Archive | American Birds RSS feed for this section

Shag at East Park, Hull

17 Dec

17/12/18 Apart from twitching the Royal Tern on Anglesey last Tuesday the only birding I’ve done recently had been locally with the dog.

fullsizeoutput_246f

Royal Tern-Traeth Lligwy, Anglesey

fullsizeoutput_2472

Raven-Traeth Lligwy, Anglesey

This doesn’t mean I don’t get to see much, as a Little Egret has been seen on the north side of Cottingham a few times recently with another lingering in fields north of Springhead GC. Even better last Wednesday managed to see Peregrine, Merlin, Little Owl and Green Woodpecker.

This morning the dog wasn’t interested in going out so with a Shag in Hull at East Park Lake since at least late last week and the weather better, got out on the bike for the first time in a while. From the feeding area [although ‘feeding’ is no longer encouraged] the bird was visitable and although the guy I spoke to seemed to think it was a Cormorant, on closer inspection it was clearly an immature Shag.

fullsizeoutput_247a

First winter Shag-East Park Lake, Hull

fullsizeoutput_247f

Goosander-East Park Lake, Hull

A few Goosander were also in the area and after getting a few pictures set off round the lake to count them. Thirty had been reported earlier and my count was in the same ball park.

DSCN8898

Black-headed Gull-East Park Lake, Hull

Didn’t see them myself but of interest Jay and Mistle Thrush are on site.

Advertisements

Green-winged Teal [eventually] at North Cave Wetlands

30 Jan

28/1/18 I had just started out with the dog on Sunday morning when the Green-winged Teal was reported at North Cave Wetlands. I have seen a few there and they have become almost annual at North Cave, although missed the last one in January 2017. Unfortunately I was on a tight schedule as I was going out for lunch so didn’t even have time for our usual walk. I could have turned back and headed straight there but as Green-winged Teal can be tricky to see I decided to continue with the walk.

29/1/18 Monday morning was wet and didn’t stop raining until lunchtime. With no news from North Cave and the dog needing to go out anyway we headed for the park. Walking the bushes at the edge of Millbeck Wildlife area heard a familiar finch call. Initially could only see Greenfinch in the tree tops but then located the expected Siskin. At least seven birds including a few nice males. Unfortunately they were tricky to see and only got one shot of a drab female.

fullsizeoutput_21d7

♀ Siskin in Millbeck Wildlife area, Cottingham

Had seen a flock near Cottingham GC entrance ten days back, near enough to be the same flock, but the area isn’t in my Patchwork Challenge Cottingham area so today’s sighting was an patch year tick. Continued our regular walk as far as Lawns Farm. Nothing we hadn’t seen recently but getting back to Millbeck Wildlife area, near dusk, had a Green Woodpecker then the resident Barn Owl showing, my first sight of it there this year.

30/1/18 Again nothing from North Cave early Tuesday and although I tried to sneak out but ended up going out with the dog. This time across the fields south to Haltemprice Farm, the centre of my Willerby Carrs patch. The pair of Stonechat were still around the farm ruin.

fullsizeoutput_21e9

♂ Stonechat at Haltemprice Farm, Willerby

A Shelduck was the only unusual bird on the flood scheme, but had seen two there recently. Next walked the drain by Abbey Lane. Had seen a Grey Wagtail regularly late last year but hadn’t so far this year, although it had been photographed by a friend recently.

fullsizeoutput_21ab

Grey Wagtail along Abbey Lane, Willerby-9/12/17

No sign of the wagtail but a few Reed Bunting were in the area.

fullsizeoutput_21e5

Reed Bunting along Abbey Lane, Willerby

fullsizeoutput_21e7

Walking back the Green-winged Teal was reported back at North Cave. Didn’t exactly rush but didn’t dawdle the rest of the way back. Not exactly warm in the winter sun this morning but it was now clouding up and getting colder. Still judged it wouldn’t be too cold on the bike but wouldn’t do the full reserve so I could get away before sunset. On arrival met AA leaving and learned the Teal was still showing on Island Lake. Getting there saw JH leaving. Joked him about not picking me up. Went back in the hide with me and I was soon viewing the Teal, although pretty distant in the south west corner. Got a few shots anyway.

fullsizeoutput_21d8

♂ Green-winged Teal on Island Lake, North Cave Wetlands.

 

With nothing else of interest on the lake moved to the other side of the hide to look for the Ruff on Village Lake. No sign so rejoined JH in East Hide. Eventually located the Ruff among some Redshank I’d not seen earlier. Also had a female Marsh Harrier low over the lake, but it wasn’t a year tick although, reflecting my lack of ‘real’ birding so far this year, the Little Grebe it flushed was.

2017 in 12 pictures

2 Jan

Intro

The beginning of the year was interesting, reflexed in the number of posts, but in contrast to 2016 there was a very poor return wader passage followed by a predominance of westerly winds leading to little interest on the Yorkshire coast then winter has, so far, been very poor for rarer wildfowl. Thus the blog has been quiet the second half of the year. I have not posted in Cottingham Moths this year. I started but due to technical problems lost the first post and never bothered starting again. It was a poor year anyway but a few highlights will feature below. I hope to start again next year, maybe with a different approach.

January

Although not a great picture this shot of the male Hooded Merganser at Barr Loch, Renfrewshire on the 21st was a desperate tick for me. Only seen two previous but the first in Nottinghamshire [can’t remember the date!] was an obvious escape on first site, the second at Scaling Dam, Cleveland felt more reliable initially but was quickly deemed an escape also. Always a tricky one to judge but this one had been around a few weeks and hadn’t given any reason to be damned. Also having arrived in late 2016 I only had to wait 9 months for the BBRC to deem it kosher.

DSCN4141

Drake Hooded Merganser-Barr Loch,Renfrewshire-21/1/17

February

In a fairly quiet month February I go for a mammal in a Short-tailed Field Vole at Raywell. See here for the full account.

fullsizeoutput_1e69

Short-tailed Field Vole-Wauldby Scrogs, Raywell

March

Two close contenders for this month but as one appears in the”top ten viewed posts” for the year I will go for the male Pine Bunting at Dunnington near York. One of my bogey birds having had untickable views of one in South Yorkshire and missed another at Filey after it was flushed by a dog then for the fields to be shut, like much of the country, because of Foot and Mouth. Originally saw the bird in January, a few days after it had been found, on the way back from the Hooded Merganser. Wasn’t too happy with the views, in fact wondered whether I should have counted my first unticked bird, but a return visit 7th March provide much better views when it showed regularly in a hedge with finches and buntings in good weather and to a smaller less excited crowd with no-one flushing the bird in an attempt to get the best shot.

fullsizeoutput_1e78

Male Pine Bunting-Dunnington, N.Yorks.

April

April was poor for birds so Shoulder Stripe moth caught on the 9th, a first for me, is this month’s picture

DSCN4549

Shoulder Stripe moth

May

Early 2017 was very good for white-winged gulls so with little else of note this month I go for the Iceland Gull that give great views at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point for a few weeks in May and June.

fullsizeoutput_1f25

Juvenile Iceland Gull-Hornsea Mere

June

Best bird this month was Black-browed Albatross at Bempton Cliffs RSPB. Missed one in October 2016, setting off too late for the Eastern Crowned Warbler, which was followed by several fly throughs but none lingering in 2016 before one on 28th June decided to hang on long enough for RL and I to make a less than hectic trip and despite it departing as we reached the cliff top gave us tickable but not photographical views. Also earlier in the months on the 11th saw Elegant Tern at Pagham Harbour which was beyond useful photographic range. Had seen one in Ireland at Lady’s Island Lake,Co.Wexford in July 1999 so a UK tick but as this one was previously ringed France also a known Elegant Tern. Had two new moths durning the month so the more photogenic, Scorched Wing is this month’s picture.

fullsizeoutput_1fa9

Scorched Wing moth

July

Probably the best month of 2017. My choice is the Pacific Golden Plover at North Cave Wetlands on 21st. A site tick and my first since the Brough Haven bird almost 17 years to the day. Full account here.

fullsizeoutput_204f

Pacific Golden Plover-North Cave Wetlands

August

This month’s picture is another moth [making up for not posting in Cottingham Moths this year!] This Magpie Moth was found in hedgerow north of Millbeck Wildlife area in Cottingham on 11th. A first for me and the Marsh Harrier that flew over at the same time was my first for the village.

fullsizeoutput_20d7

Magpie Moth-Cottingham

September

This month it’s the Ryhope Scops Owl. The Lewis American Redstart was the other candidate but the fact the owl was totally self twitched pushes it to the front. Full account here.

fullsizeoutput_212d

Scops Owl-Ryhope, Co.Durham

October

Although a let down compared with last year October still offered a few choices. If I’d got a picture of the Richardson’s Cackling Goose at Budle Bay, Northumberland, that would have been the obvious choice, but without the Great White Egret at High Eske NR is the the next best, being surprisingly my first for the site and only the second certain record despite the number of records just north at Tophill Low NR. First seen on the 3rd, the photograph was taken on the 7th. Found another at North Cave Wetlands on the 4th where the possibility of it being the same bird continuing south did cross my mind but but subsequent multiple sighting the area proved this unlikely. Only added the species to the latter site list on 24th September.

fullsizeoutput_213d

Great White Egret-R.Hull N.of High Eske NR.

November

This month it’s a Little Egret, not a rare bird but still an unusual bird to see in your local park. Taken on the 7th it was often seen along a drain by Millhouse Woods Lane Water Works in Cottingham until the freeze in early December [including some non birder fellow dog walkers]. Possibly a different bird was seen on the other side of the village in fields south of Haltemprice Farm in December.

DSCN6477

Little Egret-Millbeck Wildlife area, Cottingham

December

Little choice with the last one as the pair of Stonechat present in Willerby at Haltemprice Farm {Abbey} ruin since October were the only nature photographs I took this month. The species winter here most years. More here.

fullsizeoutput_21c1

Stonechat-Haltemprice Farm, Willerby

Top 10 posts of 2017 [viewing figures]

1. Birding from the new Tophill Low NR Visitors Centre

2. Scops Owl in Co.Durham

3. Eastern Lesser Whitethroat in Cottingham

4. Stejnegers Stonechat at Spurn Point From 2016 likely boosted by the Stonechat’s upgrade to full species from 2018

5. Scarborough A day of winter birding with plenty to see.

6. Pectoral Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR Another from 2016 reflecting the interest in the site. No Pec Sand in 2017!

7. Eastern Black Redstart in Skinningrove From the end of December 2017 so most of the interest was in early 2017.

8. Geese at Hornsea Mere

9. Great White Egret and other stuff at Tophill Low NR

10. Twitching Waxwing with Wilbur A dog-walk/twitch to Hull.

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