Archive | December, 2016

2016 in 12 picture

31 Dec

Intro

Most of this year, due to having more free time, I’ve managed to blog when I’ve had the inspiration and a few photographs. I’ve rarely left Yorkshire though so most of the highlights will inevitably be local. I’ve kept going with Cottingham Moths but still wonder whether it’s worth the effort. However viewing figures have doubled since last year. See how I feel when I start trapping again in 2017.

January

My first picture for 2016 is the returning Barmston Kumlien’s Gull, seen on the 31st. It proved tricky this year [more here].

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Kumlien’s Gull on Barmston Beach

February

An Early Moth found in Cottingham on Travis Road on the 6th was a new one for me [see here].

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Early Moth

March

March was poor for photographs so I’ll settle for my first picture of a Small Tortoiseshell of the year taken at Far Grange.

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Small Tortoiseshell at Far Grange, Skipsea

April

My best photograph of the month was a very showy Cetti’s Warbler at Tophill Low NR that performed close to North Marsh Hide for several days.

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Cetti’s Warbler at North Marsh-Tophill Low NR

May

This month’s photograph is the two Glossy Ibises at North Cave Wetlands NR, taken on the 29th. A site tick for most regulars.

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Glossy Ibises on Dryham Ings-North Cave Wetlands NR

June

This month it’s a Dingy Skipper taken at Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit near Market Weighton on the 5th. A difficult species to see locally and even more to photograph [Full account here].

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Dingy Skipper at Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

July

Perversely my picture for July is an escaped/released Corn Snake found at High Eske NR on the 25th but it survived to provide material for a light hearted posting in August [see here].

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Corn Snake-High Eske NR

August

August was a good month for waders at Tophill Low NR, had a site tick in the form of Spotted Crake at North Cave Wetlands and some good insects. All these are covered in the blog but the choice goes to the Western Swamp-hen at Minsmere RSPB on the 1st [see here].

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Western Swamp-hen-Minsmere RSPB

September

This month I go for a moth. My first Brick on the 17th.

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Brick-Cottingham

October

October was a mad month, said to be the best rarity wise ever. Oddly I never left Yorkshire but the best bird, for me at least, was the Siberian Accentor at Easington seen the same afternoon as my first Yorkshire Paddyfield Warbler [full account here].

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Siberian Accentor-Vicar’s Lane, Easington

November

November was a waterbird month and represented by this Black-necked Grebe I found at Tophill Low NR on the 22nd [See here].

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Black-necked Grebe on D res at Tophill Low NR

December

The last photograph should have been Dusky Thrush at Beeley but didn’t see it long enough to get a picture on my 1st attempt and not at all on the 2nd [see here]. Therefore the space is filled by Eastern Black Redstart at Skinningrove, with in the historic borders of Yorkshire [see here].

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Eastern Black Redstart-Skinningrove

Top 10 posts of 2016 [viewing figures]

1 The Flamborough/Easington twitch-Paddyfield Warbler and Siberian Accentor

2 Migrants-Kilnsea/Easington including Olive-backed Pipit

Putative Stejneger’s Stonechat at Spurn PointSince confirmed

31/1/16 Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston [for the 4th year?]

Waxwings at last-Hessle Sainsbury’s

Alkborough Flatspre-Western Swamp-hen

The Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

Spotted Crake at North Cave Wetlands

North Cave Wetlands YWTBirds and insects

10 2015 in 12 pictures

Eastern Black Redstart in Skinningrove

28 Dec

28/12/16 Anyone who follows this blog will know that although I’ve seen Eastern Black Redstart on Holy Island I’ve since missed one thrice in Yorkshire [see here and here]. Since one turned up in Cleveland, in the historic county of Yorkshire, I’ve planned to go but just hadn’t managed yet. However when I was picked up by ML and RL on Wednesday morning was told we were off to Skinningrove. Like my Beeley trips [see here] I again encountered the idiosyncrasies of SatNavs. The inland route via Malton and Pickering looked best but although it looked to be following that route it suddenly sent us towards Bridlington then the rest of the way up the coast. Ok, of course ML could have ignored it but there is a fascination to just seeing where it’s going to take us. Anyway got there without any real problems. Today was very cold, likely the coldest this winter so far, and it’s worth noting that the final approach to the village is very steep and narrow and not helped by a covering of frost. Even worse going back up in bottom gear. Anyway after negotiating the road system found our way to the car park by the jetty. Walking along got confirmation that the bird was still present and although not showing immediately we did see it soon including pretty close on the stone work.

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1st winter ♂ Eastern Black Redstart-Skinningrove

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Eastern Black Redstart with GoPro

Went back down to the beach and was showing well below two others birders there.

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Mike and Steve with Eastern Black Redstart on rocks

It was only when we got down there did I realise it was SM and MR, even though they’d been trying to attract our attention since we’d arrived. Also plenty of Robin and Dunnock feeding among the boulders.

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Robin-Skinningrove beach

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Dunnock-Skinningrove

Surprised to see Fulmars already on nest sites on the cliffs above.

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Fulmar on cliff face at Skinningrove

Not long after we got on the beach the Eastern Black Redstart moved to the eastern end of the rocks then disappeared and after not been seen for over half an hour we called it a day. This is my first Black Redstart since one at Barmston in December 2013. Went back the via inland route.

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Street art by Karl Striker-Skinningrove

Waxwings at last

27 Dec

26/12/16 Haven’t seen a Waxwing since the big influx of 2012/13 during which I stumbled on several flocks. My last been in Cottingham on Southwood Road on April 6th. There have been small numbers in the intervening years no long stayers locally in East Yorkshire. This autumn there has been a big influx but no had so far locally. Early Boxing Day afternoon a got a report from RL of one found in Hull on Boothferry Road by EC. Unfortunately it was that time of year when family gets in the way of birding. Fortunately had had a good walk round Cottingham with the dog earlier, the highlight being a Woodcock flushed by Wilbur in fields off Dunswell Road.

27/12/16 A larger flock of Waxwing had been found at the regular site at Hessle Sainsbury’s later on Monday afternoon. Headed there Tuesday morning with ML and RL. The flock was immediately visible in trees by the car park, although perversely most photographers at least were standing under a empty berry tree in the hope of the classic berry eating shot. dscn3712

Waiting for the Waxwings on berries at Hessle Sainsbury’s

Anyway we got several shots with out any competition before trying for the berry shot but although I did get a few the birds were very nervous there.

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Waxwings at Hessle Sainsbury’s

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And finally on berries

Next back tracked to Costello playing fields where we’d seen several Goosander from the road earlier. fullsizeoutput_1dee

Goosander in Hull on Costello Playing fields lake.

Good a few shots then headed to Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide. Had a Long-tailed Duck although again distant being nearer the southern shore. Also had a cream-crowned Marsh Harrier over.

A flock of Snow Bunting had been regular at Barmston last week so went there next. Walked nearly as far as Fraisthorpe wind-farm but saw no Snow Bunting but did have good numbers of Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Skylark, as well two Stonechat.fullsizeoutput_1def

One of two Stonechat at Barmston

Also had one of the two Hooded Crow in the area although only in flight at a distance. Had had better views of Hooded Crow there earlier this month.fullsizeoutput_1df4

Sanderling on Barmston beach.

Thrushes at Beeley but no Dusky.

16 Dec

On Sunday 4/12/16 with the help of social media a strange thrush in Derbyshire was identified as a first winter female Dusky Thrush. The usual suspects had seen the Kent bird so played it cool. It showed well on Monday and although I consider going on my own I contacted JH who agreed to go the next day.

6/12/16 On Tuesday set off mid morning. Was a bit disconcerted  when on reaching the end of the M18 instead of continuing on the M1 the SatNav took us into Sheffield. Total nightmare with heavy traffic and the regular ‘recalculating’ followed by ‘turn right then immediately left’. Eventually we got to the suburbs followed by open country and not much later ordered to “turn left onto Church Lane” Beeley. Several lost birders wandering about and we were informed that the thrush hadn’t been seen for two hours. Parked and headed to Dukes Barn where it had spent much of yesterday. After about an hour there was a sudden wave of birders leaving prompted by a call to someone’s phone. Couldn’t see JH and although I didn’t want to leave him behind I knew he was close and would join the exodus so set off and even did a bit of running so actually ended up one the first new birders in the playing field where I headed for the nearest available scope and got a good enough view to be happy I had seen a Dusky Thrush [‘a tickable view’] then went for my camera but it wasn’t where it appeared to be and on asking for another look found it had dropped out of view. About this time JH arrived [he doesn’t do running]. When it hadn’t reappeared for a while I thought it was safe to go back to the car for my scope. Getting there found I could view the tree tops I’d seen the thrush as well as some of the orchard at Duke Barn. Getting back to JH suggested we both  headed back to there. Annoyingly on getting there discovered it been seen briefly close by. There was then another big gap before, close to dusk, it was seen again behind Duke Barn. However it was hopeless as although it might have been present as we arrived the light, not helped by low cloud, was too poor and it was soon lost to view. Called it a day and this time using the fastest  route setting we got back much quicker on a route that skirted Chesterfield.

As a post script the next time I got the bike out, on Friday morning, the throttle cable broke while warming up so would have been knackered if I’d had gone under my own steam.

14/12/16 I promised to go back with JH so went again the following week on Wednesday. Again on fast setting, although the SatNav seemed to take us through the centre of Chesterfield this time. Arrived earlier but again it hadn’t been seen for two hours. Ended up parking close to a group viewing an orchard over a dry stone wall. There were plenty of Blackbirds with smaller numbers of other thrushes so this looked as good a place as Duke Barn to watch.  There was one false alarm that got us viewing Duke Barn for a while but seemed very quiet so went back to the orchard where the birds were at least in photographic range. fullsizeoutput_1ddf

Redwing-Beeley

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One of many Blackbirds at Beeley. Some of apparent Continental appearance.

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Fieldfare-Beeley 

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Starling-Beeley

As last week had a Nuthatch, although we had seen one at Hornsea Mere early in the year it’s a very hard bird to see in East Yorkshire. As the light faded gave up just hoping it wouldn’t be seen in the last light when it was too late to get back.

The rest of the week, although I’ve only been out with the dog, hasn’t been too bad. On Wednesday, while waiting to go to Derbyshire had had a garden tick in the form of a Peregrine over. On Thursday had a Kingfisher by the drain behind Station Road but flew off over gardens as I was getting the camera ready. Nearby I had a Grey Wagtail on rough field off Dunswell Road. Finally on Friday had a male Blackcap in the back garden.

The Dusky Thrush wasn’t seen on Thursday and Friday. I did think the thrushes were down on Wednesday so maybe it had moved on. Alternatively, with several birds of prey seen on both visits, maybe it’s luck had run out. However reappeared on Saturday morning so maybe this isn’t the last time I write about it?

Barmston/Fraisthorpe

8 Dec

8/12/16 Started Thursday morning with RL and ML at Hornsea Mere. Three Long-tailed Ducks and a Smew had been reported on Monday. With the Watton NR likely to have frozen over seems likely the Smew was from there. It hasn’t been reported at either sites since. With the clearing heavy rain it was visibility rather than the sun that made viewing difficult. Again we had nothing scarce so moved on to Bewholme Hall. Good numbers of Wigeon and Teal by the pond. Had a look for geese in the Skipsea area. A good flock near The Lakes at Far Grange but were all Greylags but did have a male Marsh Harrier over. Had look at the sea first from Atwick caravan park. where we had a few Red-throated Divers, then Ulrome and finally Barmston. Had a Purple Sandpiper on the rocks below the car park, joined by a Turnstone. fullsizeoutput_1aa5

Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone on rocks below Barmston car park

Headed north hoping for the Kumlien’s Gull. My first scope of distant gulls on the beach found the intermittently report Hooded Crow with Carrion Crows just beyond. A year tick at least. I had talked about going for the Masked Wagtail in south Wales today, which currently wouldn’t even be a year tick [unless you subscribe to the UK500 taxonomy]. Walking up had a circa forty Ringed Plover with a smaller number of Dunlin and a Sanderling. Eventually drew close to the Crows, now in fields just south of Fraisthorpe wind-farm. fullsizeoutput_1aa7

Hooded and Carrion Crow near Fraisthorpe wind-farm

Got a few photos although they would fly if we got too close. Also had a Marsh Harrier over. Walking back had the Hoodie again on the beach.fullsizeoutput_1ab1

Hooded Crow on Barmston beach

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Rainbow over the sea off Barmston