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Great White Egret at North Cave Wetlands

24 Sep

Last year at this time there were enough birds. particularly waders, locally to keep life interesting. So far this month it’s been hard going at my sites. Choose High Eske/Pulfin NR as my Patchwork Challenge site but so far it’s not pay off with many previously tied on birds not yet recorded. Added nothing this week despite visiting every other day. Nearby at Swine Moor it’s been slightly better finding a Garganey on the 21st.

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Garganey-Hornsea Mere

 

However the waders have been disappointing with just Ruff, peaking at 13, and the occasional Dunlin or Redshank.

Did Hornsea Mere on the 21st where a few Little Gulls were still around the jetties and my first returning Pintail off Swan Island.

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Little Gull at Kirkholme Point-Hornsea Mere

Also had two Bearded Tit briefly under Wassand Hide and a late Hobby nearby.

At Tophill Low NR on the 22nd only managed 2-3 Green Sandpiper with a Barnacle Goose [of unknown origin] on Watton NR.

On walk to Creykebeck substation with Wilbur on the 23rd was bit of a raptor-fest, the highlights being a Hobby hitting finches at Lawns Farm and Peregrine near Millhouse Woods Lane pumping station, although the latter may have had jesses.

Sunday morning I had planned to do Welton Waters in hope of seeing a few Bearded Tit. However got a text from SG about a Great White Egret at North Cave Wetlands. Not even a year tick but although there are a few previous records it would be a site tick for me. Didn’t panic though waiting for The Andrew Marr Show to end. Getting there the Egret had gone over the bank to the back of Main Lake. As distant as it was possible to be but did my best with the camera.

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Great White Egret on Main Lake-North Cave Wetlands

Some debate about whether it was the bird recently seen at Tophill Low NR [see here] but I remember the one I’d seen having pale legs when the current birds are almost black. There have been several records recently anyway including one at Hornsea Mere the same day I was last there. Moved on to Crosslands Hide, usually the best chance for waders, but was very quiet. In fact apart from Lapwing the only waders on site were the large number of Snipe on Island Lake and a brief Dunlin.

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Snipe on Island Lake-North Cave Wetlands

Had earlier seen a falcon, more likely Peregrine than Hobby, spooking everything off the north fields.

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Geese at Hornsea Mere

4 Feb

4/2/17 Went out with RL and ML early Saturday afternoon. Started at Swine Moor where there was still 1400 Wigeon and 260 Teal but again the only waders were a few Redshank. Next checked Fossehill Pond and nearby roofs but couldn’t find any white-winged gulls. Spent the rest of the day at Hornsea Mere. Started with Wassand Hide where on entering RL called out a Bittern, which we all managed to see before it dropped into the reeds. Had at least five Marsh Harrier, often giving close views.

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♀.Marsh Harrier from Wassand Hide at Hornsea Mere

I checked the distant ducks in Decoy channel and found two Long-tailed Ducks. While watching them a second Bittern flew in from the east and again lost it close to where the first had gone in. A second year tick was added when ML called out a Jay flying over. Next round to Kirkholme Point. Found nothing new but on leaving I saw some geese just past the gate.

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‘Goose stepping” Greylag with a Tundra Bean Goose and several Russian White-fronted Geese at  Hornsea Mere

On a closer inspection  we found, among the Greylags, 34 Russian White-fronts, then a Tundra Bean Goose with two Pink-footed Geese.

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Russian White-fronted Geese at Hornsea Mere

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Tundra Bean Goose with Russian White-fronted Goose at Hornsea Mere

Went round to Seaton Road Hide where ML found a close Long-tailed Duck followed by a second less well marked bird.

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Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere from Seaton Road Hide.

Although the original birds were distant it seemed likely these were different birds. Maybe because of the charm conditions the gull roost was very small.

Hornsea gulls

11 Jan

11/1/17 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL on Wednesday morning. Although windy viewing wasn’t too bad but couldn’t find the Great Northern Diver or Long-tailed Duck [see here]. Best of it was Peregrine lingering around Swan island and occasionally half-heartedly stooping at Black-headed Gulls. Moved round to Kirkholme Point where I found a Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull.

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Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull-Hornsea Mere

Moved to the sea-front where recently a few white-winged gulls had been seen. Picked out a Glaucous Gull on the sea off the Leisure Centre car park. Flew towards us then headed north. Went in hot pursuit and eventually, after been regularly flushed by dogs, it settled on the beach below the northern car park, remembered by long time local birders as previous site of the sea-watching shelter. Seemed happy and got close enough for some decent pictures.

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Juvenile Glaucous Gull-Hornsea sea-front

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Sanderling-Hornsea sea-front

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Turnstone-Hornsea sea-front

We headed north, checking the sea at a few sites, as far as Barmston but found nothing else. On the way up again failed to find any geese in the Low Skirlington area. Headed back south to Fosse Hill Pond where we added a first winter Mediterranean Gull as well as Kingfisher.

Year List: 93

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1w Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed Gull-Fosse Hill Pond

Finished the day back at Hornsea Mere hoping for another white-winged gull.

Great Northern Diver at Hornsea Mere

7 Jan

7/1/17 A Great Northern Diver was found on Hornsea Mere by JC mid morning. RL and I were planning to do the gulls there anyway and it was a site tick for ML so headed for Kirkholme Point early afternoon. A birder there had seen it recently but had lost track of it. We started looking with out luck and were about to give up and when I noticed an sudden disturbance among the ducks and Coot with no obvious cause. Thought it would be the diver so called the other two back and ML picked it up,close to where the birds had moved from. Came fairly close although the mist didn’t help but we all got satisfactory shots.

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Great Northern Diver at Hornsea Mere

Moved round to Seaton Road Hide to try and get the diver from there but failed. Had tried with out success to see the Long-tailed Ducks from Kirkholme Point and there was even less chance from the hide with the mist getting worse.

Year List: 77

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Mist over Hornsea Mere

No point doing the gull roost so left early but had time for our first look at Swine Moor in 2017. As in recent winters there was plenty of water. Counted 1600 Wigeon and 500 Teal.

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Wigeon on Swine Moor-RL

Also a large number of Lapwing with smaller sums of Redshank and single figures of Dunlin and Snipe; the latter a year tick.

Year List: 80

Glaucous Gull at Tophill Low NR

5 Jan

4/1/17 On Wednesday had a walk round Willerby Carrs with the dog. A few minor year ticks but the highlight was a Stonechat by Haltemprice Farm. Unfortunately mobile and difficult to get close to.

Year List: 66

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Stonechat at Haltemprice Farm near Hull

5/1/17 Went to Hornsea Mere with ML and RL on Thursday morning. Managed to pick up the two Long-tailed Ducks but distance nearer the south shore. Moved on to Fossehill Pond where there were plenty of gulls but nothing of note. Headed to Tophill Low NR picking up a flock of Grey Partridge near Hutton Cranswick.

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Grey Partridge near Little Common Farm, Cranswick

At Tophill Low NR we headed to the feeders where I got Coal Tit for the year. Next North Marsh where we had the regular experience of been told how well the Otters had shown well earlier. Didn’t give it too long but manage a Water Rail at least. Could hear geese on D reservoir so went to check them from Middle Hide. Only could find a Pink-footed Goose among the Greylags. We were intending to do the gulls anyway so decide to stay put. While waiting for the gulls had two Peregrine over Decoy Fields, hitting the large number of Woodpigeon. The Long-tailed Duck hadn’t been seen for a few days and it was on surprise to find it again under where car park used to be.

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The now gone car park hide with new centre [for more on latter see here].

Although not in great numbers gulls started dropping in. With several white-winged gulls seen in Yorkshire last night they were on our minds and it wasn’t too unexpected when RL said he had got a Glaucous Gull. The juvenile gull was fortunately quite close and although light wasn’t great we all managed to fire off several shots. My first since almost exactly five years ago, again on D reservoir on 15th January 2012.

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Juvenile Glaucous Gull with Common Gull and Greylag Goose on D reservoir-Tophill Low NR

Year List: 74

Red-throated Diver in Bridlington Harbour

3 Jan

3/1/17 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL and ML on Tuesday morning. Added most of the common wildfowl to the year list and Female Marsh Harrier hunting over the reedbed wasn’t a surprise but had none of the rarer birds seen late last year. The Barnacle Geese flock flew north over the hide and we went off to try to track them down with the hope of finding some rarer geese. Didn’t locate the flock so headed to Kirkholme Point where we saw the Barnacles flying back in. Had a Swedish ringed Black-headed Gull.

Swedish ringed Black-headed Gull

Checked the fields in the Low Skirlington area. Had seen a few Russian White-fronts and Pinkfeet with a large Greylag Goose flock on New Years Eve but couldn’t find them today. Next had a quick look from Skipsea Beach Club where I added Sanderling and Ringed Plover on the beach and Red-throated Diver on the sea. Then went to Bridlington where a Black-necked Grebe had recently been seen in harbour. Saw a couple of photographer leaving who had recently seen it. No sign of the Black-necked Grebe for us but had a Red-throated Diver, sometime just below us.

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Red-throated Diver in Bridlington Harbour

Added Turnstone, which were feeding around our feet, and several Redshank and Dunlin feeding on the exposed mud in the harbour.

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Turnstone-Bridlington Harbour

Year List: 62

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.