Little Stint at Tophill Low NR

25 Aug

25/8/16 Went to Tophill Low NR with RL and ML on Thursday morning. A Little Stint was found by JL on Wednesday evening and fortunately still present on North Lagoon this morning.

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Little Stint at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

Only one Curlew Sandpiper today as well as sixteen Ruff, two Greenshank and two Common Sandpiper. A Ringed Plover flew over.

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Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

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Grey Wagtail at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

Little else reported from the rest of the reserve. After lunch in car park hide we headed to do some work on Watton NR but were accosted on route by a birder who reported a Great White Egret on there. Abandoned our wheelbarrows and went to the borrow pit hide but no sign of an egret. However when we got to the pit a Little Egret got up with the geese.

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Watton NR [Little Egret is the white dot left of the public hide].

Cleared the Ragwort, not too arduous as regular pulling over the years is doing its job.

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Ragwort in the wheelbarrow.

Finishing that we hacked down the vegetation threatening to obscure the view from the public hide.

Walking back late afternoon checked North Lagoon again. All present with the addition of a Dunlin. The Curlew Sandpiper was very close but light wasn’t too good. Torrential rain as we left.

Keeping up to date at Tophill Low NR

24 Aug

23/8/16 No news from Tophill Low NR on Monday and as I in needed of a more relaxed day the multiply hide on the reserve seemed a good idea on Tuesday morning. When I’d gone for the Pectoral Sandpiper the previous Tuesday the one man road patching truck had been along the road from Watton. The road to High Eske had been treated the same for a few weeks back and there was still a lot of loose gravel about therefore I wasn’t looking forward to my next trip to Tophill Low NR by bike. The road isn’t fun at the best of times being narrow with lots of blind bends. You try to keep well in on the corners to avoid ‘out of control’ oncoming traffic, a large proportion being overconfident Yorkshire Water vans, but this is where many of the patched wre so forcing you into the middle of the road. Things weren’t too back until the last bend before the Cranswick junction where there was so much loose gravel it was like riding on ball hearings.

No surprise there was nothing in the reserve log from yesterday. Started at North Lagoon. Much as on Sunday with all three Curlew Sandpiper, 13 Ruff, two Greenshank, Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover.

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Common Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon.

The terrapin was out on South Lagoon.

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 Yellow-bellied Slider at Tophill Low NR on South Lagoon

Knowing how elusive the Pectoral Sandpiper could be I put in lot of time in both South Marsh East hides. No sign and only five Ruff, two Green Sandpiper and two Little Ringed Plover. Kingfisher continue to show well below South Marsh East 1st hide.

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Mouse Moth at Tophill Low NR in L-shaped hide

Watton NR was packed with hundreds of Greylag and Canada Geese but the only waders were c100 Lapwing.

Good numbers of butterflies, mainly on fleabane, in South Scrub and O reservoir ditch.

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Painted Lady at Tophill Low NR in South Scrub

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Brimstone butterfly at Tophill Low NR in South Scrub

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Small Copper at Tophill Low NR by O reservoir

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Common Blue butterfly at Tophill Low NR by O reservoir

Had lunch in the car park hide, while checking D reservoir. Couldn’t see the Scaup. Good numbers of gulls but found nothing unusual. Did the north end for the first time in several weeks. Nothing much on North Marsh or Hempholme Meadow but did give me a chance to look again for the Scaup for the other two hide. Vague claim of the Pectoral Sandpiper again on South Marsh East. I had intended on another circuit of the south end anyway. Gave South Marsh East another good grill but only added Ringed Plover and a few Snipe.

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Green Sandpiper and Snipe at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East.

A Green Sandpiper was on South Marsh West. Ended the trip early evening in North Lagoon. No change but the Curlew Sandpipers were closer and got a few shots before the light started to go.

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Curlew Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

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Ruff at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

The trip back wasn’t as bad as traffic seemed to have cleared some of the worst gravel. Always find the trip back along the Watton road less as gruelling anyway. Whether this is real or just psychological I’m yet to decide.

Curlew Sandpipers at Tophill Low NR

21 Aug

2o/8/16 With the weather forecast bad for Saturday had an early start at High Eske NR. Actually started raining heavily on arrival but braved it out and soon became dry and remain that way until I left mid morning but the wind got up to the point where it was no-longer fun. Waders particularly Curlew Sandpipers are on the move but only managed two Common Sandpiper and a Dunlin.

As predicted yesterday Curlew Sandpipers appeared at Tophill Low NR during the afternoon but by then the wind was strong with the occasional heavy shower so hoped they would stay until Sunday.

21/8/16 Sunday morning started at Hornsea Mere with JH. The site has been very disappointing recently and as yet no sign of the regular Little Gull built up. From Kirkholme Point only managed two Little Ringed Plovers, which like most waders flew around few times in the vain hope of finding some exposed mud.

Next to Bewholme Hall Pond. There best there was a Common Sandpiper and Pink-footed Goose.

Finally made it to Tophill Low NR midday. Played it cool and did D reservoir but did find the Scaup that had eluded me earlier in the week.

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Scaup among Tufted Duck at Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Getting to North Lagoon there were three Curlew Sandpiper along with two Greenshank [increasing to three on the second visit], twelve Ruff, Common Sandpiper Ringed Plover and 3 Grey Wagtails.

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Curlew Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

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Ruff at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

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Greenshank at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

The Pectoral Sandpiper was still on South Marsh East, again best from back-to-back hide. DSCN2537

Pectoral Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

Also on the marsh were Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover.

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Green Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

RL picked up an Osprey flying south over the river, my first here for a few years.

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Osprey at Tophill Low over South Marsh East-RL

Curlew Sandpipers at Tophill Low NR

21 Aug

2o/8/16 With the weather forecast bad for Saturday had an early start at High Eske NR. Actually started raining heavily on arrival but braved it out and soon became dry and remain that way until I left mid morning but the wind got up to the point where it was no-longer fun. Waders particularly Curlew Sandpipers are on the move but only managed two Common Sandpiper and a Dunlin.

As predicted yesterday Curlew Sandpipers appeared at Tophill Low NR during the afternoon but by then the wind was strong with the occasional heavy shower so hoped they would stay until Sunday.

21/8/16 Sunday morning started at Hornsea Mere with JH. The site has been very disappointing recently and as yet no sign of the regular Little Gull built up. From Kirkholme Point only managed two Little Ringed Plovers, which like most waders flew around few times in the vain hope of finding some exposed mud.

Next to Bewholme Hall Pond. There best there was a Common Sandpiper and Pink-footed Goose.

Finally made it to Tophill Low NR midday. Played it cool and did D reservoir but did find the Scaup that had eluded me earlier in the week.

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Scaup among Tufted Duck at Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Getting to North Lagoon there were three Curlew Sandpiper along with two Greenshank [increasing to three on the second visit], twelve Ruff, Common Sandpiper Ringed Plover and 3 Grey Wagtails.

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Curlew Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

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Ruff at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

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Greenshank at Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon

The Pectoral Sandpiper was still on South Marsh East, again best from back-to-back hide. DSCN2537

Pectoral Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

Also on the marsh were Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover.

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Green Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

RL picked up an Osprey flying south over the river, my first here for a few years.

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Osprey at Tophill Low NR over South Marsh East-RL

North Cave Wetlands and Tophill Low NRs

19 Aug

19/8/16 Friday morning was at North Cave Wetlands for the third day, this time with RL, SL and ML. Quick walk to Reedbed and the Spotted Crake was ticked off in a matter of minutes.

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Spotted Crake-North Cave Wetlands on Reedbed

A good influx of Curlew Sandpiper into the area this morning including 23 found by SB at Paul Holme Strays, as well as Pied Flycatcher near the fort. Had a quick from Crosslands Hide in the hope one had dropped in but the only had five Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper.

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Picture of the previous Spotted Crake on Crossland Hide door.

Next to Tophill Low NR, unfortunately the Pectoral Sandpiper seemed to moved on. Had a look at D reservoir but again failed to locate the Scaup seem again by LJ yesterday. Moved on to North Lagoon where most of the waders seemed to be. Had 7 Ruff, 2 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpiper and 3 Grey Wagtail.

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Greenshank-Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon 

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Ruff-Tophill Low NR on North Lagoon 

North Lagoon is one of the best places to photograph waders but today, with start of the forecast rain, conditions weren’t perfect. Had intended moving one but the rain slowed and we took RH up on another tour of the construction site [see here for a previous account].

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Work on the new Tophill Low NR visitors centre site

Again when we were thinking of going, the Pectoral Sandpiper was relocated back on South Marsh East so ML, SL and I headed that way. Again best from back-to-back hide. Was surprisingly difficult to locate in the poorer light, proving the cryptic nature of its plumage on muddy islands.

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Pectoral Sandpiper-Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

Also Garganey and Pintail which we didn’t see but did have Snipe and another Green Sandpiper and Ruff.

 

Spotted Crake at North Cave Wetlands

18 Aug

17/8/16 A Spotted Crake seen briefly by MU at North Cave Wetlands on Reedbed on Sunday evening then relocated by TC early Tuesday evening. I’d missed the previous twitchable one due to not bothering to go the same evening but fortunately after not been seen again that evening this one was seen again Wednesday morning.  As I wasn’t too fit thought I’d leave it until the afternoon. A Whinchat had been seen yesterday near the maize field so I  had a quick look on the way to the Reedbed. Getting there the crake hadn’t been seen for c2 hours. Joined PW in St.Helen’s Farm viewpoint and wasn’t long before he’d located it.

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St Helen’s Farm viewpoint at North Cave Wetland [“the hide without a back”]

 

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Reedbed at North Cave Wetlands looking toward the western edge which the Spotted Crake inhabits.

Watched it for a good time although always distant, and in cover much of the time, along western edge of the pit. Later joined GD and RH near the seat at the western end where it was a bit closer although the light and distance still made it impossible to get a clear photo.

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The best Spotted Crake shot I got!!

Also on the Reedbed were a Greenshank, 2 Redshank and 2 Common Tern.

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Redshank on Reedbed at North Cave Wetland. A surprisingly scarce inland wader at the moment.

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Yellow Wagtail on Reedbed at North Cave Wetlands

Went for another look for Whinchat with SG but again no sign but had a few Corn Bunting. We went to check the new workings from Crosslands Hide. Two Egyptian Geese, a Common Sandpiper and two Lesser Black-backed Gull were on the slurry lagoon and three Greenshank and the Bar-headed Goose on Cell A.

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Egyptian Geese on slurry lagoon at North Cave Wetlands

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Bar-headed Goose on Cell A at North Cave Wetlands

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Common Tern on the tern raft on Main Lake at North Cave Wetlands

Thanks to a call from SG had two Green Sandpipers and a Ruff from the gate near the entrance before I left.

18/8/26 Had a quick look at High Eske NR on Thursday morning. The ‘summer islands’ were covered and there was sign of the Little Stint. However there were two Green Sandpipers on the main island and two Common Sandpipers on the east shore.

Went back to North Cave Wetlands with JH early afternoon. Hadn’t been seen for a good while but soon after sitting down in the viewpoint I located it and we watched it walk the length of the west side. The light was initially better than yesterday being a bit earlier. Also had three Greenshank and two Little Ringed Plover. MU had seen the the Whinchat on the Snipe field fence. We had a look but no sign however saw it distantly back on the fence from Turret Hide later. Also had the two Egyptian Geese on Village Lake. Had three Snipe and a Green Sandpiper on Dryham Ings from the gate near the entrance.

Pectoral Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR

16 Aug

16/8/16 Tuesday had arranged to go out with RL and ML late morning. Had time for a quick walk in Cottingham to the fields on the corner of Dunswell Road and New Village Road. Had an adult Green Woodpecker again as well family parties of Willow Warbler and Whitethroat.

A Pectoral Sandpiper had been seen by visitors at Tophill Low NR on Monday evening. Its continued presence on South Marsh East was reported just as my friends arrived so we headed that way.

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South Marsh East at Tophill Low NR

Located it pretty quickly from the 1st hide but was distant so after getting a few records shots went round to back-to-back hide where it was closer.

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Pectoral Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

It was in company with 3 Ruff. Also 3 Greenshank and at least 4 Green Sandpiper.

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Greenshank at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

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Ruff at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

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Green Sandpiper with Teal at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East

A Peregrine was circling ominously to the east. A bit worrying as the last Pectoral Sandpiper on 23/9/10 had been taken by a Sparrowhawk while RL and I watched and before RH got there. This one will be a site tick for him! This is my first since one on Swine Moor in October 2014. Last year was my first blank, probably since I first ticked one at Tophill Low NR in September 1990.

Walking back had a few Common Blue Butterflies near South Lagoon, a rare find this year.DSCN2402

Common Blue Butterfly [male above. Female below]

DSCN2406Had a drink in car park hide but nothing of interest on D reservoir. Did North Lagoon on the way out where there were another 3 Green Sandpiper.

Next was High Eske NR. Initially didn’t look good with with all the rocks, old field drains and mummified tree trucks providing plenty of cover but eventually the Little Stint was located along with two Common Sandpiper, Dunlin and a too brief Ruff. We all took loads of pictures but mine were no improvement on yesterday.

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