Tag Archives: Grayling

2015 in 12 pictures

1 Jan

Intro

This year has been pretty stop/start blog wise. This was partly due to lack of inspiration and then when it’s been interesting lack of time to write. The latter particularly goes for October when three postings were mentally written but never put down. Because of this some of my pictures will not have been used before. Also this year with the demise of Hull Valley Wildlife Group I ended the blog of the same name and posted everything on this blog except for my moth trapping as I revived Cottingham Moths at the same time. Moths and insects in general don’t get the interest that birds do but I feel those who do show an interest will appreciate having them all in the same place.

January

Having missed the Fraisthorpe Little Bustard in 2014, due to work, I was glad it was still present on the 1st. This would have been the bird of the month but lack of a worthwhile photo meant the Wakefield Blyth’s Pipit took it’s place. Originally twitched it on the first day [8/12/14] when RL and I got flight views, including the diagnostic call, and a brief distant sighting perched in a bush. Our second visit on the 4th it gave crippling views. For more see here.

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Blyth’s Pipit-Wakefield

 February

This month’s bird is the Filey drake Surf Scoter. My second in Yorkshire after the Scarborough bird [26/9/97] . Seen on the 15th then again off Scarborough on the 22th.

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Drake Surf Scoter-off Filey Brigg

March

This Small Quaker trapped overnight on the 23th was the first moth trapped this year and new moth for me.

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Small Quaker

April

The bird of the month was only realised in retrospect. Following the report of a Scaup-like hybrid at High Eske NR early in the month I found a similar bird on D reservoir at Tophill Low NR on the 7th. Always distant I thought it was just another hybrid. Later failed to take notice of a wing flap shot by RL. Posted on facebook but raised no interest. Later in the month when Tony Simpson took a series of pictures of it including some just under the middle hide. When these were posted on the Tophill Low Blog, Lee Johnson was quick to realise it was a Lesser Scaup. Difficult to say how twitchable this bird would have been as although a hybrid bird was reported after the initial sighting the description didn’t fit the Lesser Scaup and only Lee admits to have seen and also dismissed this one. There was at least one other hybrid at Hornsea Mere during the month. This was a posting that was in my head but never written but well covered by Richard though.

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Drake Lesser Scaup-Tophill Low NR.

Second for the reserve when the situation was reversed with RL on 9/1/1997 finding and quickly identying a female seen but dismissed by others earlier. This was then only the 2nd female seen in the UK and was very well twitched during it’s prolonged stay till the 20th April.

One post-1997 Tophill Low NR regular wasn’t happy but even if identified inmediately it’s unlikely they would have seen it and even if they had would been lucky to have had the views Tony did.

May

The bird of May was the Holkham Dunes Citril Finch. A world tick but as is the case at major twitches I concentrated on getting good views and photos were secondary. I’m first a birder and although I try to get a record shot I haven’t the equipment or determination [and gall?] to match the photos that will always be managed but others.

With no photos of the Citril Finch the Balearic Woodchat Shrike at Wykeham on the 13th is the bird of the month.

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First summer male Balearic Woodchat Shrike-Wykeham

June

The Gull-billed Tern at Old Moors RSPB on 16th gets the vote.

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Gull-billed Tern with Black-headed Gulls-Old Moor RSPB.

Managed to blog this one so more here. Also later in the month, at the same site, was Little Bittern. Lack of a picture meant there wasn’t a competition though but did managed to blog the twitch.

July

Without a photo of the Little Bittern which I saw on the 5th, this month’s picture is Barred Red. Trapped on the 19th this was a new moth for me.

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Barred Red

August

Grayling at Conesby Quarry near Scunthorpe was a new butterfly for me so is this month’s picture.

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Grayling-Conesby Quarry

For a full account see here.

September

 Dusky Thorn trapped on the 11th was a new moth for me.

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Dusky Thorn

October

No contest for this month’s picture. Although not a great photo the Wilson’s Warbler I saw on the Isle of Lewis on the 17/18th was the twitch of the year.

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Wilson’s Warbler-Port Nis,Lewis

One of three posts mentally composed this month but never written due to lack of time.

November

This Whooper Swan at High Eske NR on the 9th is the best I can do in a quiet month.

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Whooper Swan-High Eske NR

December

The final picture of 2015 is the lingering female Scaup at Hornsea Mere. To be honest the only nature photo I took this month!

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♀.Scaup-Hornsea Mere

Postscript

If things at work go as planned I will likely get out more at least from spring 2016 but I can’t do anything about the quality of bird. Certainly intend to continue blogging next year. Thanks to everyone who has followed my blogs. I always welcome any constructive criticism!

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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.

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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

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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.

DSCN8600Marsh Harrier-Alkborough Flats