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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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].

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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].

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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].

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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].

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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].

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Western Swamp-hen-Minsmere RSPB

September

This month I go for a moth. My first Brick on the 17th.

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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].

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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].

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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].

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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

Late Black-necked Grebe at Tophill Low NR

22 Nov

22/11/16 Went to Tophill Low NR with RL on Tuesday afternoon to do the gull roost. Good number of wildfowl on D reservoir so had a good look through before the gulls started building up. Picked up a small grebe at the top end. Black and white so immediately ruled out Little Grebe. My next thought was Slavonian Grebe as they are the usual inland grebe at this time of year locally but quickly proved to be a Black-necked Grebe. At Tophill Low NR in past they have been regular spring passage birds followed by probable failed breeders through summer then juvenile and post breeders late summer but rare [if ever?] in late autumn. This year though there has only been one earlier record, on the 9th June. Missed this one but had seen a pair at North Cave Wetlands on 7th of June.fullsizeoutput_150f

Black-necked Grebes on Main Lake at North Cave Wetland 7/6/16.

Walked straight road to North Hide seeing several Fieldfare on the way. It was closer and we managed a few reasonable shots of the grebe in fading light. fullsizeoutput_1a8f

Black-necked Grebe at Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Nothing of note in the roost but the North Hide isn’t the best place to do the it from.dscn3550

Gulls coming into roost at Tophill Low NR

Nothing in the log but this isn’t always reliable as to what has been seen on the reserve. Knew the Smew was still present on Watton NR via RBA at least.dscn3538

The new visitor centre at Tophill Low NR nearing completion

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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North Cave Wetlands YWT

5 Aug

5/8/16 Good few weeks since I’ve been to North Cave Wetlands so Friday morning thought it was time to pay a visit. Too be honest the first two hides I wasn’t sure I’d made a good choice. Only a few Common Terns of interest on Village Lake but the young Polish Mute Swan on Island Lake was nice to see again. Interesting how other than size it appears more mature than it’s siblings, having almost acquired an adult-type bill.

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Polish Mute Swan [2nd from left] with family

Although quite warm in sheltered places when the sun was out the wind otherwise made it feel cool. Despite this there were goods of butterflies including a Painted Lady along the walk to Turret Hide.

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Peacock butterfly by Maze Field.

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Honeybee by Maze Field.

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Gatekeeper by Maze Field.

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Painted Lady by Maze Field.

Having already seen Black-tailed Skimmer the first of the nearly rejuvenated dragonfly ponds was impressive and spent a good while watching a Brown Hawker competing with an Emperor for the territory. Also lots of damselflies and darters ovipositing. However only a Four-spotted Chaser posed for it portrait.

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Four-spotted Chaser-Dragonfly Ponds.

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Male Ruddy Darter-Dragonfly Ponds.

By the furthest pond I found quite a few darters on the ground a good number of which Ruddy Darter. While photographing these I heard the now rare jangle of a Corn Bunting and later managed to track it down in the hedge.

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Corn Bunting-North Hedge

Bird-wise things got better on the reedbed. First had a juvenile Little Plover just under the screen.

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Juvenile Little Ringed Plover-Reedbed.

Next an “interesting shape” among the Greylags turn out to be the Egyptian Goose found by SG yesterday.

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Egyptian Goose-“not showing well on Reedbed”.

Unfortunately spent most of the time asleep. Thirdly a Greenshank fly in to the west end but then flew closer.

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Greenshank-Reedbed.

Last as I was about to move everything got up and a Peregrine was quickly picked up.

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Male Kestrel by new workings

Had a few Brimstone along the western path.

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Brimstone by western path.

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Common Darter near Carp Lake

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Blue-tailed Damselfly near Carp Lake

A good number of gulls, mainly Black-headed but also a few Lesser  Black-backed Gulls on the silt pond. Found a sub-adult Yellow-legged Gull among them. Also had a Dunlin but couldn’t find the Bar-headed Goose from the hide.

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Adult and juvenile Common Terns on Cell A

Later looking from Dryham Lane I located the Bar-headed Goose but flew almost immediately.

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Bar-headed Goose about to leave Cell A

After a slow start quite a good day.

Slow start to 2016

4 Jan

1/1/16 With RL performing I was on my own for the start of the year. Bit icy so went for a long walk with the dogs in Cottingham. Nice start with a Grey Wagtail along the drain behind Millbeck Court. The dogs didn’t let it settle long enough to photograph though. Walked as far as Creykebeck Substation then back via the park. Nothing elae of real note but a Grey Heron isn’t an everyday sighting in the village and Redwing, Bullfinch and Goldcrest were nice.

After a rest went out again but only “little dog” was up for it. Went to check some fields at the north end of Northmoor Lane where I had seen both Barn and Short-eared Owl early last year. No luck but had a Buzzard and unusally a Curlew.

Year total 36. Not actually year listing but Birdtrack does it for me.

2/1/16 Another long walk. Again only “little dog” was up for it. Headed for the bushes at the south end of Snuff Mill Lane. However on crossing the railway line the dog wouldn’t to go any further. Pity as there were plenty of small stuff including a year first Tree Sparrow. Song Thrush was another year tick. Headed to Priory Road then across the fields to Wood Lane. Hadn’t been sure about this route but someone had constructed a make-shift bridge across the ditch that had block my progress recently. Add Greylag Goose flying over. The burnt out car was still in the fields. No surprise it hasn’t been removed as I still can’t work out how it was driven there. Wanted to continue towards Springhead Golf Course but the dog again had different ideas and we headed home.

Year total 39.

3/1/16 Thought I better see some more birds today so went to North Cave Wetlands late morning. Added a good selection of waterfowl on Village Lake as well as Redshank then did the Maize Field feeders. A screen has been erected since my last visit which makes viewing easier. Managed a few shots of one of the three Bramblings present and was surprised to see a Lesser Redpoll in the pictures despite not seeing it with bins later.

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♂.Brambling with Goldfinch+Lesser Redpoll

Also saw the Marsh Tit, which may be a site tick for me. Started raining but decided to to keep going. Had Little Egret on reedbed with nearly fifty Shelduck. However the weather got worst and I couldn’t locate the two Little Owls by the new excavations. The weather showed no sign of improving so just had a quick look from Crosslands and South Hide then headed home.

As this also my ‘biking” blog I’ll do a quick comment on riding in the rain. Wouldn’t plan a long ride in winter rain but my jacket and post office over-trousers keep me comfortable on shorter jounrneys. Anyone who. like me, rode in the seventies will remember banana skin tyres and brakes that didn’t work when wet [this goes for Japanese bikes anyway. The Brembo brakes on the Moto Guzzi V50 I brought in 1981 worked fine]. Now though neither tyres nor brakes cause concern. You don’t brake, corner or accelerate as hard in the wet but there is no need to ‘tiptoe’. With anti-lock brakes now mandatory and almost universal traction control future wet weather biking will be a breeze?! The only problem was the driver behind me who came too close on corners but then was left well behind on the straight. I remember a TV public information broadcast many years ago that warned against this sort of driving, maybe it needs a re-run?

A late night walk got a Tawny Owl calling at Hallgarth care home.

Year total 60.

4/1/18 Had a walk up Priory Road this morning but again “little dog” wasn’t in the mood so only had a look through the gulls in the paddock before heading back.

Went to Tophill Low NR with RL this afternoon. Nothing much at the south end so walked to the top of D reservoir to waste some time before settling down in car park hide to do the gull roost. A few geese flew from Decoy Fields onto the reservoir. Only Greylags left in the field but with reports on the pager wasn’t surprise to find an adult Eurasian White-fronted Goose with the others on the reservoir.

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Eurasian White-fronted Goose with Greylags

Got a few distant shots before it flew back to the fields where it was reasonably close when we walked back along “straight road”.DSCN9785

Eurasian White-fronted Goose

 Also had a close encounter with a Barn Owl hunting North Scrub.

Doing the roost later I picked up a first winter Mediterranean Gull. Flew but eventually landed on the wall then back onto the reservoir. Picked it [or another] out much closer. RL also found another first and a second winter. Disappointingly had none of the Little Gulls from last night.

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1st winter Mediterranean Gull