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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

Long-horned beetle, Belted Galloway and American Wigeon

13 Jul

9/7/15 Following a possible Ring-necked Duck at Tophill Low NR on Tuesday [see here] thought I’d check for it a High Eske NR on Thursday afternoon. No sign of it and nothing else notable bird wise but good to see the Tufted Duck still had seven chicks. Had to satisfy myself with insect. Rewarded early with my first long-horned beetle of the year. DSCN8030

Four-banded Longhorn Beetle-High Eske NR

Also a distinctive hoverfly. DSCN8032

Volucella pellucens

A small herd of Belted Galloway have been grazing Pulfin Bog for a few weeks. Likely from the same stock as the cattle at Tophill Low NR. Seem tamer than the previous Highland Cattle which could be a bit flighty. Also good that they are contained on Pulfin and not free to roam the whole area as meeting even friendly cattle on the narrow track around High Eske NR isn’t fun. DSCN8040

Belted Galloway on Pulfin NR.

On a negative point wasn’t good to see Himalayan Balsam is in force again this summer. A highly invasive garden escape that grows strongly in wetland habit [see here for more details]. DSCN8048

Himalayan Balsam-High Eske NR.

Fortunately there was evidence that clearance was already underway. DSCN8049

Pulled Himalayan Balsam at High Eske NR

Walking back south had a Black-tailed Skimmer but didn’t rest long enough to photograph. Texted by SG that GED had found a drake American Wigeon at North Cave Wetlands NR. Wasn’t even a year tick for me [see here] but was new for the reserve so thought I better go. Arriving at South Hide the wigeon was currently out of view having moved behind an island. However on arrival GD picked it up in open water with a Eurasian Wigeon. Originally asleep but I could pick out the distinctive white-crown. DSCN8059

♂.American Wigeon with Eurasian Wigeon-Main Lake,North Cave Wetlands.

Fortunately did wake up to give better views. DSCN8064

♂.American Wigeon with Eurasian Wigeon-Main Lake,North Cave Wetlands.

The fact it turned up the day one went missing at Old Moors RSPB would suggest the same bird. There were two American Wigeons in the county six weeks ago though. Didn’t bother with it on my visit to Old Moors RSPB ON Sunday [see here] so can’t comment. Not seen on Friday. 12/7/15 Had another visit to North Cave Wetlands NR on Sunday evening. Nothing of note and only manageD to see one adult Mediterranean Gull on Main Lake. No waders, even plovers, except Oystercatcher and Lapwing on Dryham Ings but dID get an interesting combo from Crosslands Hide. DSCN8116

Oystercatcher and Little Grebe on Dryham Ings.

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Gatekeeper-Dryham Lane.

21/6/15 Blacktoft Sands RSPB

22 Jun

21/6/15 Having almost by accident had good views of the breeding pair of Montagu’s Harriers at the undisclosed East Yorkshire site last year as well as seeing them a few times from another site I wasn’t in a great rush to catch them at Blacktoft Sands RSPB. However Sunday with little about in “the valley” and with the added bonus of Ring-necked Duck JH and I decided to make the trip. On arrival, following a quick look in the information hide, went it straight to Singleton Hide where the harriers were routinely reported from. With them now a bit “old hat” the hide wasn’t crowded. DSCN7518

View from Singleton Hide-Blacktoft Sands RSPB

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Female Marsh Harrier-Blacktoft Sands RSPB

As expected good numbers of Marsh Harrier on constant view. Didn’t wait long for our first views of Monties when the female flew left but distant and often behind vegetation. The male followed the same route an hour later. Picked up earlier but again distant. Funny to see two “raptor-on-a-stick” bird scarers in the distance. A trap for the unwary? DSCN7543

“Raptor-on-a-stick” scarer near Blacktoft Sands RSPB

Next on to Townsend Hide where two Spotted Redshanks were roosting with a Greenshank.

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Spotted Redshank and Greenshank from Townsend Hide

Nothing new from 1st Hide but the Ring-necked Duck was still from Xerox Hide. Unfortunately it was fast asleep along with accompanying Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Wigeon and Pochard.DSCN7547

♂.Ring-necked Duck from Xerox Hide

Finally on to Marshland Hide where we had our only four Avocet. Don’t know whether they no-longer breed on the site or had just bred early and moved on but told 100+ were on site last month. Didn’t bother walking all the way to Ousefleet Hide. DSCN7550

Avocet from Marshland Hide

Called in on North Cave Wetlands on the way home. Started in Crosslands Hide. The second Temminck’s Stint for the year had been seen Thursday evening only but little of interest today except a few Little Ringed Plover.

Next was Main Lake. Like the marshes at Tophill Low NR much of North Cave Wetlands is a Black-headed Gull breeding colony. However among them on Main Lake are at least one pair of Mediterranean Gulls along with a least two other adults.

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A mass of fledgling Black-headed Gulls on Main Lake,North Cave Wetlands NR

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Adult and fledgling Mediterranean Gulls with Black-headed Gulls

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Two additional adult Mediterranean Gulls

Also had a flyby from the same Dakota I’d seen a few weeks back over Tophill Low NR.

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Douglas C-47A Dakota [DC3] over North Cave Wetland