Well, what a stellar week that was for me personally – and for many of our visitors. I’d have been perfectly happy with the spotted crake that spent a few days earlier in the week but then to follow it up with a Little Crake was absolutely superb. It just goes to show that with nature you never can tell what’s going to happen. As Pete mentioned in his blog the other day it’s 73 years since one was last seen in Yorkshire. At that rate I’ll be 124 years old before I see another one so definitely a life lister for me. It was a pity the Little Crake didn’t stay around longer and I feel for the people that travelled massive distances to try and get a glimpse but that’s birding for you – I hope another one comes along soon for you.

My record shot of Little Crake.

But then It didn’t end there either. I was at Bempton Cliffs early in the week on a training day. There we were sat in a classroom at Bempton when the door burst open and the words Hump Backed whale were shouted. Nothing more. I’ve never seen a room empty so fast! Of course I didn’t have my camera and my bins were in the car. I’ve discovered I’m not designed for running but I did manage to spot it!.

One of the volunteers (Mike) showed us a couple of shots he’d managed to get and we noted that the whale what appeared to be some injuries to it’s lower jaw and dorsal fin. A day later and news broke that a dead hump backed had been filmed off Whitley Bay and I feared the worse. After a little research it appears this was a different animal. Its sad to think that the injuries sustained to the whale we saw is almost certainly caused by man but let’s hope it’s ok.

But… after the craziness of the crakes (it was fantastic to see so many people on Tuesday) I’d best give you a round up of what’s around at the moment.

Like Pete I’ve noticed a gathering of the birds. These starlings were spotted next to our office location on this aerial array.

There’s been a lot of them skirting around the reserve, I’ve got everything crossed for some murmuration in the not too distant future. I think I may have to stay late at the reserve to catch it but hey – you never can tell.

This little Indian summer we’ve had this week seems to have brought some of the smaller stuff to life. I’ve caught glimpses of Stonechat and a sky lark down at the grazing marsh/Ousefleet hide whilst the viewing screen has thrown up a few pintails amongst the teal and mallard. Sadly when I was down there the sun was directly into the camera and washed out my shots.

Little egrets have been putting on a good show – 5 of them we frollicking at Marshland yesterday. It was amusing to watch how carefully they place their feet (a distinctive yellow colour) into the mud and then wiggle them about. I’m not sure if this is to make sure they keep their balance or to stir up larvae and crustaceans to eat – probably for the food.

Notice the yellow foot!

I missed a photo opportunity when these two had a little spat! They were really quite aggressive to each other!

Snipe, Ruff and lapwing have continued to show well!

Snipe at Marshland Hide

Ruff in amongst the teal.

Red Shank and lapwing amongst the water fowl.

Yesterday a Juvenile Marsh Harrier was giving fantastic views as it ranged across from 1st hide to Xerox throwing up a Sparrow Hawk. It went down towards Singleton hide.

Kestrel has again been seen regularly at the west of the reserve with peregrine towards the back (look around the pylons they tend to perch on them before swooping down.

All of the above said one of my favourite things this week was to sit on the picnic benches and eat my packed lunch whilst watching Robins, Blackbirds, Tree Sparrows, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Goldfinches and starlings flitting around me – it’s the simples things in life.

With the weather set to change over the coming week you never know what might drop in!

Until next time …