and N/W some directly over the watch point at Caldene fields. On the 14/10 I observed 786 and today 544.

Also today there was a nice surprise. As the sun shone I spotted a stunning Painted Lady butterfly which I suspect was new emerged suggesting that some of the last influx of the species have bred. Also noticed was a Red Admiral which flew S/W, a Small white and I glimpsed a small dragonfly Sp that I could not ID.

Visible migration updates…

It’s been a busy few days at the vis-mig watch point. It started on the 1/10 when following overnight rain the pond at Raw Nook NR /Caldene fields was full and attracted a female Tufted Duck. As summer migrants warblers had mostly left our area it was late Chiffchaffs that were of interest with 8 gradually moving S noted with a further 4 birds present. Two Pintails were observed flying high to the south on 5/10.

I witnessed an excellent influx of Redwings on the 8/10 arriving mainly from the N/E. Birds were observed over the fields and well to the east of the watch point and a total of 4,749 were recorded. Then on the 10/10 a bit of a surprise when a Curlew flew to the S/W. Early evening saw 130 Pink -footed Geese move N/W.

Feeling chuffed…

Yesterday I ventured out in the rain at Caldene fields to do my visible migration watch. It had rained all night and the fields were very muddy. My attention was quickly drawn to a hollow of mud on the path.

It was a hedgehog struggling on it’s back with it’s legs in the air…It must have slipped into the mud overnight and was unable to right it’s self. As soon as I went near it it curled into a ball so I picked it up and put it in the undergrowth…And I went of to do my vis-mig. However, there were no birds about due to the heavy rain. After an hour I left and went to have a look for my friend the hedgehog….By now I was soaked to the skin BUT the hedgehog had crawled away to safety…Brilliant

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