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

Glaucous Gull at Tophill Low NR

5 Jan

4/1/17 On Wednesday had a walk round Willerby Carrs with the dog. A few minor year ticks but the highlight was a Stonechat by Haltemprice Farm. Unfortunately mobile and difficult to get close to.

Year List: 66

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Stonechat at Haltemprice Farm near Hull

5/1/17 Went to Hornsea Mere with ML and RL on Thursday morning. Managed to pick up the two Long-tailed Ducks but distance nearer the south shore. Moved on to Fossehill Pond where there were plenty of gulls but nothing of note. Headed to Tophill Low NR picking up a flock of Grey Partridge near Hutton Cranswick.

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Grey Partridge near Little Common Farm, Cranswick

At Tophill Low NR we headed to the feeders where I got Coal Tit for the year. Next North Marsh where we had the regular experience of been told how well the Otters had shown well earlier. Didn’t give it too long but manage a Water Rail at least. Could hear geese on D reservoir so went to check them from Middle Hide. Only could find a Pink-footed Goose among the Greylags. We were intending to do the gulls anyway so decide to stay put. While waiting for the gulls had two Peregrine over Decoy Fields, hitting the large number of Woodpigeon. The Long-tailed Duck hadn’t been seen for a few days and it was on surprise to find it again under where car park used to be.

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The now gone car park hide with new centre [for more on latter see here].

Although not in great numbers gulls started dropping in. With several white-winged gulls seen in Yorkshire last night they were on our minds and it wasn’t too unexpected when RL said he had got a Glaucous Gull. The juvenile gull was fortunately quite close and although light wasn’t great we all managed to fire off several shots. My first since almost exactly five years ago, again on D reservoir on 15th January 2012.

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Juvenile Glaucous Gull with Common Gull and Greylag Goose on D reservoir-Tophill Low NR

Year List: 74

Red-throated Diver in Bridlington Harbour

3 Jan

3/1/17 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL and ML on Tuesday morning. Added most of the common wildfowl to the year list and Female Marsh Harrier hunting over the reedbed wasn’t a surprise but had none of the rarer birds seen late last year. The Barnacle Geese flock flew north over the hide and we went off to try to track them down with the hope of finding some rarer geese. Didn’t locate the flock so headed to Kirkholme Point where we saw the Barnacles flying back in. Had a Swedish ringed Black-headed Gull.

Swedish ringed Black-headed Gull

Checked the fields in the Low Skirlington area. Had seen a few Russian White-fronts and Pinkfeet with a large Greylag Goose flock on New Years Eve but couldn’t find them today. Next had a quick look from Skipsea Beach Club where I added Sanderling and Ringed Plover on the beach and Red-throated Diver on the sea. Then went to Bridlington where a Black-necked Grebe had recently been seen in harbour. Saw a couple of photographer leaving who had recently seen it. No sign of the Black-necked Grebe for us but had a Red-throated Diver, sometime just below us.

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Red-throated Diver in Bridlington Harbour

Added Turnstone, which were feeding around our feet, and several Redshank and Dunlin feeding on the exposed mud in the harbour.

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Turnstone-Bridlington Harbour

Year List: 62

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

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

Eastern Black Redstart in Skinningrove

28 Dec

28/12/16 Anyone who follows this blog will know that although I’ve seen Eastern Black Redstart on Holy Island I’ve since missed one thrice in Yorkshire [see here and here]. Since one turned up in Cleveland, in the historic county of Yorkshire, I’ve planned to go but just hadn’t managed yet. However when I was picked up by ML and RL on Wednesday morning was told we were off to Skinningrove. Like my Beeley trips [see here] I again encountered the idiosyncrasies of SatNavs. The inland route via Malton and Pickering looked best but although it looked to be following that route it suddenly sent us towards Bridlington then the rest of the way up the coast. Ok, of course ML could have ignored it but there is a fascination to just seeing where it’s going to take us. Anyway got there without any real problems. Today was very cold, likely the coldest this winter so far, and it’s worth noting that the final approach to the village is very steep and narrow and not helped by a covering of frost. Even worse going back up in bottom gear. Anyway after negotiating the road system found our way to the car park by the jetty. Walking along got confirmation that the bird was still present and although not showing immediately we did see it soon including pretty close on the stone work.

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1st winter ♂ Eastern Black Redstart-Skinningrove

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Eastern Black Redstart with GoPro

Went back down to the beach and was showing well below two others birders there.

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Mike and Steve with Eastern Black Redstart on rocks

It was only when we got down there did I realise it was SM and MR, even though they’d been trying to attract our attention since we’d arrived. Also plenty of Robin and Dunnock feeding among the boulders.

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Robin-Skinningrove beach

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Dunnock-Skinningrove

Surprised to see Fulmars already on nest sites on the cliffs above.

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Fulmar on cliff face at Skinningrove

Not long after we got on the beach the Eastern Black Redstart moved to the eastern end of the rocks then disappeared and after not been seen for over half an hour we called it a day. This is my first Black Redstart since one at Barmston in December 2013. Went back the via inland route.

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Street art by Karl Striker-Skinningrove

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.