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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.

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

The Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

9 Nov

9/11/16 Started Wednesday in Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide with RL and ML. On Sunday we’d spent a cold but productive few hours there finding Long-tailed Duck and seeing Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter, European White-fronted Geese and a Pink-footed Goose. Unfortunately bad light and mostly too distant for photography. 14991465_1221957371194242_3986297985049332242_o

Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere-RL 

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Common Scoter at Hornsea Mere-RL 

Also had a Marsh Harrier persistently hovering over an unidentified small duck or grebe which repeatedly dived to get away.14940009_1221985707858075_8585892786404413223_o

Marsh Harrier harassing an unidentified bird at Hornsea Mere-RL 

On Tuesday Smew and Black-necked Grebe had also been reported. Today was also wet and cold. Getting into the hide a drake Pintail and tatty male Goosander were close in.

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Drake Goosander at Hornsea Mere-RL 

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Drake Pintail at Hornsea Mere-RL 

Roy quickly picked up the redhead Smew and Common Scoter but both close to the opposite shore. One Pink-footed Goose was still with the feral geese off Kirkholme Point but saw no other ‘wild’ geese. I found two redhead Goosander, one looking rather small. Later what may have been the smaller ‘goosander’ was seen again and identified as a Red-breasted Merganser. Also surprise to see a small flock of Grey Plover flying west.

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. A Grey Phalarope was found by JB on Tuesday morning. Still reported today at the south end of D reservoir. Couldn’t initially see it from Car park hide but RL shortly found it and we got a few record shots before it again was obscured by the wall.fullsizeoutput_1a64

Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

This is my 3rd Grey Phalarope for Tophill Low NR and two years since the last one in November 2014.

Had a look at Swine Moor on the way back where there was still good numbers of Wigeon and Teal.

If your interested in moths please check my updated Moth Blog

Insects hang on at Tophill Low NR

5 Nov

4/11/16 Went to Tophill Low NR with RL on Friday morning. As usual started in car park hide. Scanned D reservoir but no sign of the Smew which hadn’t been reported since late afternoon Sunday. Had visited High Eske NR on Wednesday and it hadn’t return there nor was there any sign of the small Pochard flock that it been part of. However as today the Goldeneye had increased including the first adult drakes. Headed south. Although the weather forecast all week have been full of doom about much colder weather I haven’t yet found it too bad but it was still surprising to see several Common Darter and a Migrant Hawker by South Lagoon.

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Common Darter at Tophill Low NR by South Lagoon.

They were even joined by a Red Admiral.

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Red Admiral at Tophill Low NR by South Lagoon.

Next Watton NR where there were at least eleven Little Egret. The largest number I’ve seen on the borrow pit and included one with colour leg rings. There was a very pale Buzzard feeding over the back. It had a white rump but the tail was largely black with a white band up the middle. When it perched on a post the legs were clearly unfeathered. fullsizeoutput_1a5a

Pale Common Buzzard at Watton NR

Common Buzzards like this have been present for several years and it’s not surprising that they get claimed as Rough-legged Buzzard as well Osprey and Hen Harrier. The only Pink-footed Goose was a rather sickly individual with almost orange legs. Went to Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide this afternoon. One Slavonian Grebe and a Tundra Bean Goose were still around this morning but not for us. Did have fifteen Whooper Swans and RL picked out the female-type Common Scoter, which we’d missed on Sunday, close to the south shore. Finished at Swine Moor. Too late for any serious wader passage but there was plenty of water. Present were circa four hundred Wigeon and a smaller number of Teal. Wondered where the Wigeon had got to as there have been very few at High Eske NR so far this autumn.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Southern Hawker-High Eske NR

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Ringed Plover with Lapwing-High Eske NR

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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One of two Kingfishers on South Lagoon.

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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.

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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.

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Small Copper in O reservoir ditch.

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

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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.