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.
♀.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.
‘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.
Russian White-fronted Geese at Hornsea Mere
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.
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.
11/1/17 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL on Wednesday morning. Although windy viewing wasn’t too bad but couldn’t find the Great Northern Diver or Long-tailed Duck [see here]. Best of it was Peregrine lingering around Swan island and occasionally half-heartedly stooping at Black-headed Gulls. Moved round to Kirkholme Point where I found a Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull.
Norwegian ringed Black-headed Gull-Hornsea Mere
Moved to the sea-front where recently a few white-winged gulls had been seen. Picked out a Glaucous Gull on the sea off the Leisure Centre car park. Flew towards us then headed north. Went in hot pursuit and eventually, after been regularly flushed by dogs, it settled on the beach below the northern car park, remembered by long time local birders as previous site of the sea-watching shelter. Seemed happy and got close enough for some decent pictures.
Juvenile Glaucous Gull-Hornsea sea-front
We headed north, checking the sea at a few sites, as far as Barmston but found nothing else. On the way up again failed to find any geese in the Low Skirlington area. Headed back south to Fosse Hill Pond where we added a first winter Mediterranean Gull as well as Kingfisher.
Year List: 93
1w Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed Gull-Fosse Hill Pond
Finished the day back at Hornsea Mere hoping for another white-winged gull.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Juvenile Glaucous Gull with Common Gull and Greylag Goose on D reservoir-Tophill Low NR
Year List: 74
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.
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.
Year List: 62
8/12/16 Started Thursday morning with RL and ML at Hornsea Mere. Three Long-tailed Ducks and a Smew had been reported on Monday. With the Watton NR likely to have frozen over seems likely the Smew was from there. It hasn’t been reported at either sites since. With the clearing heavy rain it was visibility rather than the sun that made viewing difficult. Again we had nothing scarce so moved on to Bewholme Hall. Good numbers of Wigeon and Teal by the pond. Had a look for geese in the Skipsea area. A good flock near The Lakes at Far Grange but were all Greylags but did have a male Marsh Harrier over. Had look at the sea first from Atwick caravan park. where we had a few Red-throated Divers, then Ulrome and finally Barmston. Had a Purple Sandpiper on the rocks below the car park, joined by a Turnstone.
Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone on rocks below Barmston car park
Headed north hoping for the Kumlien’s Gull. My first scope of distant gulls on the beach found the intermittently report Hooded Crow with Carrion Crows just beyond. A year tick at least. I had talked about going for the Masked Wagtail in south Wales today, which currently wouldn’t even be a year tick [unless you subscribe to the UK500 taxonomy]. Walking up had a circa forty Ringed Plover with a smaller number of Dunlin and a Sanderling. Eventually drew close to the Crows, now in fields just south of Fraisthorpe wind-farm.
Hooded and Carrion Crow near Fraisthorpe wind-farm
Got a few photos although they would fly if we got too close. Also had a Marsh Harrier over. Walking back had the Hoodie again on the beach.
Hooded Crow on Barmston beach
Rainbow over the sea off Barmston