Archive | December, 2013

2013 in 12 pictures

31 Dec

January The bird of early 2013 had to be the then putative 1st winter Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston. Found late 2012 and identified as an Iceland Gull by RL and ML, the darker than normal appearance led Martin Garner to suggest it was actually a Kumlien’s. This was confirmed on it’s return in December.

Regarded Kumliens Barmston 310113 Leo

1st winter Kumlien’s Gull-RL

February The 2012/13 winter was one of the best recent Waxwings years. Among the many I saw were these I found while at work on the 5th.


Waxwings-Finkle Street Cottingham

March Had a trip to the Spanish Pyrenees in late February/early March. The main target was Wallcreeper.



April The highlight this month was the Rock Thrush at Kilnsea. A female so not the most attractive bird but a much sort after addition to any Yorkshire [and British] list. But what made this bird extra special was a Caspian Tern that flew north and was another much wanted county tick.


Female Rock Thrush-Kilnsea

May Although 1st seen in January at High Eske NR this 1st winter Ring-necked Duck was much admired into May.


Ring-necked Duck-Tophill Low NR

June Had a largely non-birding trip to New York this month but did get some birding done mainly in Central Park where this was taken.


Blue Jay-Central Park, New York

July A trip to Fen Bog on 26th produced Keeled Skimmer-a tick for me.

Image 5

Male Keeled Skimmer-Fen Bog, N.Yorks

August On the 10th I trapped a Star-wort moth in my Cottingham garden. In Yorkshire virtually unknown away from Spurn Point.


Star-wort moth

September This Bittern seen on the 26th was a new bird for me at North Cave Wetlands.


Greater Bittern-N.Cave Wetlands

October An almost unbelievable find this Uresiphita gilvata caught in my garden on the 22th constituted this first record for Yorkshire.


Uresiphita gilvata

November These Snow Buntings at Paull on the 24th qualify purely because they are one of my favourite birds and were so approachable.

Snow Buntings Near Paull Holme Strays 241113 RL

Snow Buntings-Paull

December This juvenile Ivory Gull found by Geoff Dobbs at Patrington Haven on the 15th was not just a Yorkshire tick for me but a lifer. My only British tick in 2013!


Juvenile Ivory Gull-Patrington Haven

Green-winged Teal at North Cave Wetlands

31 Dec

A drake Green-winged Teal was found at North Cave Wetlands on 19th December. Wasn’t a site tick as I saw the 1st record on it’s first day on 9.11.08.



Green-winged Teal drake N.Cave Wetlands-9.11.08

Not even a year tick so the pressure wasn’t on. However with the post Christmas dog days at work the prospect of seeing it looked better. However Monday was too wet with strong winds so that was out but Tuesday, despite a heavy shower early afternoon, was better.


Secure parking courtesy of YWT

Thus mid afternoon found me in East Hide viewing Village Lake, where it had been this morning. No sign so moved to Turret Hide which would give me another angle on Village Lake as well as Island Lake. First quick scan failed to produce it but the second located it asleep on the long thin island at the back of Island Lake. The light was still good enough for a bearable shot.


Today’s drake Green-winged Teal


Island Lake-the G-W.Teal is on the thin island at the back [middle bird!]. 

Didn’t have time for a full circuit and nothing else of interest on site so decided to hang on in Turret Hide incase the Green-winged Teal woke up. However apart from a brief ‘head up” when disturbed by a Eurasian Teal it remained asleep until dark even when the bulk of the Teal where scattered by a Sparrowhawk.


Sunset over N.Cave Wetlands






Ivory Gull revisited

21 Dec

Went back to Patrington Haven on Saturday morning with Martin and Roy. Martin’s first chance. Unfortunately didn’t show any better than Monday and with the sun didn’t get a better picture.


Juvenile Ivory Gull

Seems to visit the donated fish by the pumping station early morning then spend the rest of the day more distant on rocks only rarely returning to feed. Not the chaos I expected and could have parked close to the end of  Outstray Road. On site the birders seemed to be evenly split between those actually watching the bird and others sat hoping it would return to feed.


Viewing the Ivory Gull

A male Hen Harrier had been seen over Welwick Saltmarsh earlier.

Little more than a tick and run and a quick update with the old friends you only see intermittently at twitches.

Maybe another try for better pictures if it hangs on much longer.


Patrington Strays.

Spent the rest of the day at Hornsea Mere.

Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven

16 Dec

Had spent much of Sunday at a chilly High Eske NR and as I was just getting over a cold I quite felt like a rest when I got in. However just after 3pm got a text from Stuart Griffiths. “Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven.” As it was already looking dark in Cottingham my reply was “Great. Almost dark!”. However minutes later, as it was breaking on RBA, I got a call from Geoff Dobbs, the finder. He’d got it pinned down on grass so I felt obliged to go. The traffic wasn’t too bad around east Hull but the light was definitely  going! My chances weren’t help by the fact that apart from the Hedon bypass there is only a short section of 60mph speed limit between Hull and Patrington, the rest 30’s and 40’s with too many law abiding car drivers getting in the way. Reaching Patrington it was well dark with still at few miles to Outstray Road. Finally got there, just behind a couple from Brough, as a message came up that it had flown onto the Humber after showing well feeding on a fish. This was confirmed by all the lucky b……s, including Geoff, walking away leaving no-one on site. We continued to the pumping station but it was fools mission. Amazingly we weren’t the last to arrive with Dave and Sean Bryan arriving in the pitch black.

Monday morning I was fortunate to have a fairly light day for this time of year [I’m a postman!] as well as the offer of some help so when the Ivory Gull was reported back at Patrington Haven c8.30am I had some hope of seeing it. However I still had c6 hours before I would be on site so every message from Yorkshire was read immediately. Got a personal message  from Roy that it was still there c10am but distant on the salt marsh. The usual feeling in this situation was do I want it to stay or get a message than it had definitely gone then at least I could relax. The messages weren’t exactly pouring in but at least it seemed settled although not getting any closer. My day at work went smooth and I was home before 1.30pm. Then just a matter of eating quickly and combating exhaustion with a cup of strong coffee. Thus I found myself at the end of Out Stray c3pm. With a bike I had now problem squeezing in close to the gates. This time the news was positive with the hoards of returning birder including my mate Roy reporting the gull to be now showing well, feeding on fish that had been put down near the pumping station. Of course this wasn’t to last as with in 100m of the pumping station I saw it in flight then it appeared to drop on the foreshore just to the west. Well at least I’d seen it! The click of cameras and too many mobile calls had finally had their affect. Fortunately it was still reasonably close although a bit far for decent pictures.


Juvenile Ivory Gull-my best effort!


LGRE looking happy.


Patrington Strays at dusk.

Watched it till near dark with the crowd diminishing to 4. Finally it got up and flew around for several minutes occasionally looking to return to feed but eventually flew to mid river where I left it just visible drifting on the Humber.  Also had a distant Short-eared Owl on a post on Welwick Saltmarsh. Passed a late twitcher on the way back so hoped the couple of birders still there kept the gull in a ‘scope until he arrived. Know the feeling. That was me yesterday.

Well it’s spent 2 days there and with a supply of fish hopefully it’ll hang around so good luck to everyone hoping to connect. May get back for better views but not this weekend as I suspect Outstray Road will be parked up solid. Maybe Christmas day?

Black-throated Diver at North Cave Wetlands

3 Dec

A Black-throated Diver was found on the Main Lake at North Cave Wetlands on the morning of Tuesday 19th November. Unfortunately I was too too busy at work to make it before dark all week. Last seen on the Thursday so Roy and I checked nearby Welton Waters on the Saturday incase it had relocated there. Therefore it came as a surprise to get a text from Stu Griffith on Sunday 1 December that it was back on Main Lake. Otherwise occupied then and too busy on Monday but on Tuesday had a light day at work [probably the last before Christmas] and was in the South Hide by mid afternoon. The Diver was showing well and despite the low winter sun managed some reasonable shots.


Black-throated Diver on Main Lake


Great Crested Grebe on Main Lake 


Cormorants and Lapwings on Main Lake tern raft

Didn’t have time for a full tour so decided to check the stubble  fields to the north for the long staying juvenile Eurasian White-fronted Goose. Large flock of Greylags but a bit distant with out a tripod in the fading light. Reported to be missing a leg but couldn’t pick out a limping bird. Went back to South Hide to join Stu. Had an adult Whooper Swan dropping onto New Workings on the way.


Whooper and Mute Swans on New Workings

Watched the diver till near dark.