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Alkborough Flats

3 Aug

2/8/16 After yesterday’s excursion [see here] had a late start on Tuesday and didn’t get out until mid afternoon. Again over the bridge but this time only as far as Alkborough Flats. The aim was Spoonbill, having missed them there and at Blacktoft Sands RSPB early this year. A bit windy on the road to the bridge but was due south so wasn’t a problem crossing. In Alkborough went to Julian’s Bower where you can get a panoramic view of the Flats.

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Julian’s Bower maze-Alkborough

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Alkborough Flats from Julian’s Bower

I’ll let the information board explain what this place is.

DSCN2004 Anyway the Spoonbills were visible and noticing there was a short footpath directly to the Flats decided to lock up and walk down.

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Spoonbills on Alkborough Flats distantly from Julian’s Bower

Had a Snout moth along the path down, the first I’ve managed to photograph this year.

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Snout moth-Alkborough

Reaching the low level hide all 14 Spoonbills were on views but asleep.

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All 14 Spoonbills at Alkborough Flats

Also a similar number of Little Egret. Among the larger number of Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Avocet were a Spotted Redshank and 7 Ruff.

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Spotted Redshank with Black-tailed Godwit-Alkborough Flats

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Male Ruff with Redshank-Alkborough Flats

The Spoonbills did eventually put on a show when a few started playing with a probable reed rhizome.

DSCN2037Also had a Kingfisher flew by. Moving to the tower hide added Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Water Rail.

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Water rail-Alkborough Flats

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Greenshank-Alkborough Flats

A trip to the other side-Spoonbills +Grayling

4 Aug

After my afternoon out with RL on Tuesday I struggle to get out the rest of the week due to pressure of work.

30/7/15 Manage to get up to Nut Wood & Wauldby Scrogs Woodlands Trust reserve early Thursday evening. Always hard work for birds and this time was no different but did photograph an interesting hoverfly- Scaeva pyrastri . A migratory species that arrives in variable number but in some years none.

DSCN8469Scaeva pyrastri-Nut Wood & Wauldby Scrogs

1/8/15 Find East Yorkshire too frenetic during the school holidays and last summer found North Lincolnshire much quieter [both birders and non-birders] and spent a lot of time at
. Like having Blacktoft Sands RSPB to yourself. Saturday was a better day at work and with several Spoonbill at Alkborough Flats head there mid afternoon. Started raining along the the Humber Bridge approach and had to decide whether to stop and put over trousers on or continue with the hope that it was just a shower. Kept going and the rain was short lived. Didn’t fancy walking too much so went to the disabled car park. The last bit involves a steep decline and on a bike you have to be aware of the loose gravel at the bottom. Managed to see the Spoonbills before I got to the hide so knew the journey was worthwhile. Initially so close to the hide that they were partially obscured by vegetation but everything was regularly disturbs by a Hobby hunting low over the lagoon and they became more lively and even took flight a few times.

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Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats

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Eventually they settle to feed.

Large numbers of Avocet on site. Up to 900 counted recently and think close that number were on the whole site.DSCN8485

Large number of Avocets at Alkborough Flats.

Others waders include good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and few Spotted Redshanks, Ruff and Green Sandpiper. Also several Water Rail “squeaking” unseen below the hide.

The heavy rain finally arrived but in a break I made it to the tower hide where it started up again even heavier. Not much to add to the day but had some close Little Egrets.

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Little Egrets-Alkborough Flats

Only on viewing my pictures did I notice one was colour ringed but couldn’t make out the details.

Also saw the Barnacle Geese that breed on Whitton Sands but, possibly due to the poor light, not the Ruddy Shelduck seen recently [and last summer].

The rain finally stopped and I made a hasty return to the car park. Fortunately stayed dry on the way home.

Getting in had a message from SG that a Glossy Ibis was on Brough Airfield. The first record for the site. Getting late and didn’t think I’d have much time before the light went but tiredness also helped the decision.

2/8/15 The Glossy Ibis was seen again early morning and went to look for it with RL but despite spending over two hours circling the marsh there was no further sign even with the help of Dave Hursthouse. In the past have kept to public rights of way  but local dog-walkers show no problem trespassing so see no reason birders should be so law abiding anymore. Such behaviour would have brought a rapid response from BAE security a few years ago but they seem to no-longer care.

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Cinnabar moth caterpillar-Brough

Early afternoon went to Conesby Quarry with ML and RL. This site is north of Scunthorpe along Normandy Road. Parked outside Blue Lagoon NR and crossed the road. The target was Grayling butterfly. Not an initially appealing site not helped by the gypsy camp early on. Also the sound of motorcycle engines was off putting. Joined by the couple I got the information from yesterday and learnt that noise was actually the Scunthorpe Speedway Stadium. However this wasn’t the only source as there were several dirt-biker including one who took pleasure in repeatedly buzzing us at high speed. Others give us verbal abuse. Not an area I’d visit on my own. Also on week days there are regular HGV’s as the concrete railway sleepers for London Cross-rail project are made at the factory by the quarry.

Initially lead astray by Meadow Browns.

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Meadow Brown-Conesby Quarry

On reaching the quarry the Graylings found us, visiting each of us in turn for minerals from sweat.

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Cryptic Grayling-Conesby Quarry

Also found a new moth for me. Gillmeria ochrodactyla and G.pallidactyla are only reliably separated by present or not of banding on the hind-leg tibia. Can’t do this from the photo but being on Tansy make the former more likely.

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Likely Tansy Plume on food plant

Vipers Bugloss  near Scunthorpe 020815a RL

Vipers Bugloss-Conesby Quarry-RL

Went on to Alkborough Flats.

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Peacock butterfly caterpillar-Alkborough Flats

The last high tide has been a big one and the site had flooded. Five of the Spoonbills were again present but waders numbers were low.

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Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats-showing increase in water level since Saturday.

Had a Kingfisher flying close to the hide. Also an immature Marsh Harrier, that had been surprisingly missing from yesterday’s list. Didn’t see the Montagu’s Harriers, breeding at Blacktoft Sands RSPB, but haven’t been seen as often as last year.

DSCN8600Marsh Harrier-Alkborough Flats