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Great White Egret and other stuff at Tophill Low NR

2 Aug

2/8/17 I haven’t been to Tophill Low NR for a few weeks but with rain forecast it seemed a good place to be. Despite the title the big white heron wasn’t too important as I had seen one there in May, which despite their increasing occurrence was my first for almost three years and even longer at this site. More interesting was the report of Spotted Flycatcher at Hempholme Meadows yesterday. They had bred in O Wood but I hadn’t managed to see them there. However no sign up there but did see a Ruddy Darter on the way up and photographed some Little Gulls on the straight wall walking back [had counted at least 12 earlier from the visitor centre].

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Ruddy Darter at Tophill Low NR near “top hide”.

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Little Gulls at Tophill Low NR on D res wall.

Also no Kingfishers but had one walking past South Lagoon.

 

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Red Admiral at Tophill Low NR wildlife garden.

Headed to South Marsh East where the big egret had been earlier, as well as a variety of waders. No sign of the Great but several of it’s Little cousins.

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Little Egret at Tophill Low on South Marsh East.

Also a couple of Black-tailed Godwit and few Green Sandpiper but no sign of the Wood Sandpiper. The Lapwing regularly got up, as is their habit, taking other waders and some Little Gulls with them.

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Green Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East.

Headed for the back-2-back hide in the hope that the missing two would be seen from there but got diverted to Watton NR where as expected an unidentified ‘stint’ was a Dunlin. Nice to see Common Terns feeding young though.

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 Common Terns at Tophill Low NR on Watton NR.

Had a look from L-shaped hide where as often moths provided more interest than bird.

Agonopterix alstromeriana, Copper Underwing and Mouse Moth at Tophill Low NR in L-shaped Hide

Back at South Marsh East where I had just missed the Wood Sandpiper but the Great White flew into view.

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Great white Egret at Tophill Low on South Marsh East.

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Goosander at Tophill Low on South Marsh East.

Back round to the first hide and the Wood Sandpiper was showing but distant. Having opened the visitor centre and with no one else around to past the task on to I went up there with the hope of locking up and going but a had a steady stream of customers. No problem though just made myself a cup of tea and rigged up a ‘scope to show those interested a Little Gull. At least I’ve gone some of my way to paying for my annual permit!

 

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.

Winter wildfowl at High Eske NR

27 Oct

25/10/16 Tuesday was a frustrating day. In a the morning a mobile Pine Bunting was seen at  Spurn Point finally long enough to identify at Westmere Farm before flying off never to be seen again. A bogey bird for me. Then early afternoon a probable Eastern Black Redstart was reported at Easington cemy. Had seen one on Holy Island in November 2011 but missed the Scalby bird in late in 2014.

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Eastern Black Redstart-Holy Island

Decided to go to Welton Waters so as not to waste the day hanging around but not too difficult to twitch from if confirmed. Unfortunately it was after dark before further news. In the meantime had a fairly quiet afternoon. As of recently Welton Water was a disappointment although as it was still mild I had a few Common Darter.dscn3314

Common Darter near Brough Angling Complex

Walked the full circuit of the pits which meant I got back to the airfield near dusk. On the section of foreshore visible near the airfield I added five Bar-tailed Godwits to the Black-tailed I’d seen earlier as well as two Dunlin. Further on I found to Stonechat roosting in the reeds, a year tick. By this time the Starlings were pouring into the Brough Airfield Marsh reeds. I am useless with anything over a few hundred but met GD coming the other way. having followed the murmuration from North Cave Wetlands, and we agree there were ten of thousands. Unfortunately he’d missed the two Marsh Harriers that had cause some excitement among the Starlings earlier.

27/10/16 Tuesday seems to have been the last blast of the the current east coast migrate extravaganza which was a bit of a relief as I wasn’t feeling to good on Wednesday however on Thursday I felt fit enough to go to High Eske NR mid afternoon. I’d had a solitary Whooper Swan there at dusk on Sunday so wasn’t surprised to see it among the Greylags feeding in the fields as I walked down from High Eske Farm.fullsizeoutput_1a31

Whooper Swan with feral Greylag-High Eske Farm

They all flew onto the borrow pit as I passed then later to fields just south of Leven Canal. Other than the geese the wildfowl number are still low with only Tufted Duck reaching over a hundred with the rest barely in double figures. A redhead Goosander was new in and there were now three Goldeneye. I’d had thirteen Russian White-fronted Geese during the big goose movement mid month. Walked the perimeter but added little then headed to Leven Canal. Passing the goose flock found the single Pink-footed Goose that is currently with them. Had little on Leven Carrs so headed back south to check the pit before it got too dark. Surprised to see the Whooper on it’s own back at the farm then onto the pit. In the fading light was pleased to see a Long-tailed Duck, only my second for the site in thirty years.fullsizeoutput_1a30

Long-tailed Duck in the dark-High Eske NR

Had a few Little Egrets flying in. Didn’t equal the eight from Sunday, all from the south, but did see that they were dropping in at the turtle pool.dscn3330

Sunset at High Eske NR

Geese at Hornsea Mere and Tophill Low NR

23 Oct

21/10/16 Started Saturday in the Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide [check here for access details] with RL and ML. Plenty of geese flying about but too distant to ID. Also no sign of the Slavonian Grebe seen this morning [or Black-necked Grebe seen yesterday]. RL did find a redhead Goosander though. Moved round to Kirkholme Point. A few birders present but they had nothing to report. However I quickly picked out a Tundra Bean Goose with the Greylags just offshore followed by a Pink-footed Goose. fullsizeoutput_1a1d

Tundra Bean Goose off Kirkholme Point at Hornsea Mere

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Pink-footed Goose off Kirkholme Point at Hornsea Mere

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 Goosander off Kirkholme Point at Hornsea Mere

Later seven Tundra Bean Geese were reported in flight and two Slavonian Grebes off Swan Island presumably seen from the south shore. Moved to Atwick to check for migrants near the church. Found nothing but I kept walking north and had a Chiffchaff at the SSE gas terminal.

Checked the geese at Skirlington market pond but only feral Greylags.

Spent the afternoon at Tophill Low NR. Started in car park hide and had three Whooper Swans at the far end of D reservoir. dscn3251

Distant Whooper Swans on D res at Tophill Low NR

Moved on the Watton NR where we had two Tundra Bean Geese, seven Russian White-fronts and four Pinkfeet. fullsizeoutput_1a1a

Two Tundra Bean Geese with two Pink-footed Geese on Watton NR at Tophill Low NR

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Family party of Russian White-fronted Geese on Watton NR at Tophill Low NR

The Beans and three Pinks flew north late afternoon. Had a Common Darter in South Scrub and several more with a Migrant Hawker later near South Lagoon. Had twenty-two Siskin in the Alders by the lagoons on the way back.

Geese at North Cave Wetlands

19 Oct

19/10/16 There has been a good arrival of Geese in the last flew days with large numbers of White-fronted and Pink-footed Geese and smaller numbers of Bean Geese. Caught up with thirteen White-fronts at High Eske NR on Saturday at High Eske NR at dusk then eighty-two at Hornsea Mere on Tuesday.fullsizeoutput_19f9

Russian White-fronted Geese at Hornsea Mere.

The latter included four with neck collars, including at least one radio-tagged in Russia [with the current cold war atmosphere I’m surprised it wasn’t detained at the borders. This may seen a joke but similar things have happen to radio-tagged raptors in the Middle East]. Anyway North Cave Wetlands has done well with all three wild geese species although on Tuesday there were no Beans. Went myself Tuesday morning. Initially could only see Greylags on Village Lake. There was a lot of movement and heard Pinkies but only located a couple on the ground when I went round to East Hide.

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Pink-footed Geese with Greylags on Village Lake-North Cave Wetlands

There was talk of Bar-headed Goose but the nearest thing I could see was a Barnacle Goose hybrid. Looked through the Snipe on there and Island Lake and counted an impressive thirty-eight but couldn’t find any Jacks. Several Jack Snipe seem to be inhabiting the inaccessible area in the middle of the reserve. Apart from the Snipe and Lapwing the only other waders were a few Redshank and seven Curlew flying over. A Green Woodpecker flew up from near reedbed and sat on a post for several minutes. fullsizeoutput_1a03

Green Woodpecker near reedbed-North Cave Wetlands

A couple of Common Darter were still on the wing along the western path.

Had three of six Egyptian Geese on the silt lagoon as well as more dubious Black Swan.fullsizeoutput_1a0e

Egyptian Goose [above] and Black Swan [below] on Silt Lagoon-North Cave Wetlands

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Migrants

11 Oct

9/10/16 Started Sunday morning with RL and ML looking for a Yellow-browed Warbler at Paull church [see here]. No luck but had a few Chiffchaff including one singing. Also a few Redwing.

Next headed for Atwick but report of a possible Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler in the potato field at Spurn Point made us retrace our route then continue to Kilnsea. Parking near Crown and Anchor there was no sign of any real interest so just walked the road east. Good numbers of Robin. Also had a Redstart in the hedgerow  where I’d seen the Masked Shrike as well as my first Fieldfare of the autumn.

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Fieldfare-Kilnsea-RL

Next walked Beacon Lane. Had  small flock of Brambling.

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Brambling-Beacon Lane, Kilnsea-RL

Also a acrocephalus warbler but couldn’t make it anything other than Reed.

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Reed Warbler-Beacon Lane, Kilnsea-RL

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Chiffchaff-Beacon Lane, Kilnsea-RL 

Back at Bluebell Corner several Goldcrest were showing well in weeds.

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Goldcrest-Bluebell Corner, Kilnsea

Got back to the car as the Olive-backed Pipit was reported again along Vicars Lane. Showed well eventually, at close range behind the gas terminal fence although it made photography awkward.

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Olive-backed Pipit-Vicars Lane, Easington

Went into Easington but there was no further sign of the Pallas’s Warbler behind White Horse Inn. Headed to the cemetery where a Firecrest had been seen. No sign of it but had a nice male Red-breasted Flycatcher.

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Male Red-breasted Flycatcher-Easington Cemetery-RL 

10/10/16 Monday out again with RL. Started at Hornsea Mere. Nothing of note although there was a solitary Pink-footed Goose on Kirkholme Point.

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Pink-footed Goose-Hornsea Mere on Kirkholme Point.

Checked the trees around Atwick churchyard where a Blackcap and a few Redwing and Goldcrest were the best of it. At Far Grange added a Chiffchaff. Finally after a look on D reservoir had a look for migrants at Tophill Low NR. Found nothing but with the continuing mild weather there were still plenty of dragonflies on the wing.dscn3130

Migrant Hawker-Tophill Low NR

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Common Darter-Tophill Low NR

Little Stint at High Eske NR

15 Aug

15/8/15 Monday the moth trap catch was again poor with only Canary-shouldered Thorn of interest.

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Canary-shouldered Thorn-Cottingham

With nothing to detain me got to High Eske NR reasonably early. Hopefully less hectic than last visit. The water level was low and the summer islands were showing. At one time these islands were above water most of the summer and Common Tern bred but due to winter erosion and higher water levels in recent wet summers they only appear occasionally. An initial scan only found a juvenile Common Tern, with likely one of its parents on a nearby post. Started checking the wildfowl. Found a possible Garganey but it was asleep. Getting tired of watching it I scanned the islands again and quickly found a juvenile Little Stint with a Ringed Plover.

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Juvenile Little Stint with Ringed Plover-High Eske NR

The only my previous record of Little Stint, I recall, was during the influx in 1996. In fact this is my first record since one on Swine moor in September 2014. No hope of one there currently as the site dried out last week.

Walked north to Leven Carrs as I hadn’t checked it last week. Nothing doing so walked back south and around the western NR path.

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Southern Hawker-High Eske NR

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Ringed Plover with Lapwing-High Eske NR

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High Eske NR ‘summer islands’ from western path.

The Little Stint and Ringed Plover were still on the island now joined by two Dunlin and  a Common Sandpiper flew in.

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Little Stint, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper-High Eske NR

A Sparrowhawk got the Lapwing up but the other waders stayed put and were all present when I left mid afternoon.

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Common Carpet moth-High Eske NR