Sunday, 16 April 2017

Down By The River

The weather was predominantly gorgeous for my little trip up to Yorkshire with the girls.  We had lots of little trips out, often alongside a river.  Along the River Ouse at Naburn, where the weir marks the tidal limit of the river, the ever scarcer song of Curlew trembled across the buttercup strewn meadow.  I was taken aback when a Common Seal raised it's head for a minute or so but quickly descended into the murky water again, the excitable yelps of the children evidently too much for comfort.  In my youth I spent quite a bit of time walking this stretch of river hoping that maybe a Guillemot or scarcer Auk may make it's way upriver - I did find a Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser over time but had to to wait until I'd moved to Cambridgeshire to find a waif Alcid. The presence of this Seal meant that my theory was at least reasonable. Despite several searches I was unable to find the Great Grey Shrike at Acaster Malbis, another old stomping ground, despite it being reported daily.
Along a different River, the Nidd at Cattal, a morning was spent looking at the flora - in particular Wild Tulips and Snake-head Fritillaries.

I was very taken with the meadow which was full of Aconites as well as the Tulips and Fritillaries and when I got home later I had a search to find out more.  I didn't find a great deal but did find an article in the YNU journal from some years ago. 
I got quite absorbed in reading various articles including the one on Wild Tulip and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that photo credit for the Wild Tulip pictures were my Dad.  This wasn't to be the only link to this edition of the Journal.......
A potter out to Fairburn for Coffee and playpark has, in the past revealed Willow Tit, but not this time.  A Little Gull and a pair Avocet were seen over the water from the play area which isn't bad going. 

While not seeing Willow Tit I managed to take a poor picture of not 1 but 2 bird table favourites
Out of character, there was no trip to the coast, opting to look for trinkets and baubles in the boutiques of Northallerton and Helmsley instead.  The customary midday check of bird news told of 6 Waxwings in the car park of County Hall nearby - we had a look before we left.  In total there were 23 tinkling beauties nipping at buds in the car park trees in the afternoon sun, more reminiscent of encounters with Bombicilla  in the Scandanavian summer where the plush pinks and subtle greys sing against the fresh leafed greenery and summer skies.


As we enjoyed the birds several folk came over for a chat including the original finder.  As we talked about blogs a comment about Gilbert White and the parish of Ainderby Steeple rang bells from the YNU journal.  I asked if he was Nick Morgan the author of the article about birds in the parish of Ainderby Steeple I had read just the night before.  Nick's name had stuck for another reason.  As a young man I had spent many hours pouring over the Rare and Scarce Birds of Yorkshire and Nick's name was indelibly bracketed next to a Franklins Gull which briefly frequented (and I spent a cold day trying to locate) Scorton Gravel Pits many years ago.  This record giving him hero status to a young, land locked Yorshire birder.  It was good to meet him, enjoy his Waxwings and read his blog that can be found here.

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