I’ve had a “fits and starts” kind of relationship with this blog recently if truth be told. This latest start was stimulated by a reminder that my subscription is due in a month or so, and that I shall have to pay £85 if I’m going to continue. Pause for thought!
Actually I’d quite like to keep it going, although doing so means another shift of emphasis, albeit still with a leaning towards photography, and I guess that this posting is a sort of trial ….. do I really want to make the effort? Is it the most appropriate way of keeping some sort of diary / journal? Will anyone else read it? Does it matter? In the end of course, it doesn’t matter at all (although interestingly an old friend has recently made contact via the website, presumably after “googling” me and thus stumbling across the blog, and maybe that answers the question!)
The shift in photographic interest then is towards wildlife, and particularly birds. Much of our activity in this regard takes place at several local wildlife reserves, especially Potteric Carr, run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on the southern edge of Doncaster. It’s an interesting and pleasant place to be – and they serve a decent cup of coffee! I’ll add a few images each time, and maybe I’ll try (as much as anything else for my own education) to include some “notes” on any species of particular interest – it should be said that I have a smallish repertoire here and so species that I regard as new and interesting will no doubt seem very ordinary to more experienced avian watchers.
Our most recent visit was back in October (27.10.17), and amongst the usual suspects, we came across three species new to us:
Golden Plover: Pluvialis Apricaria
Snipe: Gallinago Gallinago
Black Tern:Chlidonias Niger
The Golden Plover were in amongst the great flock of Lapwing that seem to be almost a permanent fixture, seen from the West Scrape hide. I confess that it was a guy with a scope that pointed them out, and it was only in developing the photographs that I realised how many of them (the plover that is) there were, standing mostly fairly still in the midst of the commotion of Lapwing, all facing upwind of course.
They seem to be reasonably plentiful; the RSPB handbook suggests 22000 breeding pairs in the UK with possibly in excess of 300,000 individuals here in the winter. There is some decline in the breeding population though, attributed to the all too familiar problem of loss of habitat. I’m not sure whether those that we saw are resident or winter visitors …. Time will tell, I guess.
Snipe are secretive, but in fact again reasonably plentiful. They are though also in decline and for much the same reason. They have a liking for wet grasslands, fens and bogs and as these have increasingly been drained for agriculture so the numbers breeding have reduced, and a high proportion of breeding Snipe is found on nature reserves.
In addition to the “locals” RSPB suggests that a million or more migrate from Iceland, the Faroes, Germany, Russia and Scandinavia and winter here, so worth keeping an eye open for in the next few months.
The Black Tern caused quite a stir at Potteric, and was spoken of in reverential terms in several hides. We finally got to see it from the Duchess hide and following some sightings in flight, it eventually settled where I was able to make a photograph which is at least clear enough for positive identification. It is something of a rarity, there being no breeding pairs in the UK, and their established migration routes being further to the East. RSPB says that “huge numbers gather on some European and African estuaries”. Not rare then, but rarely here!
A good and satisfying visit all told ….. and a few pictures follow.