Archive | Moths RSS feed for this section

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].

fullsizeoutput_20ac

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

fullsizeoutput_20a3

Little Gulls at Tophill Low NR on D res wall.

Also no Kingfishers but had one walking past South Lagoon.

 

fullsizeoutput_209f

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.

fullsizeoutput_20ae

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.

fullsizeoutput_209e

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.

fullsizeoutput_209d

 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.

fullsizeoutput_2094

Great white Egret at Tophill Low on South Marsh East.

fullsizeoutput_2093

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!

 

Advertisements

Pacific Golden Plover at North Cave Wetlands

22 Jul

21/7/17 Spent Friday morning at High Eske NR. Again nothing new but at it was peaceful, without the teenagers who tend to invade on warm summer days. Took in Swine Moor on the way back. Despite some good rain yesterday it was drier than on Tuesday won’t be worth looking at again before some prolonged rain. May be some hidden pools nearer Barmston Drain which I may check next week.

Getting in saw a probable Pacific Golden Plover was at North Cave Wetlands. My previous Pacific Golden Plover was found by RL and spent much of July 2000 at nearby Brough Haven. My first was on the opposite side of the Humber at South Ferriby in 1993, yet again in July. Checked the reserve Facebook page to confirm it was at least a Lesser Golden Plover and therefore worth ignoring Wilbur’s demands for a walk. Getting there mid afternoon had reasonable views over the gate on Dryham Lane.

fullsizeoutput_204f

Pacific Golden Plover on Cell A-North Cave Wetlands.

It moved close to Crossland’s Hide but before entering was I distracted by a group viewing an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the silt lagoon. Had a look at it among Lesser Black-backed before they all got up and on re-alighting the Yellow-legged wasn’t to be seen. A Caspian Gull had been found so I went into the hide where luckily most were still looking the other way at the plover. The Caspian was easily found, being the only large pale gull among the Lesser Black-backs with no Herring Gulls present. Was shortly joined by JH who’d also viewed the plover from Dryham Lane. After taking a few pictures of the Caspian, and the Yellow-legged Gull not reappearing, I decided to get back to take Wilbur out instead of visiting the rest of the reserve.

fullsizeoutput_204e

Caspian Gull with Lesser Black-backed Gulls on silt pond-North Cave Wetlands

Managed to find a Smoky Wainscot on a thistle in fields off Dunswell Road but typical of this time of year the birds were hard work.

fullsizeoutput_2052

Smoky Wainscot-fields off Dunswell Road-Cottingham

The plover flew high south after I left and didn’t return by dusk.

 

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

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.

DSCN2278

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.

DSCN2301

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.

DSCN2313

Southern Hawker-High Eske NR

DSCN2333

Ringed Plover with Lapwing-High Eske NR

DSCN2316

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.

DSCN2326

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.

DSCN2340

Common Carpet moth-High Eske NR

Changes at Tophill Low NR

8 Aug

7/8/16 On Sunday morning with RL and ML had a chance to look round the building site of the new Tophill Low NR visitors centre.DSCN2192

RL and ML at the foot of the access rump to the future visitors centre.

The newly excavated visitors centre pond was already filling with a perceptible flow from the direction of the reservoir, whether a leak or groundwater we’re yet to know.

DSCN2193

RH and LR by the already filling visitors centre pond.

Turf uncovered by the excavation can be dated to 1958 as the original ground level of Tophill Low farm buried by earth from the excavation of D reservoir.

DSCN2195

RH pointing to preserved turf dating from 1958 when the waterworks was built.

DSCN2196

The beginning of the walk way from the future visitors centre. Still under construction this will change the way we navigate the reserve.

DSCN2199

Footings of the future visitors centre.

From the top of the access rump you can get a good view over D reservoir which reassured us that the new visitor centre would be at least as good as the current car park hide which will be removed.

DSCN2198

View of D reservoir from the top of the future visitors centre ramp.

Best to check the official Tophill Low blog for more information and future updates.

Bird-wise there was no real change since my visit on Wednesday. Had a Greenshank, 5 Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper on North Lagoon and another Green Sandpiper on South Marsh East.

DSCN2208

One of two Kingfishers on South Lagoon.

DSCN2204

Little Grebe feeding one of two chicks on South Lagoon.

Again didn’t challenge the Little Egret record, now standing at 24. One individual didn’t make it way under it own steam as after being found exhausted next to the road at Bewholme it was treated at Peel veterinary clinic at Hornsea before being released on the reserve.

DSCN2225

The released Little Egret on South Marsh East now looking a lot cleaner. 

Windy, but had a good number of butterflies in the shelter of O reservoir ditch including my first Small Copper this year.

DSCN2222

Small Copper in O reservoir ditch.

Also of note were two Painted Ladies and a Silver Y.

DSCN2224

Silver Y in O reservoir ditch.

Had sea watch at Atwick this afternoon followed by a quick look at Bewholme Hall pond. Neither produce anything of note. Looked at Swine Moor on the way home but no sign of last weeks Wood Sandpiper with only a Dunlin in it’s place.

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.

DSCN2005

Julian’s Bower maze-Alkborough

DSCN2009

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.

DSCN2007

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.

DSCN2018

Snout moth-Alkborough

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

DSCN2019

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.

DSCN2024

Spotted Redshank with Black-tailed Godwit-Alkborough Flats

DSCN2028

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.

DSCN2046

Water rail-Alkborough Flats

DSCN2041

Greenshank-Alkborough Flats

Musings on Western Purple Swamp-hen

2 Aug

31/7/16 The report early Sunday afternoon of a Purple Gallinule at Minsmere RSPB for the 2nd day didn’t raise too much excitement with me due to  it’s history in this country.

My first was in Cumbria at Sandscale in October 1997 [see here]. The article is a bit ambiguous but nothing came of it. The second in 1998 was by the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire near the Dog-in-doublet pub. Still remember the pub sign of a dog wearing a padded Elizabethan-style jacket. Anyway it was proclaimed, not long after RL and I left the site, as an escape from a wildlife park nearby at Sawtry. It escaped in 1998. and lived on the river until late 2006. See here for a picture and more info.

On a more positive side it’s on my World List from a birding trip to in April 2001 . The site was a marsh in Sotogrande, one of those posh guarded estates where you expect British criminals like Ray Winstone’s character in “Sexy Beast” to live. Also saw them again in Spain at April 2007 at Cote Donana centre in April 2007. Remember on the trip calling them ‘Swamp-chickens’ closer to the current name.

However the Minsmere bird got a mega alert having been identified as Western Purple Swamp-hen, which with its recent northward range expansion including one present in France in Morbihan at Guidel at Le Petit Loch 47.754, -3.510 was deemed a good bet of a genuine vagrant.  We were in the North Yorkshire Moors [see here] and so it was going to tomorrow at the earliest. Made it clear I was up for it but nothing had been arranged by late evening so went to bed thinking of the possibility of going on my own. This would be my longest ride for many years and Minsmere an awkward place to get to anyway.

1/8/16 Fortunately got a phone call from TD at 7.00 and had just over an hour to sort things out and get to the Humber Bridge. This included a quick look at the moth trap to recover any visible ones before covering it. Only a couple of White Satin were obvious.

DSCN2001

White Satin Moth

On the Humber Bridge approach road had my first nightmare. In the past you could turn right into the Country Park but sometime ago [likely a very long time!] this gap had been removed and there was no way of during a u-turn. In retrospect could have just gone over the bridge and park up at the lay-by near the Far Ings turning. A quick call and it would have only caused a small diversion for my friends. Instead I pulled up then started pushing the bike back up the road with no real idea what I’d do when I reached the roundabout. Not really a too wise move going against a heavy flow of traffic. Fortunately at the stop for southbound bus there was kerb drop that allowed me to at least get on the pavement. There was path leading to the road below and but had no idea if I could get out the other end. Fortunately although there was some kind of barrier I got the bike through and parked it on the road below. Suspected I was now running late so quickly extracted my stiff from the panniers and tried ringing TD as I walked back to the bus stop. Couldn’t get through but got ‘phoned back almost immediately and was able to say where I was and was picked up in a matter of minutes by TC, TD and AW.

Although a much longer route, because of the holiday and farm traffic, TC  decided to head for Lincoln then across to the A1 before heading back east on the A14. Wasn’t very easy that way either but later learned that other birders taking the alternative routes had also had a bad time with traffic. Arriving early afternoon were told the Swamp-hen had been showing recently but as is normal we then had c45mins wait. Glad we all had RSPB membership card as they’re charging 9 quid. Challenging WWT! There was a few calls usually of movement of reeds but when we finally saw it, it was just a static red leg attached to a blue-black body with the occasional sighting of a large red bill. It did eventually move and although always close to the reeds did gave some good views although a bit too distant and the light not right for my camera at least.

DSCN1967

Little Egrets on pool behind Minsmere RSPB South Hide with Western Purple Swamp-hen behind.

DSCN1971

Close up of Western Purple Swamp-hen on pool behind Minsmere RSPB South Hide

DSCN1978

A more typical view  of Western Purple Swamp-hen on pool behind Minsmere RSPB South Hide.

Having put on a fairly regular show it became elusive just as the sort of twitcher who lacks the patients surely essential for our hobby turned up. A lot of moaning including inferring  that other birders were somehow withholding information. Didn’t reappear for another 45mins so late afternoon called it a day. A good call as it was near 3 hours before another sighting.

The return journey was a lot easier. Stopped as Cambridge services where a snack cost almost as much as decent meal out back home. Also almost doubled the cost of the trip!

Back on the road got an anonymous called. As usual asked for someone who sounded very little like my name. Did what I usually do with unsolicited calls and denied knowledge of the name but on asking the business of the caller found it was Humberside Police. As my bike had been left unattended for near 11 hours there was some concern for my safety. Showing the positive nature of my mood didn’t twig that parking so close to a short cut to the Humber Bridge might cause some worries.

Back over the bridge had my final nightmare. Got dropped at the entrance to the Country Park which is still accessible from the northbound lane of the approach road. Maybe a bit tired I just couldn’t work out how to get back to my bike. Walked in circle for a long time before doing the sensible thing by just following the road out the park away from bridge approach road. Soon found my way helped by a sign for the southbound bus stop. Was now drenched with sweat and rode home with my jacket undone.

For Alan Whitehead’s version of the twitch check his blog.