Some good birding locally in the last couple of weeks with the highlights being a pair of Garganey at Aughton Ings on 3rd April and Common Scoter at Wheldrake Ings yesterday but have been gripped by some top local rares: Slavonian Grebe, Ring Ouzel, Cranes, Green-winged Teal. A good supporting cast and some returning migrants has made it top fun despite the dips, with a cracking male Merlin yesterday at East Cottingwith, the female Smew still present at Wheldrake Ings, three Scaup at North Duffield Carrs, a cracking flock of Icelandic Blackwits at Wheldrake and a super skein of 190 Pinkfeet over East Cott this morning. Plenty of the early migrants in now, with Blackcaps and Willow Warblers in force, along with Swallows, House Martins and a Wheatear this morning at Hes East.
I have seen a few Barn Owls over the last couple of days with a great close view of one hunting the road near Hag Bridge early this morning and one yesterday at East Cottingwith. Nothing prepared me for the owl which flew out of the church porch at Ellerton this morning and landed on a grave stone about fifteen metres away in bright morning sunshine. To my utter delight, over the next ten minutes, it flew towards me a couple of times on to closer and closer gravestones. I got some nice phone-scoped pics though I wish I had had my DSLR with me. The flight shot was very lucky and shows how impressive smartphone cams are these days. After a bit, it went back into the porch of the church.