Eastern Yellow Wagtail in Northumberland

20 Dec

Eastern Yellow Wagtail is one of those birds that flew under the radar until recently with the first accepted record over a hundreds years old on Fair Isle in 1909 with a further bird there in 1912 now considered “British” following genetic analysis of  both records.  The next record was at Colyton, Devon in December 2010 which was trapped allowing DNA analysis to confirm it as the 2nd record {BB Vol 106 p36-41}. Since then though there have been a small but steady occurrence, likely more to do with greater knowledge, particularly the call with sound recording and sonographs, as well as ‘appearance’ than actual increase in occurrence. What were just late “grey’ Yellow Wagtails [as with the Devon record birds seen after the usual autumn migration and into winter] are now given a good grilling [and listening!] Of course with split of Eastern from Western forms they have now become in demand to twitchers. Living in Yorkshire the temptation to ‘sit and wait’ had kept me expecting one locally but with one not too far off in Northumberland and showing well TD got interested and ofter some reluctance I gave in.

18712/19 Too cold, with the risk of ice, and my usual trip to Bridlington by bike was replaced with the train. So walked to Cottingham station in the dark and despite initial worries the new ticket machine proved non-challenging and after a few minutes on a frozen bench joined RG on the train. TD picked us up from the station and got to Prestwick Carr by early afternoon with incident. Unfortunately the bird, having been settled all morning, had flown to north of the cross road. Getting there it had flown again and after a few minutes searching returned to the fields further south. Found a distant group of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit and started looking through when called back to the northern field were the Eastern Yellow Wagtail had been relocated. To be honest the usual early twitch panic where a bit of patience was the best thing. The bird then spent the rest of our stay feeding on blood worms only a few metres from the birders.

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Eastern Yellow Wagtail-Prestwick Carr

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Birders including Joe and Richard at Prestwick Carr

The fields had a few horses and was like the sort of thing you see in RSPSA programs being virtually devoid of grass although did have a plenty of hay in feeders.

Was nice to get back to Bridlington and getting on train with only a short walk home at the end rather than having to ride back the extra cost is an issue. In better weather the ticket price would have paid for almost enough petrol to make the full journey on my own.

With the Cornish Brown Booby already on my life list from Florida the Wagtail looks likely my only lifer in Britain in 2019, my worst total since I started birding. However got a few more in Romania.

A word of caution The parking is a on a soft verge and one birder got so stuck the front of the car was dug in so deep with couldn’t push him out.

 

Update Still present on Sunday 29th but a better marked male in Norfolk of the Blue-headed [Alaskan] race is attracting more visitors.

Smew and Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere

23 Nov

Saved from a boring day rained in, with even the dog not interested in a walk, by RL with a trip to Hornsea Mere early afternoon. Started in Seaton Road hide where immediately on opening the flaps saw the redhead Smew close in. Went for our cameras, and ignoring a close fly over by a Marsh Harrier, got a few shots before it swam off.

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Juvenile Smew at Hornsea Mere from Seaton Road Hide

Nothing else of note and having learned from MJ that the track to Wassand Hide was flooded we headed to Kirkholme Point where a Long-tailed Duck was usually seen around the jetties. No sign there so looked further afield, still with no luck, but on walking back towards the jetties RL picked it up flying in from the west then landing and showing well again at the jetties.

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Juvenile Long-tailed Duck with Tufted Duck at Kirkholme Point, Hornsea Mere

No sign of any of the recent Scaup.

Went to look for wild geese in the Skipsea area with out luck then ended the day looking for gulls around Catwick but also no sign no helped by a jet ski on FosseHill.

Birding Romania Pt 4

14 Jun

27/6/2019

Sinoe area

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Spoonbill in Sinoe village

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Roller

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Syrian Woodpecker in Pensiunea Grindul Lupitor garden

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Souslik sp at Vadu

Track to Grindul Lupilor

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Red-backed Shrike

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Bee-eater

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Flava Wagtail species

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Hoopoe

28/5/2019

Woods near Somova

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Spur-thighed Tortoise

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Lizard species

Mănăstirea Celic-Dere

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Fire Bug

29/05/2019

Near Niculitel

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Red-breasted Flycatcher

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Silver-washed Fritillary

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Looking down over Niculitel towards The Ukraine 

30/05/2019

Cariera quarry

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Crested Lark

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Northern Wheatear

Full Trip Bird List

Mute Swan 

Greylag Goose

Common Shelduck

Garganey

Gadwall

Mallard

Red-crested Pochard

Common Pochard

Ferruginous Duck

Goldeneye

Common Quail

Common Pheasant

Red-necked Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

White Stork

Black-crowned Night Heron

Glossy Ibis

Eurasian Spoonbill

Little Bittern 

Squacco Heron

Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Great Egret

Little Egret

Great White Pelican

Dalmatian Pelican

Great Cormorant

Pygmy Cormorant

Booted Eagle

Levant Sparrowhawk

White-tailed Eagle

Common Buzzard

Long-legged Buzzard

Water Rail

Common Moorhen

Eurasian Coot

Pied Avocet

Western Marsh Harrier

Northern Lapwing

Common Redshank

Wood Sandpiper

Collared Pratincole

Black-headed Gull

Pallas’s Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

Common Tern

Whiskered Tern

Black Tern

Collared Dove

Feral Pigeon

Woodpigeon

European Turtle Dove

Common Cuckoo

Tawny Owl

Little Owl

Common Swift

European Roller

Common Kingfisher

European Bee-eater

Eurasian Hoopoe

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Syrian Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Black Woodpecker

Grey-headed Woodpecker

Common Kestrel

Red-footed Falcon

Eurasian Hobby

Red-backed Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike

Eurasian Golden Oriole

Magpie

Western Jackdaw

Rook

Hooded Crow

Sombre Tit

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Eurasian Penduline Tit

Bearded Reedling

Crested Lark

Greater Short-toed Lark

Calandra Lark

Barn Swallow

Common House Martin

Red-rumped Swallow

Long-tailed Tit

Common Chiffchaff

Great Reed Warbler

Eurasian Reed Warbler

Icterine Warbler 

Savi’s Warbler

Eurasian Blackcap

Lesser Whitethroat

Eurasian Nuthatch

Common Starling

Common Blackbird

Spotted Flycatcher

Common Nightingale

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Collared Flycatcher

Northern Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

House Sparrow

Spanish Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Western Yellow Wagtail-mainly Black-headed form

White Wagtail

Tawny Pipit

Common Chaffinch

European Greenfinch

European Goldfinch

Corn Bunting

Yellowhammer

Ortolan Bunting

Common Reed Bunting

Postscript

The only heron we missed in Romania, although Bittern only heard, was Cattle Egret so it was fitting that on returning to the UK I heard of one at my regular patch, Tophill Low NR.

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Cattle Egret on Hempholme Meadows-Tophill Low NR

 

Birding Romania Pt 3

13 Jun

26/6/2019

Danube Delta-Mila 23/Tulcea

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Typical Romanian dog at Mila 23

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Marsh Frog

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Whiskered Tern

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Red-eyed Damselfly

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Great White Pelican

Tulcea/Sinoe

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Field Cricket

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Silver-studded Blue Butterfly

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Lace Border Moth

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Cocoș Romanian Orthodox Monastery

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Spanish Sparrow in Storks nest at Sinoe

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Own lodgings in Sinoe

Birding Romania Pt2

11 Jun

25/5/2019

Danube Delta-Mila 23-Letea

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Mila 23

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Bearded Tit

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Squacco Heron

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Purple Heron 

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Little Bittern

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White Stork at nest

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Great White Pelican

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A mix of “The Africa Queen” and “Apocalypse Now”

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Pallas’s Gull

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Whiskered Tern 

Letea

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Collared Pratincole 

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Samphire-very salty but not unpleasant  

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♀.Red-footed Falcon

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Spoonbill

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Photographing from the back of a truck at Letea

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White Stork 

 

 

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Traditional fisherman’s shelter

Danube Delta-Letea-Mila 23

 

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Thunderstorm that followed us back to Mila 23

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Dalmatian Pelican

Mila 23

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Traditional Russian entertainment at Mila 23.

 

 

 

Birding Romania Pt1

10 Jun

 

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The statutory pose at Doncaster Robin Hood airport-no doing the “bolt”!

 

24 May 2019

 

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A brief stay near Bucharest airport

 

Cariera quarry

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Souslik sp

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♀Pied Wheatear

 

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Graphosoma lineatum – Minstrel bug

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Common Tern

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Great Reed Warbler

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Hobby

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Cormorant and Pygmy Cormorants

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Squacco Heron

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Red-necked Grebe

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Juvenile White-tailed Eagles

 

 

Smew! Second time lucky at Tophill Low NR

28 Dec

22/12/18 With the weather on Saturday forecast to be better than recently I had already decided to go out so when a drake Smew was reported at Tophill Low NR and Wilbur showing no interest in going out my plans were made. However on arriving in the visitor centre I learned there had been no further sightings since LJ had found it mid morning. After a look for myself over D res and seeing the lingering female Scaup also seen earlier  I headed south. No sign on O res so headed for Watton NR. Although again no sign of the Smew there was plenty of birds including Little Egret and a pair each of Goosander and Pintail. However only a single Greylag Goose. Little on the South Marshes with only a Little Egret seen on South Marsh East.

28/12/18 Think I other estimated Saturday’s mildest and should have worn another layer as I spend the next few days fighting off a cold but was feeling better on Friday morning. Wilbur was also more lively than recently so took him out but only made it part way to Creykebeck power station. Getting back to the park early afternoon I got a message that the Smew was back at Tophill Low NR. This time on reaching O res viewing screen the bird was present and not too distant.

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Drake Smew at Tophill Low NR on O Res.

After getting a few shots I headed for Watton NR but no sign of the Goosander or Pintail but there was again a Little Egret and a good number of geese, both Greylag and Canada as well as a Domestic Goose. Walking back through South Scrub I thought I could hear  Whooper Swans but although I could still hear them there was initially no sign from L-shaped hide. However six Whoopers, a family party with four juveniles, shortly drifted into view from the cover of O res wall.

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Whooper Swans at Tophill Low NR on O res.

Couldn’t see the Smew from either L-shaped hide or the viewing screen although the light is difficult near dusk from the latter. Again little on South Marshes with again only a Little Egret on East section.

Postscript on “Shag at East Park, Hull“.

After dipping the Smew on Saturday RL went to East Park to see the Shag. He found it now had a black plastic bag around its neck. MF didn’t see the bird on Wednesday.

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Shag at East Park, Hull-RL