Archive | American Birds RSS feed for this section

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].

dscn9924

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].

fullsizeoutput_12f4

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.

fullsizeoutput_1340

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.

fullsizeoutput_13cc

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.

fullsizeoutput_14b2

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].

fullsizeoutput_14dd

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].

dscn1882

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].

DSCN1971

Western Swamp-hen-Minsmere RSPB

September

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

fullsizeoutput_1945

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].

fullsizeoutput_19b4

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].

fullsizeoutput_1a8f

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].

fullsizeoutput_1e04

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

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

31 Jan

Sunday morning went to Barmston with JH. Met JS on the cliff top. Hadn’t seen the Kumlien’s Gull yet but had yet to check beach to the north where it usually was seen. Walked to where I could get a full view of the beach north of the caravan park but the tide was close to high and there were no gulls on the beach. However there was a good passage of Herring Gulls moving south so kept an eye them while also checking for birds on the sea. Only had a few Red-throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes. The gull movement slowed and was thinking about moving on when I noticed some agitation from two birders nearby. Was moving towards them as they called me. Quickly picked up the Kumlien’s flying over the beach from the the north. Went for my camera but aren’t too good at aerial shots so wasn’t expecting much.

DSCN9930

4th winter Kumlien’s Gull over Barmston beach.

Flew past us towards the outfall. Was glad to have seen it but had hoped for some better shots. Fortunately came back north and eventually settled on the beach were I got several better shots.

DSCN9915

4th winter Kumlien’s Gull-Barmston

Having got my fill checked the waders to the south. Nearly fifty Dunlin but only a few Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Sanderling and no sign of any Purple Sandpipers on the rocks.

Year list 108.

The Kumlien’s Gull was first seen in December 2012. Originally reported as a first winter Iceland Gull it’s dark appearance alerted birders, including Martin Garner, [sad to learn Martin is no longer around to share his knowledge] to the possibility of it being a Kumlien’s. This was confirmed on it’s return in December 2013. There was no sign of it the following winter but a 3rd winter Iceland Gull was seen at Barmston around Easter. This proved elusive but I had a bird fitting the description at Hornsea Mere on 12th April. It was distant but I was left with the feeling “Why isn’t this the Kumlien’s?”.

DSCN6346

3w Iceland Gull at Hornsea Mere-12/4/15 

Worth noting that this time of year, as both a 1st and 2nd winter, the Kumlien’s had showed bleached primaries and wasn’t readily split from an Iceland Gull [see here]. Finally this year it was seen at Hornsea Mere on Kirkholme Point on the afternoon of Sunday 19th January. Annoyingly I’d been at other end at Wassand Hide all morning but had decided to head to Tophill Low NR early afternoon. Checked Barmston the following Sunday and then Tuesday morning so today was third time lucky.

Here are some better pictures taken last week by Tony Dixon.Kumlien's Gull 001

Kumlien’s Gull at Barmton-Tony Dixon

Kumlien's Gull 005

Headed for Hornsea Mere late morning. Checked the fields near Skirlington Market where I’d seen a White-fronted Goose and five Pink-footed Geese with Greylags on Tuesday but no sign today.

DSCN9894

Greylag Geese near Skirlington Market-26/1/16-with White-fronted Goose [above] and Pink-footed Geese [below].

DSCN9890

Had a drake Goosander off Kirkholme Point, my first this year, but couldn’t find anything else, not helped by the heavy drizzle.

DSCN9938

Drake Goosander off Kirkholme Point, Hornsea Mere

Year list 109.

Decided to head for Tophill Low NR instead of Wassand Hide.

Refound the drake Scaup seen yesterday then headed south. A Little Egret was showing well on North Lagoon but no surprise after seeing 19 of them nearby north of High Eske NR on Monday.

DSCN9944

Little Egret on North Lagoon, Tophill Low NR.

Saw nothing else of note but missed a drake Pintail on Watton NR. Had a look for Woodcock behind the old centre but gave up because of heavy drizzle. Lack of any recent interesting gulls didn’t encourage us to hang on till dusk.

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.

DSCN5538

Waxwings-Finkle Street Cottingham

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

DSCN5921

Wallcreeper-Riglos-Spain 

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.

DSCN6841

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.

DSCN7124

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.

DSCN8187

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.

DSCN9069

Star-wort moth

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

DSCN9954

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.

DSCN0718

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!

DSCN1358

Juvenile Ivory Gull-Patrington Haven

New York-Last Day-Lower Manhattan.

11 Sep

Lacking time to go up town and also 23 June was very hot and we were feeling tired so just had walk into Lower Manhattan on our last day.

Image

City Hall-unfortunately post 9/11 access and therefore viewing is restricted.

Image

Grey Squirrel in City Hall park. Unfortunately like many New York parks it is used by vagrants making you feel uncomfortable about staying around too long.

Image

Can’t remember the exact site just like this picture.

IMG_0361

African Burial Grounds-Wanted to visit this site but was too tired to map read and just stumbled across it. In the early days of the city, African people, both slaves and free, had to be buried outside the city walls. With the expansion of the city the burials were disturbed and the remains were re-interred along with a memorial.

IMG_0362 IMG_0363 IMG_0364 IMG_0365

The above are symbols on the memorial which had meaning to the various tribal groups shipped from Africa to America as slaves.

IMG_0366 IMG_0367

A floral tribute on one of the re-burial mounds. Had my last American Robin in flight here. To me the bird of New York.

IMG_0368

New York Supreme Court-My last photo in New York.

Tried to visit the large Buddhist temple on our way back to our hotel but weren’t made welcome.

Never thought I’d visit this great city and when I did make plans to go it was to accompany a relative and I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. However although I’m not a city person I had a great time. If I did it again I’d make more time and plan what I’d want see in the the museums and galleries. Also I try to do some more serious birding in Central Park and spend a full day at Jamaica Bay Refuge.

Bird list for the trip

Double-crested Cormorant

Black-crowned Night-heron

Snowy Egret

Great White Egret

Glossy Ibis

Mute Swan

Canada Goose

Mallard

American Oystercatcher

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull

American Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Common Tern

Least Tern

American Black Skimmer

Osprey

Rock Dove

Mourning Dove

Chimney Swift

Eastern Kingbird

Tree Swallow

Barn Swallow

Blue Jay

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Cedar Waxwing

European Starling

Yellow Warbler

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Grackle

Baltimore Oriole

House Sparrow

New York-Day 6+7-June 21+22-American Museum of Natural History and Jamaica Bay Refuge.

6 Sep


On Friday 21 June visited the American Museum of Natural History. Very easy to get there as you can access directly from the subway station. However then followed a lot of queuing, the cause discovered as we reached the paying desk. Instead of just paying your money and going in you have to specify which extra paid for exhibitions  you want to see and this takes time. Getting in we had to quickly navigate to our 1st “extra”. This was the planetarium where we had a very good show voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. Next was a film on how the migration of the Monarch butterfly was worked out. Although very interesting it was just like watching a nature documentary on the big screen. Then had time to look round the early human history then geology section. Our final “extra” was the frogs. Very enjoyable picking out a perfusion of multi-coloured amphibians often well hidden. Got into a conversation with a member of staff. Very interesting but ate into the diminishing time left to see the rest of the exhibits. Rushed round the fossil exhibits. Here my English reserve broke down and I took some photos, mainly to show to my niece who had moved on to San Francisco.

IMG_0347 IMG_0349 IMG_0348 IMG_0350 IMG_0351 IMG_0353

Finally had a rushed look at the bird dioramas before the museum closed. Went into Central Park but felt we’d finally had enough of crowds.

On Saturday 22 June, our last full day, took the subway to West Bay and Jamaica Bay Refuge. Good to get away from the crowds and do some proper birding. Between the station and the reserve had a small flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Simular to my experience in Florida found the volunteers in the centre of little help regarding what was about.

DSCN8230

Cedar Waxwing were present in good numbers despite being listed as uncommon in summer in the refuge bird list.

DSCN8219

A surprise new bird was Tree Swallow [below] which breeds in good numbers in boxes around the reserve [above].

DSCN8223

DSCN8207

The breeding pair of Osprey [below] were a star attraction on the refuge. Interesting to see the nest with New York behind [above].

DSCN0313

DSCN8224

Great White Heron

Other birds seen were:-

Laughing Gull

Glossy Ibis

Great Black-backed Gull

Black-crowned Night-heron

Starling

Barn Swallow

Red-winged Blackbird

Snowy Egret

American Herring Gull

Mute Swan

Common Grackle

Canada Goose

American Oystercatcher

Least Tern American

Black Skimmer

Double-crested Cormorant

Yellow Warbler

Common Tern

American Robin

DSCN8225

Cactus flowers

Also several butterflies but only managed to photo one [below]. Currently not named.

DSCN8226

Walking back to the station had a Gray Catbird, another new bird. Continued to the end of the line. As an original Ramones fan had to pay homage to Rockaway Beach.

IMG_0354

IMG_0357

Rockaway Beach.

Timed our train back unfortunately to coincide was the mass exodus from the beach and ended up in a packed train but at least our fellow traveller were for several stops exclusively young enough to be my kids!

IMG_0358

For our last night had a great meal in Little Italy.

New York-Day 5- June 20th

17 Aug

Went to McSorley’s Old Ale House on Thursday. The Oldest bar in New Yorks and a real “spit and sawdust” pub.

Image

Image

Famous for putting down 2 glasses beer for every one you order. Literally had sawdust on the floor.

Image

Liked this beaver plaque in a subway station.

Did the Metropolitan Art Museum  in the afternoon. Really didn’t have time to do it justice. If I returned I would take a full day and plan the route I took. As it was we just raced around. Hadn’t seen much work by the old masters before and managed to see pictures by most of the famous names but unfortunately little of their best works. Unfortunately failed to see anything by Salvador Dali.Image

View from the museum roof top cafe. Saw my only Chimney Swift from here.

Had another look round Central Park early evening.

Image

Grey Squirrels including dark morph [below]

Image

DSCN8194

Walter Scott statue

DSCN8195

William Shakespeare statue

DSCN8197

American Robin. Always worth a picture.

DSCN8199
After glimpsing one yesterday got a shot of an Eastern Kingbird today.
e
DSCN8187

Blue Jay with Peanut

IMG_0345

“Enemies united” statue.

IMG_0343

Apple Store entrance. Had to queue to get in via the elevator so didn’t go in.

New York-Day 4-June 19

31 Jul

Image

The plaque in the garden commemorating the Commonwealth victims on 9/11. Although the main 9/11 memorial is pristine local workers us this garden for a fag [cigarette] break as witnessed by the discarded tab ends.

Image

Plaque remembering the American fallen of the Vietnam war. One of the good things Harold Wilson PM did was keep the UK out of this one.

Image

The main Vietnam memorial. Some very moving inscriptions including passages from letters written home by GIs.

Took the Staten Island Ferry mainly for the Statue of Liberty

DSCN8139 IMG_0313

Manhattan from Staten Island Ferry.

IMG_0316

Ferry berthed at Staten Island

DSCN8144

DSCN8163

Another Staten Island Ferry going the other way

Had a look round the National Museum of the American Indian in the 1907 Custom House. A very good exhibition and free. I am English and we don’t take pictures in museums but took a few of the building.

IMG_0319

 Christopher Columbus in 1907 Custom House-rather poignant considering it now houses the American Indian Museum.

IMG_0320

Interior of 1907 Custom House

IMG_0321

Street performers near Brooklyn Bridge. Very entertaining but didn’t have the time to watch the full act.

IMG_0324

Started walking across Brooklyn Bridge but very busy and hoardings, due to maintenance  work, blocked the view of the actual river crossing so turned back.

IMG_0326

Brooklyn bridge

IMG_0327

Beekman Building. Interesting architecture as from some angles looks like it been “bent” by a collision . A bit weird when so close to the 9/11 site.

Did a rather pointless “Lonely Planet” tour of film locations this afternoon, including Holly Golightly’s apartment then had another quick walk through Central Park where I added Eastern Kingbird to the trip list.

DSCN8178

Common Grackle-Central Park.

IMG_0334

Chocolate statue for a same sex wedding.