Tag Archives: Avocet

25/7/17-Alkborough Flats

26 Jul

I hadn’t started the year with the intention of year listing but this month I have seem to be unintentionally listing so with little excitement about any of my local sites a trip across the bridge to Alkborough Flats appealed. The fact that the wind had dropped and, although overcast, rain wasn’t forecast. Quickly added Spoonbill, although only three, and stubbornly remained asleep at the back of the pool.

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Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats

Also my other target, Spotted Redshank, was present although also right at the back. Nearer were a number of Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet, and with a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls a single Yellow-legged Gull.

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Yellow-legged Gull with Lesser-backed Gull-Alkborough Flats

Water Rail was squealing under the hide and occasionally a chick would show. Bearded Tits were regularly calling and flying over but only once had one perched up long enough for a quick photo.

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Bearded Tit-Alkborough Flats

Eventually some of the waders came within range, including several young Avocets.

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Black-tailed Godwit-Alkborough Flats

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Spotted Redshank-Alkborough Flats

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Avocets-Alkborough Flats

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Little Egret-Alkborough Flats

A trip to the other side-Spoonbills +Grayling

4 Aug

After my afternoon out with RL on Tuesday I struggle to get out the rest of the week due to pressure of work.

30/7/15 Manage to get up to Nut Wood & Wauldby Scrogs Woodlands Trust reserve early Thursday evening. Always hard work for birds and this time was no different but did photograph an interesting hoverfly- Scaeva pyrastri . A migratory species that arrives in variable number but in some years none.

DSCN8469Scaeva pyrastri-Nut Wood & Wauldby Scrogs

1/8/15 Find East Yorkshire too frenetic during the school holidays and last summer found North Lincolnshire much quieter [both birders and non-birders] and spent a lot of time at Alkborough Flats. Like having Blacktoft Sands RSPB to yourself. Saturday was a better day at work and with several Spoonbill at Alkborough Flats headed there mid afternoon. Started raining along the the Humber Bridge approach and had to decide whether to stop and put over trousers on or continue with the hope that it was just a shower. Kept going and the rain was short lived. Didn’t fancy walking too much so went to the disabled car park. The last bit involves a steep decline and on a bike you have to be aware of the loose gravel at the bottom. Managed to see the Spoonbills before I got to the hide so knew the journey was worthwhile. Initially so close to the hide that they were partially obscured by vegetation but everything was regularly disturbs by a Hobby hunting low over the lagoon and they became more lively and even took flight a few times.

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Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats

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Eventually they settle to feed.

Large numbers of Avocet on site. Up to 900 counted recently and think close that number were on the whole site.DSCN8485

Large number of Avocets at Alkborough Flats.

Others waders include good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and few Spotted Redshanks, Ruff and Green Sandpiper. Also several Water Rail “squeaking” unseen below the hide.

The heavy rain finally arrived but in a break I made it to the tower hide where it started up again even heavier. Not much to add to the day but had some close Little Egrets.

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Little Egrets-Alkborough Flats

Only on viewing my pictures did I notice one was colour ringed but couldn’t make out the details.

Also saw the Barnacle Geese that breed on Whitton Sands but, possibly due to the poor light, not the Ruddy Shelduck seen recently [and last summer].

The rain finally stopped and I made a hasty return to the car park. Fortunately stayed dry on the way home.

Getting in had a message from SG that a Glossy Ibis was on Brough Airfield. The first record for the site. Getting late and didn’t think I’d have much time before the light went but tiredness also helped the decision.

2/8/15 The Glossy Ibis was seen again early morning and went to look for it with RL but despite spending over two hours circling the marsh there was no further sign even with the help of Dave Hursthouse. In the past have kept to public rights of way  but local dog-walkers show no problem trespassing so see no reason birders should be so law abiding anymore. Such behaviour would have brought a rapid response from BAE security a few years ago but they seem to no-longer care.

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Cinnabar moth caterpillar-Brough

Early afternoon went to Conesby Quarry with ML and RL. This site is north of Scunthorpe along Normandy Road. Parked outside Blue Lagoon NR and crossed the road. The target was Grayling butterfly. Not an initially appealing site not helped by the gypsy camp early on. Also the sound of motorcycle engines was off putting. Joined by the couple I got the information from yesterday and learnt that noise was actually the Scunthorpe Speedway Stadium. However this wasn’t the only source as there were several dirt-biker including one who took pleasure in repeatedly buzzing us at high speed. Others give us verbal abuse. Not an area I’d visit on my own. Also on week days there are regular HGV’s as the concrete railway sleepers for London Cross-rail project are made at the factory by the quarry.

Initially lead astray by Meadow Browns.

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Meadow Brown-Conesby Quarry

On reaching the quarry the Graylings found us, visiting each of us in turn for minerals from sweat.

DSCN8561Grayling drinking sweat-Conesby Quarry
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Cryptic Grayling-Conesby Quarry

Also found a new moth for me. Gillmeria ochrodactyla and G.pallidactyla are only reliably separated by present or not of banding on the hind-leg tibia. Can’t do this from the photo but being on Tansy make the former more likely.

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Likely Tansy Plume on food plant

Vipers Bugloss  near Scunthorpe 020815a RL

Vipers Bugloss-Conesby Quarry-RL

Went on to Alkborough Flats.

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Peacock butterfly caterpillar-Alkborough Flats

The last high tide has been a big one and the site had flooded. Five of the Spoonbills were again present but waders numbers were low.

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Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats-showing increase in water level since Saturday.

Had a Kingfisher flying close to the hide. Also an immature Marsh Harrier, that had been surprisingly missing from yesterday’s list. Didn’t see the Montagu’s Harriers, breeding at Blacktoft Sands RSPB, but haven’t been seen as often as last year.

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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

Gull-billed Tern at Old Moor RSPB

17 Jun

16/6/15 Early Tuesday morning a Gull-billed Tern was seen briefly on the Wader Scrape at Old Moor RSPB. I was at work so nothing I could do about it until mid afternoon. Texted RL anyway to be ready if seen again. Not long after I got home the tern was reported briefly again “early afternoon” then again a little later. Contacted RL again and awaited his arrival but he then texted to say he couldn’t make it as he had a gig in the evening. Due to wrist problems and generally not feeling up to it I decided against getting the bike out. For some reason I didn’t make any effort to get a lift from a friend maybe due to it’s erratic behaviour similar to Nottingham 5 days ago when a bird was seen briefly at Idle Valley NR but didn’t linger. The closeness in both time and distance makes the possibly of the same bird a likelihood but where was it in between times? Apart from a unconfirmed sighting late afternoon at Adwick Washland RSPB there was no further sightings by early evening, however at 17.35 it returned to Old Moor RSPB Wader Scrape and seemed settled for the evening. About two hours later RL texted to say he’d been mistaken and the gig was tomorrow. I immediately rang to say basically “get your arse round here, it’s hanging around and we’ll make it easily before dark.” This he did despite also feeling off colour and [this section retracted to avoid the attention of the law]. Fortunately I had photographed the direction from my “Maps” app as the last few miles can be difficult with out local knowledge. Also a cheaper, and less annoying, than a satnav [JH’s at least?].

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“How to get there”

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The rest of the message was “then flew toward Bolton Ings”.

It did fly off at one point but only briefly and on arrival had the repeat message “it’s asleep” on the scrape from returning birders. Despite the odd panic, relieved by birders heading the other way we made it the the hide and quickly got views through someones ‘scope. Now we could relax we set about getting some pictures although it was a bit distant and the light was going.

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Gull-billed Tern with Black-headed Gulls-Old Moor RSPB-Wader Scrape

Thought we would be the “Johnnies come lately” but several East Yorkshire birders were still on site. Amazingly it was reported still at 22.30, two hours after we left. Modern ‘scopes are truly amazing?!

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Avocet and chick-Old Moor RSPB-Wader Scrape

A bit of a bogey bird, one was on Thorne Moors on the evening of 30th May 2012 but there was also a Black-winged Stilt at Fairburn Ings RSPB which was also a Yorkshire tick so I went for that first then met RL at Goole. We set off for a very long walk fortunately to be turned back on news the tern had flown. A few who had gone for it on first new connected though. To make thing worse the Stilt lingered, the tern was never seen again. Then came the infamous Tophill Low NR bird on 25th August 2012 which showed to a select few after a heavy shower but didn’t hang around [see here and here]. It’s almost 20 years since my last, and only British, Gull-billed Tern at Seaforth NR,Liverpool Freeport on 30th July 1995 and likely a lot longer for RL, although we’ve both seen them abroad since [Spain and USA].
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Not seen today.