Brotton Borough

News came through on Thursday, as I was ill in bed with the Jimmy Smitts, that an Eastern Crowned Warbler had been seen at Brotton in Cleveland (North Riding of Yorkshire). Arses! Literally…

Still not being 100% right I thought I had to risk it and thankfully Greeny was driving the next day so here goes… bung myself up and hope I don’t give the others a dose of the Brads.

Arriving early it was like a scene from Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ but in reverse as numbers started to build up and unnerve the locals.

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The Birders

The Birders

The Birders

The Birders

Soon enough though the bird was found and led by El Presidente chaos soon reigned as anxious birders crashed around the woods.

The Birders

The Birders

Finally and by staying reasonably patient I managed my first views of Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus and eventually got a few photos and i bit of video on the iPhone by iPhonescoping.

Here is a still from the video grabbed using the StillShot app.

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Finally I managed a couple of record shots with the DSLR.

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Eastern Crowned Warbler

Fungi

Yesterday morning Leigh and I took Minnie up to Beacon Hill Country Park and to do a bit of mushroom hunting. My target was Fly Agaric but the first shroom we came across was this. I think it’s a False Death Cap Amanita citrina but I’m happy to be proved wrong.

False Death Cap (Amanita citrina)

False Death Cap (Amanita citrina)

Further up the path we found plenty of Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria most of which had been battered but this one was in one of the sheep paddocks  and the latter one was an older individual right by the path.

Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria

Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria

Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria

Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria

 

Unmasked Shrike

After almost 10 years of hurt I finally nailed down Masked Shrike for my British List… and at Spurn! It almost didn’t happen. I hadn’t really noticed that since I upgraded to iOS8 I hadn’t been getting birdnews messages from Birdguides, so on Saturday mid morning I was shocked to log on to facebook to see messages about a Masked Shrike at Spurn… arses! I sent plenty of urgent texts, Greeny and Jamesy had both gone, Archie wasn’t around he was in Norfolk. Bollocks! Suddenly a text back from Dave Hutton… he was up for the trip on Sunday. Yes! With Masked Shrike veterans Dave Gray and Archie both on board we had a car full.

Sunday morning was clear with stars littering the dark skies above Quorn as I took Minnie  out. Don’t get me wrong the County Council turning off streetlights pleases me… clear skies overnight before a twitch make me anxious. My last attempt at a Masked Shrike ended in disaster at Uttoxeter when Keith Allsop’s oh so reliable Saab 93 blew a head-gasket on the A50 near midnight back in 2004.

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The Bridge of Sighs

By the time we crossed the Humber Bridge we knew the bird was there and we were soon watching a stunning juvenile Masked Shrike. I love Shrikes, they’re my favourite genus and a new one on my British List is something special. My long range iPhonescoped shot was poor, in fact it’s a video grab that a took as the bird flicked its tail around in true Masked style.

Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike

After a while we decided to try and see some of the other great birds around but on the road we stumbled into the Shrike again giving superb views.

Masked Shrike © Dave Huttom

Masked Shrike © Dave Hutton

Here’s another shot, this time a digiscoped shot by Justin Carr.

Masked Shrike © Justin Carr

Masked Shrike © Justin Carr

In the Churchyard we couldn’t connect with the Wood Warbler or the OBP on The Canal but we had great views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher and this dancing Whinchat.

Kilnsea Churchyard

Kilnsea Churchyard

Whinchat

Whinchat

Spurn Point

Spurn Point

After a Pasty and Coffee it was where to go next. Sammy’s Point was decided upon to get far from the maddening crowds.

Easington Bound

Easington Bound

At Sammy’s we couldn’t find the Yellow-browed but another less showy R-b Fly gave us all the runaround.

Archie Plays With His Squeaker

Archie Plays With His Squeaker

Celebrating In Style... Lager Shandy!

Celebrating In Style… Lager Shandy!

 

By now we were ready for home and Archie wanted to listen to Manure demolish Leicester City on the wireless… 2-1 at half-time meant United were back… at 3-1 he was ecstatic… oh how the mighty fall!

Archie! What's The Score

Archie! What’s The Score?

With his pride having taken a battering the only option left was to join Dave and find peace in sleep… wrong!

Sweat Dreams

Sweat Dreams

Sweaty Dreams

Sweaty Dreams

A great day out with some brilliant laughs – almost all at Archie’s expense. Still he has the power to financially cripple the lot of us… what a banker!

 

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 On Test At Rothley GCR

Yesterday my work took me to Rothley station on the Great Central Railway where amongst the Wednesday scheduled services they were testing one of GBrf’s newly rebuilt 73/9 Electro-diesels. Being rebuilt locally at Brush in Loughborough with an MTU 1,600 hp V8 engine replacing the 600 horsepower (447 kW) English Electric 4SRKT Mk II engine. The GCR with it’s 75mph test running speed limits being on Brush’s doorstep it’s a great place to catch up with stuff on test. Here are a couple of shots of 73961 coupled to Class 31 D5830 for insurance.

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

GBrf Class 73/9 73961 at Rothley (GCR)

Also around was the partially built Project X Diesel Brake Tender (TOPS code RTV).

Diesel Brake Tender

Diesel Brake Tender

Rutland Day

A post… with birds in!

Yesterday Leigh and I decided to head off to Rutland Water to have a look at the Red-necked Grebe that has been hanging about off the dam for a week or so. We’d taken Minnie Mü and had hoped for a pleasant stroll and a bit of birding, something I haven’t really done for months, although I guess in a way I’m always birding. As we approached it became clear that there was something else going on… Rutland Day. It was taking place at Syke’s Lane too. Oh well, £5 later we were parked in a field a long way from where I wanted to be.

First off we decided to travel light, camera only with the 200mm zoom, and head for Normanton Church. I’m no great fan of Rutland Water at the best of times but the amount of ignorant cyclists charging about made me want to knock one of them off. Anglian Water… how about some extra cycle lanes? We passed the Grebe by the valve tower and carried on. I had a sneaky plan to park closer later and digiscope.

Conkers

Conkers

Gone Fishin'

Gone Fishin’

Minnie Mü

Minnie Mü

Normanton Church

Normanton Church

On the way back we were treated to a fly past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Douglas Dakota (we had seen a Spitfire and Hurricane earlier heading for Duxford before I had a chance to get the camera out).

BBMF Douglas C-47 Dakota ZA947

BBMF Douglas C-47 Dakota ZA947

BBMF Douglas C-47 Dakota ZA947

BBMF Douglas C-47 Dakota ZA947

Back at the Red-necked Grebe, I cut my losses and took a few appaling record shots as the sneaky way in from the South side has been blocked off!

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Back at Syke’s Lane we had a wander round the show and stopped by to watch the excellent Rock and Roll band The Houndogs on stage.

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

The Houndogs

Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival

Not wanting to picnic in a field we headed back to Oakham where I saw this fantastic old Pre-Worboys road sign.

Pre-Worboys Sign

Pre-Worboys Sign

Bad Moon Rising

Last night was the first chance I’d had to see the Supermoon since the End Of Days predicted by Nathan Rao in The Daily Express… a paper so mad it now inadvertently rivals the Daily Mash!

Supermoon

Supermoon

Hornet

Yesterday evening Leigh and I went out into the garden with our Sunday Dinner just before 20.00. I was aware of a chewing noise coming from the garden fence. Aware that we have a Wasps Vespa sp. nest in the roof-space I was expecting to see a Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris chewing up the wood for pulp for their nest. what I wasn’t expecting was a European Hornet Vespa crabro munching away. as the sun was sinking behind nearby houses I ran in and grabbed my Nikon Coolpix P310, probably not ideal for the job but at least I could shoot some video.

European Hornet Vespa crabro

European Hornet Vespa crabro

My first attempt led to the Hornet flying off – I thought for good but it soon returned and set about our fence with an appetite similar to mine for my Roast Pork dinner.

On it’s return I did manage a short video clip and I decided to try a bit of Black & White macro photography.

European Hornet Vespa crabro

European Hornet Vespa crabro