Archive | November, 2016

Black-necked Grebe and Smew at Tophill Low NR

25 Nov

25/11/16 On Friday morning, for the second time this week, drew a blank at Hornsea Mere. This time partly due to fisherman to close to the hide. Two Long-tailed Duck have continued to be seen by others off Kirkholme Point. Leaving earlier than planned headed to Tophill Low NR with RL and ML. Checked the gulls at Fosse Hill Jet Ski Pond on the way. The Black-necked Grebe found on Tuesday had moved to O reservoir yesterday. Had a quick look on D reservoir then moved to the O reservoir viewing screen. The grebe was still present so moved round to L-shaped hide for a closer view.fullsizeoutput_1a9b

Black-necked Grebe at Tophill Low NR on O reservoir.

Next to Watton NR hide. Finally had the redhead Smew briefly in cover to the right of the island then full out but still distant to the left before it again drifted behind the island. fullsizeoutput_1a91

Smew with Tufted Duck on Watton NR by Tophill Low NR

Also a pair of Pintail, although hidden by brambles, two Little Egret and at least a dozen Curlew in and out. Didn’t stay to do the gulls.

Late Black-necked Grebe at Tophill Low NR

22 Nov

22/11/16 Went to Tophill Low NR with RL on Tuesday afternoon to do the gull roost. Good number of wildfowl on D reservoir so had a good look through before the gulls started building up. Picked up a small grebe at the top end. Black and white so immediately ruled out Little Grebe. My next thought was Slavonian Grebe as they are the usual inland grebe at this time of year locally but quickly proved to be a Black-necked Grebe. At Tophill Low NR in past they have been regular spring passage birds followed by probable failed breeders through summer then juvenile and post breeders late summer but rare [if ever?] in late autumn. This year though there has only been one earlier record, on the 9th June. Missed this one but had seen a pair at North Cave Wetlands on 7th of June.fullsizeoutput_150f

Black-necked Grebes on Main Lake at North Cave Wetland 7/6/16.

Walked straight road to North Hide seeing several Fieldfare on the way. It was closer and we managed a few reasonable shots of the grebe in fading light. fullsizeoutput_1a8f

Black-necked Grebe at Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Nothing of note in the roost but the North Hide isn’t the best place to do the it from.dscn3550

Gulls coming into roost at Tophill Low NR

Nothing in the log but this isn’t always reliable as to what has been seen on the reserve. Knew the Smew was still present on Watton NR via RBA at least.dscn3538

The new visitor centre at Tophill Low NR nearing completion

Long-tailed Duck bonanza at Hornsea Mere

15 Nov

14/11/16 Went to High Eske NR on Monday morning. Walking north had seven Whooper Swans on Arram Carrs opposite Leven Canal entrance. Checked Leven Carrs from the river bank then walked the canal as far as Waterloo bridge but no sign of the eight Short-eared Owls seen on Sunday. Usually find late afternoon best for Short-eared Owls but was tied up later [see below]. Weather permitting will try again later in the week.

15/11/16 Went out with RL and ML on Tuesday morning. Started at Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide. At this time of day the light makes viewing the south side difficult and we failed to find the Smew in it’s usual place. We did though have the regular White-fronted Goose family swimming out from the shore to the west.fullsizeoutput_1a85

European White-fronted Geese at Hornsea Mere

Later I found another adult among the Greylags off ‘tree island’. Again a Long-tailed Duck appear between us and Swan Island although further out than on Sunday. GB came into the hide and on being shown the duck another three flew past. Although mobile a nice male and the original or a similar bird did show well in front of us later. Also had a late Migrant Hawker over the reeds in front of the hide.fullsizeoutput_1a79

Long-tailed Ducks at Hornsea Mere

fullsizeoutput_1a8aLater I had a Common Scoter flying towards Decoy Bay with a second bird close behind.

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. No sign of the Grey Phalarope since Sunday but a redhead Smew had been seen on Watton NR. Walked south and had a very late Common Darter near South Lagoon [Two Migrant Hawker had been seen at East Pond on Sunday]. However on reaching Watton NR hide there was no sign of the Smew and the bird numbers hinted at a recent disturbance. Did have four Little Egret as well as the pale Common Buzzard.15129456_1232459953477317_1501047782318437426_o

Pale Common Buzzard over Watton Carrs

There had been a good number of ducks on O reservoir but no sign of the Smew there on a second look. Did the roost on D reservoir. No sign of the Smew or any interesting gulls. The Smew may have gone onto the river then returned to Watton NR later but may be worth checking High Eske NR tomorrow. With the small number of Smew this year seems likely the there is just one mobile bird locally, first been seen at High Eske NR on the 30th October then quickly moving to Tophill Low NR then Hornsea Mere.dscn3518

The new Tophill Low NR visitors centre nearing completion.

RIP Holly

My dog Holly following a visit to the vet on Monday afternoon was put down today. She along with Wilbur have occasionally featured in my Hull Valley Blog.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Holly in her prime

Anyone interested moths check, likely the last post this year of, my Cottingham Moth blog.

Dipping the Cayton Bay Eastern Black Redstart

13 Nov

11/11/16 Went to High Eske NR on Friday afternoon. Three Whooper Swans briefly with the Mute Swans and again a Pink-footed Goose with the feral Greylags.fullsizeoutput_1a6c

Whooper Swans at High Eske NR

A Water Rail was squealing in the south-east corner and eventually showed well. fullsizeoutput_1a6d

Water Rail at High Eske NR

Got too cold after sunset so left early.

13/11/16 Nice on Sunday morning so headed to Cayton Bay with RL and ML. dscn3483

Interesting graffiti on a bunker at Cayton Bay.

Walking south along the beach had four Stonechats on the cliff face before reaching the rocks at the south end.

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Male Stonechat at Cayton Bay.

Gave it until early afternoon but there was no sign of the Eastern Black Redstart. Met up with DV. He had already missed it on Wednesday and the bird had been tricky all week. Had a few Rock Pipits and Robin.

Went to Hornsea Mere for the rest of the afternoon. The Smew, Long-tailed Duck, three Scaup, White-fronted Goose and two Tundra Bean Geese had been seen earlier. Check the Merebirders blog for more recent sightings. RL again picked up the Smew close to the south shore and the three Scaup in the bay from Seaton Road Hide. Later on I picked up the Long-tailed Duck at very close range. We all got some decent pictures before the light got too bad.fullsizeoutput_1a75

Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere

The Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

9 Nov

9/11/16 Started Wednesday in Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide with RL and ML. On Sunday we’d spent a cold but productive few hours there finding Long-tailed Duck and seeing Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter, European White-fronted Geese and a Pink-footed Goose. Unfortunately bad light and mostly too distant for photography. 14991465_1221957371194242_3986297985049332242_o

Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere-RL 

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Common Scoter at Hornsea Mere-RL 

Also had a Marsh Harrier persistently hovering over an unidentified small duck or grebe which repeatedly dived to get away.14940009_1221985707858075_8585892786404413223_o

Marsh Harrier harassing an unidentified bird at Hornsea Mere-RL 

On Tuesday Smew and Black-necked Grebe had also been reported. Today was also wet and cold. Getting into the hide a drake Pintail and tatty male Goosander were close in.

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Drake Goosander at Hornsea Mere-RL 

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Drake Pintail at Hornsea Mere-RL 

Roy quickly picked up the redhead Smew and Common Scoter but both close to the opposite shore. One Pink-footed Goose was still with the feral geese off Kirkholme Point but saw no other ‘wild’ geese. I found two redhead Goosander, one looking rather small. Later what may have been the smaller ‘goosander’ was seen again and identified as a Red-breasted Merganser. Also surprise to see a small flock of Grey Plover flying west.

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. A Grey Phalarope was found by JB on Tuesday morning. Still reported today at the south end of D reservoir. Couldn’t initially see it from Car park hide but RL shortly found it and we got a few record shots before it again was obscured by the wall.fullsizeoutput_1a64

Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

This is my 3rd Grey Phalarope for Tophill Low NR and two years since the last one in November 2014.

Had a look at Swine Moor on the way back where there was still good numbers of Wigeon and Teal.

If your interested in moths please check my updated Moth Blog

Insects hang on at Tophill Low NR

5 Nov

4/11/16 Went to Tophill Low NR with RL on Friday morning. As usual started in car park hide. Scanned D reservoir but no sign of the Smew which hadn’t been reported since late afternoon Sunday. Had visited High Eske NR on Wednesday and it hadn’t return there nor was there any sign of the small Pochard flock that it been part of. However as today the Goldeneye had increased including the first adult drakes. Headed south. Although the weather forecast all week have been full of doom about much colder weather I haven’t yet found it too bad but it was still surprising to see several Common Darter and a Migrant Hawker by South Lagoon.

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Common Darter at Tophill Low NR by South Lagoon.

They were even joined by a Red Admiral.

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Red Admiral at Tophill Low NR by South Lagoon.

Next Watton NR where there were at least eleven Little Egret. The largest number I’ve seen on the borrow pit and included one with colour leg rings. There was a very pale Buzzard feeding over the back. It had a white rump but the tail was largely black with a white band up the middle. When it perched on a post the legs were clearly unfeathered. fullsizeoutput_1a5a

Pale Common Buzzard at Watton NR

Common Buzzards like this have been present for several years and it’s not surprising that they get claimed as Rough-legged Buzzard as well Osprey and Hen Harrier. The only Pink-footed Goose was a rather sickly individual with almost orange legs. Went to Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide this afternoon. One Slavonian Grebe and a Tundra Bean Goose were still around this morning but not for us. Did have fifteen Whooper Swans and RL picked out the female-type Common Scoter, which we’d missed on Sunday, close to the south shore. Finished at Swine Moor. Too late for any serious wader passage but there was plenty of water. Present were circa four hundred Wigeon and a smaller number of Teal. Wondered where the Wigeon had got to as there have been very few at High Eske NR so far this autumn.