I've seen quite a few Brown Hares locally in the last week, the tricky bit is trying to get pics without spooking them. Its also better if they are in a sitting up position rather than crouching trying to be invisible. I also saw 7 in a field in East Yorks on my way to Blacktoft Sands. At Blacktoft I saw loads of Marsh Harriers although most were at distance. Even better were a pair of Montagu's Harriers although again these were too far away for owt other than record shots. Blacktoft always makes me think I'm abroad especially with singing Cettis warbler.
Just a few pics of birds from around my South Yorkshire patch now spring migration is in full swing. Probably got my best shots of my favourite wading bird the Lapwing, tried to photograph a drumming Snipe but not easy.
I heard a Green Woodpecker but then saw this Greater spotted and thought I was going mad but the Green was in the same tree lower down.
Female Pied Wagtail
Matt Wilson's favourite bird Male Northern Wheatear
Another favourite of Matt Wilson Golden Plover
Today I ventured to North Yorkshire where I met Matt Wilson and Katerina to investigate an area that may have adders. The problem at this time of the year is they get difficult to see especially after a nice week of weather. Anyway we found one female and a couple of skins.
When myself and Matt Wilson put our heads together for an Easter field trip, one or more of the Greek Islands came to mind. Lesvos would have been good but no direct flights, in fact the choice of flights was very limited so we decided on Kos and Kalymnos. Not many folk have covered these Islands but there is a good range of species including my favourite European snake the Ottoman Viper on Kalymnos. We had 4 days on Kos, 5 days on Kalymnos and 1 day back on Kos.
We did pretty well over the trip with 17 species of herps and 85 species of birds, plus 4 mammals.
A bit mixed over the week with some nice sunny days up to 20 Celsius, cool nights, some rain and some cloudy days. Cheers to Matt for making the trip another enjoyable experience.
We generally searched in the top half of the Island. We did a few night searches for amphibians but failed to find any Eastern Spadefoots, it just wouldn't rain when we wanted it to. When herping was slow there were plenty of birds to fill the gaps. Kos has had a lot of rain this spring, therefore a lot of the lower lying areas (especially around the two lakes) were very wet. Greece has also had a cold winter making spring a little later than usual which I think made things a little slow at times. I'm not doing a day by day report, just a summary of the species seen on each Island.
Oil covered Audoins Gull
Black Winged Stilt
Juvenile Caspian Whipsnake
Greater Short Toed Lark
Balkan Green Lizard
Alan Heeley's Kos Branch of EuroDuck was in need of a lick of paint
Jackdaw note paler nape than UK birds
Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper and Greenshank for comparison
Red Eared Terrapin
Snake Eyed Lizard
Yellow Wagtail (Black Headed)
Snake or Bin Liner (snake once you've looked through the camera)
185cm Black Whip Snake
Matt Trying to get him to pose
Showing Pink underside and size
Kalymnos is a very rocky island dominated by mountains and steep cliffs as such it is a mecca for climbers looking to escape the northern spring. Luckily that means lots of places are open at this time of the year. A 30 minute ferry trip picking up Cory's Shearwater, we then hired a car from a famous Kalymnos chap with some interesting facial hair. We then couldn't find the apartment for about an hour. Again herping was slow normally numerous lizards such as snake eyed were seen in dribs and drabs and snakes were thin on the ground and unfortunately no Ottomans on this trip. We could only assume the late wet spring meant the lack of numbers.