Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Hares and Harriers

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.

 Brown Hares




 Avocet
 Female Montagu's Harrier
 Pair of Garganey
 Little Egret
 Male Marsh Harrier




 Sedge warbler
Male Wheatear

Saturday, 25 April 2015

A Few Spring Birds and a North Yorks Adder

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.

 Common Buzzard


 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.

 Red Grouse
 Male Redstart

 Ring Ouzel
Wren
 Female Lapwing
 Male
 Meadow Pipit
 Female Pied Wagtail
 Drumming Snipe

 
 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.
 
 Female Adder
 North Yorks
 
Red Grouse Nest


Monday, 13 April 2015

The Reptiles Amphibians (and a few birds) of Kos and Kalymnos Greece.

Plan
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.

Weather
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.

Kos
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. 

Greater Flamingo


Glass Lizard

Oil covered Audoins Gull
Black Winged Stilt
Bonelli's Warbler
Juvenile Caspian Whipsnake

Dahl's Whipsnake


Greater Short Toed Lark

Balkan Green Lizard


Green Toad

Hoopoe
Alan Heeley's Kos Branch of EuroDuck was in need of a lick of paint
 
Kos Town



Jackdaw note paler nape than UK birds

 
 
Kingfisher
Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper and Greenshank for comparison
 
Ocellated Skink
Purple Heron
Red Eared Terrapin
Ruddy Shelduck
Ruff
Scorpion
Squacco Heron

Starred Agama

Stone Curlew

Tawny Pipit
Common Treefrog
Marsh/Water Frog
Whinchat
 Woodchat Shrike
 Snake Eyed Lizard
Yellow Wagtail (Black Headed)


Zitting Cisticola
Snake or Bin Liner (snake once you've looked through the camera)
185cm Black Whip Snake


Me 
Matt Trying to get him to pose

 
Showing Pink underside and size
 
 
Kalymnos
 
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.
 
 Waiting for Ferry

Preparing for Photography
 View From Apartment
 Sunset

 
 Black Eared Wheater (Black throated)
 Black Eared Wheatear (white throated)
 Blue Rock Thrush
 Adult Caspian Whipsnake

 Different Adult
 Sub Adult Caspian

Chuker Partridge
 
 Collared Flycatcher

 Cretzschmars Bunting

 Ladybird Spider
 Little Owl
 Nowt here for thee, should have listened to Tony
 Ortolan Bunting
 Snake Eyed Lizard
 Snake Eyed Skink
Barn Swallow gathering mud
 
Turkish Gecko
Female Northern Wheatear
Worm Lizard
Worm Snake

 Yellow Legged Gull
 
Species Lists
 
Reptiles
Balkan Terrapin 3
Red Eared Terrapin (introduced) 1
Starred Agama Fairly Common
Green Lizard 20
Snake Eyed Lizard Fairly Common
Snake Eyed Skink 3-4
Ocellated Skink about 10
Turkish Gecko 5
Glass Lizard 5
Worm Lizard about 10
Black Whip Snake 1
Caspian Whip Snake 6 (Lifer)
Dahl's Whipsnake 11
Worm Snake 1
 
Total 14
 
Amphibians
Green Toad Lots calling 5 seen
Water Frog Common
Common Treefrog  Fairly Common mainly calling
 
Total 3
 
Mammals
Brown Hare
Rabbit
Brown Rat
White Breasted Hedgehog dor
 
Total 4
 
Birds
 
Little Grebe
Cory's Shearwater
Shag
Night Heron
Little Egret
Great White Egret
Squacco Heron
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Glossy Ibis
Greater Flamingo
Ruddy Shelduck
Mallard
Shoveler
Long Legged Buzzard
Lesser Kestrel
Kestrel
Marsh Harrier
Chuker Partridge
Pheasant
Moorhen
Coot
Black Winged Stilt
Stone Curlew
Redshank
Greenshank
Marsh Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Snipe
Green Sandpiper
Ruff
Audoin's Gull
Yellow Legged Gull
Lesser BB Gull
Gull Billed Tern
Rock Dove
Collared Dove
Little Owl
Scops Owl
Swift
Alpine Swift
Hoopoe
Kingfisher
Bee-eater
Wryneck
Crested Lark
Greater Short Toed Lark (Lifer)
Swallow
Red Rumped Swallow
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
Tree Pipit
Tawny Pipit (Lifer)
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Nightingale
Redstart
Whinchat
Northern Wheatear
Black Eared Wheatear
Blue Rock Thrush
Song Thrush
Blackbird
Blackcap
Lesser Whitethroat
Sardinian Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Wood Warbler
Bonellis Warbler
Willow Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Cettis Warbler
Collared Flycatcher
Woodchat Shrike
Magpie
Jackdaw
Hooded Crow
Raven
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Greenfinch
Ortolan Bunting
Cretschmars Bunting
Corn Bunting
 
Total 85