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Smew! Second time lucky at Tophill Low NR

28 Dec

22/12/18 With the weather on Saturday forecast to be better than recently I had already decided to go out so when a drake Smew was reported at Tophill Low NR and Wilbur showing no interest in going out my plans were made. However on arriving in the visitor centre I learned there had been no further sightings since LJ had found it mid morning. After a look for myself over D res and seeing the lingering female Scaup also seen earlier  I headed south. No sign on O res so headed for Watton NR. Although again no sign of the Smew there was plenty of birds including Little Egret and a pair each of Goosander and Pintail. However only a single Greylag Goose. Little on the South Marshes with only a Little Egret seen on South Marsh East.

28/12/18 Think I other estimated Saturday’s mildest and should have worn another layer as I spend the next few days fighting off a cold but was feeling better on Friday morning. Wilbur was also more lively than recently so took him out but only made it part way to Creykebeck power station. Getting back to the park early afternoon I got a message that the Smew was back at Tophill Low NR. This time on reaching O res viewing screen the bird was present and not too distant.

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Drake Smew at Tophill Low NR on O Res.

After getting a few shots I headed for Watton NR but no sign of the Goosander or Pintail but there was again a Little Egret and a good number of geese, both Greylag and Canada as well as a Domestic Goose. Walking back through South Scrub I thought I could hear  Whooper Swans but although I could still hear them there was initially no sign from L-shaped hide. However six Whoopers, a family party with four juveniles, shortly drifted into view from the cover of O res wall.

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Whooper Swans at Tophill Low NR on O res.

Couldn’t see the Smew from either L-shaped hide or the viewing screen although the light is difficult near dusk from the latter. Again little on South Marshes with again only a Little Egret on East section.

Postscript on “Shag at East Park, Hull“.

After dipping the Smew on Saturday RL went to East Park to see the Shag. He found it now had a black plastic bag around its neck. MF didn’t see the bird on Wednesday.

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Shag at East Park, Hull-RL

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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.

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Royal Tern-Traeth Lligwy, Anglesey

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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.

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First winter Shag-East Park Lake, Hull

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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.

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Black-headed Gull-East Park Lake, Hull

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

Twitching Waxwing with Wilbur

20 Mar

20/3/17 Got a text from RL early afternoon about 23+ Waxwings in Hull at the Junction of Hotham Road South and Wold Road. Had been raining heavy all morning and Wilbur was restless for a proper walk so as it was only a small diversion to my Willerby Carrs walk [see here] took this route. Met another regular dog walking birder and thought he was going to follow me but he baulked at going down the very muddy Wood Lane. Got a message that the Waxwings had flown but on arriving found MU photographing some with his mobile phone through his telescope. Only four left and just got in one shot before they flew behind shops and didn’t return by 4pm.

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Waxwings on Wold Road, Hull

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Carrion Crow off Wold Road eating what appears to be a Woodpigeon squab.

Apart from a flock of Fieldfare that alighted near Haltemprice farm I had little else of note although there were still a few Wigeon and Teal on flashes north of Carr Farm and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen regularly.

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Wilbur at the back of Springhead GC

Birding around Hull

2 Jan

2/1/17 Slow start to 2017 for me, only managing a couple of hours around Cottingham on New Years day and had nothing unusual. Tuesday morning went out with RL with the intention of counting the Goosander in Hull. Started at East Park where we could only find five.

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Goosander on East Park Lake in Hull

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Great Crested Grebe on East Park Lake in Hull

Next to Costello Playing Fields [Peter Pan Park] where we had eleven then to nearby Pickering Park where we had another three.

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Goosander on Costello Playing Fields Lake in Hull

As it was nearby we then checked, with out luck, Hessle Sainsbury’s and Aldi car park for Waxwing. Thirty had been on Spring Street early but had flown off but headed that way incase they had returned. Hadn’t got far when twelve were reported off Hessle Road at Strickland Street/Goulton Street junction. Arriving, there was SM who had again found them. Got a quick record shot then joined him under the trees.

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Waxwings Strickland Street/Goulton Street in Hull

There were no nearby berries but Steve had been getting them coming down to a puddle in the road. Managed to get a few clear shots of one through branches before they all flew off east and didn’t return.

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While hoping for their return we had a Peregrine over several times before disappearing off east in close pursuit of a feral pigeon. However it returned ’empty handed’ and sat on a distant lighting gantry.

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Peregrine from Goulton Street in Hull

Five Waxwings were seen a little later at Hessle Sainsbury’s.

Getting in manage an hour with dog in Cottingham KGV Rec and fields behind and added a few to the year list including Reed Bunting and Fieldfare.

Year List: 45

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.