Tag Archives: Little Egret

Great White Egret and other stuff at Tophill Low NR

2 Aug

2/8/17 I haven’t been to Tophill Low NR for a few weeks but with rain forecast it seemed a good place to be. Despite the title the big white heron wasn’t too important as I had seen one there in May, which despite their increasing occurrence was my first for almost three years and even longer at this site. More interesting was the report of Spotted Flycatcher at Hempholme Meadows yesterday. They had bred in O Wood but I hadn’t managed to see them there. However no sign up there but did see a Ruddy Darter on the way up and photographed some Little Gulls on the straight wall walking back [had counted at least 12 earlier from the visitor centre].

fullsizeoutput_20ac

Ruddy Darter at Tophill Low NR near “top hide”.

fullsizeoutput_20a3

Little Gulls at Tophill Low NR on D res wall.

Also no Kingfishers but had one walking past South Lagoon.

 

fullsizeoutput_209f

Red Admiral at Tophill Low NR wildlife garden.

Headed to South Marsh East where the big egret had been earlier, as well as a variety of waders. No sign of the Great but several of it’s Little cousins.

fullsizeoutput_20ae

Little Egret at Tophill Low on South Marsh East.

Also a couple of Black-tailed Godwit and few Green Sandpiper but no sign of the Wood Sandpiper. The Lapwing regularly got up, as is their habit, taking other waders and some Little Gulls with them.

fullsizeoutput_209e

Green Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East.

Headed for the back-2-back hide in the hope that the missing two would be seen from there but got diverted to Watton NR where as expected an unidentified ‘stint’ was a Dunlin. Nice to see Common Terns feeding young though.

fullsizeoutput_209d

 Common Terns at Tophill Low NR on Watton NR.

Had a look from L-shaped hide where as often moths provided more interest than bird.

Agonopterix alstromeriana, Copper Underwing and Mouse Moth at Tophill Low NR in L-shaped Hide

Back at South Marsh East where I had just missed the Wood Sandpiper but the Great White flew into view.

fullsizeoutput_2094

Great white Egret at Tophill Low on South Marsh East.

fullsizeoutput_2093

Goosander at Tophill Low on South Marsh East.

Back round to the first hide and the Wood Sandpiper was showing but distant. Having opened the visitor centre and with no one else around to past the task on to I went up there with the hope of locking up and going but a had a steady stream of customers. No problem though just made myself a cup of tea and rigged up a ‘scope to show those interested a Little Gull. At least I’ve gone some of my way to paying for my annual permit!

 

Advertisements

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.

fullsizeoutput_2076

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.

fullsizeoutput_2079

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.

fullsizeoutput_207a

Bearded Tit-Alkborough Flats

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

fullsizeoutput_207b

Black-tailed Godwit-Alkborough Flats

fullsizeoutput_2083

Spotted Redshank-Alkborough Flats

fullsizeoutput_207d

Avocets-Alkborough Flats

fullsizeoutput_2080

Little Egret-Alkborough Flats

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.

DSCN2193

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.

DSCN2195

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

DSCN2196

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

DSCN2199

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.

DSCN2198

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.

DSCN2208

One of two Kingfishers on South Lagoon.

DSCN2204

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.

DSCN2225

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.

DSCN2222

Small Copper in O reservoir ditch.

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

DSCN2224

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.

Tophill Low NR

3 Aug

3/8/16 Went to Tophill Low NR with JH on Wednesday afternoon. Started in car park hide. Good number of wildfowl on D reservoir mainly Coot and Tufted Duck with smaller numbers of Pochard and Great Crested Grebe. An immature Little Grebe caused a bit of interest but failing to turn it into one of it’s rarer cousins we moved onto North Lagoon. Thanks to Richard’s water management there was plenty of mud and had 2 Green and a Common Sandpiper as well as a Little Egret.

Moving onto South Marsh East failed to beat the recent Little Egret record of 22 finding only 8 although 11 had been seen this morning.

DSCN2070

Little Egret close to South Marsh East hide

Did find 3 Green Sandpiper and a Greenshank and eventually searching the ducks found a Garganey.

DSCN2076

Green Sandpiper on South Marsh East.

DSCN2077

Greenshank on South Marsh East.

Lost the Garganey behind an island then it or a second flew in under hide. Due to the pale belly was an adult, likely a female.

DSCN2067

Garganey on South  Marsh East

Had another look from back-to-back hide and couldn’t see any Garganey so decided to stick with just one. Had Red-crested Pochard on South Marsh West. Nothing of interest on Watton NR but had a Painted Lady in South Scrub. Other butterflies included several Gatekeepers and a few Red Admirals, Peacock and Meadow Browns.

DSCN2083

Painted Lady in South Scrub

Dragonflies seen were a few Southern Hawkers, Brown Hawker and a Common Darter.

DSCN2087

Common Darter by O reservoir.

31/1/16 Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston [for the 4th year?]

31 Jan

Sunday morning went to Barmston with JH. Met JS on the cliff top. Hadn’t seen the Kumlien’s Gull yet but had yet to check beach to the north where it usually was seen. Walked to where I could get a full view of the beach north of the caravan park but the tide was close to high and there were no gulls on the beach. However there was a good passage of Herring Gulls moving south so kept an eye them while also checking for birds on the sea. Only had a few Red-throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes. The gull movement slowed and was thinking about moving on when I noticed some agitation from two birders nearby. Was moving towards them as they called me. Quickly picked up the Kumlien’s flying over the beach from the the north. Went for my camera but aren’t too good at aerial shots so wasn’t expecting much.

DSCN9930

4th winter Kumlien’s Gull over Barmston beach.

Flew past us towards the outfall. Was glad to have seen it but had hoped for some better shots. Fortunately came back north and eventually settled on the beach were I got several better shots.

DSCN9915

4th winter Kumlien’s Gull-Barmston

Having got my fill checked the waders to the south. Nearly fifty Dunlin but only a few Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Sanderling and no sign of any Purple Sandpipers on the rocks.

Year list 108.

The Kumlien’s Gull was first seen in December 2012. Originally reported as a first winter Iceland Gull it’s dark appearance alerted birders, including Martin Garner, [sad to learn Martin is no longer around to share his knowledge] to the possibility of it being a Kumlien’s. This was confirmed on it’s return in December 2013. There was no sign of it the following winter but a 3rd winter Iceland Gull was seen at Barmston around Easter. This proved elusive but I had a bird fitting the description at Hornsea Mere on 12th April. It was distant but I was left with the feeling “Why isn’t this the Kumlien’s?”.

DSCN6346

3w Iceland Gull at Hornsea Mere-12/4/15 

Worth noting that this time of year, as both a 1st and 2nd winter, the Kumlien’s had showed bleached primaries and wasn’t readily split from an Iceland Gull [see here]. Finally this year it was seen at Hornsea Mere on Kirkholme Point on the afternoon of Sunday 19th January. Annoyingly I’d been at other end at Wassand Hide all morning but had decided to head to Tophill Low NR early afternoon. Checked Barmston the following Sunday and then Tuesday morning so today was third time lucky.

Here are some better pictures taken last week by Tony Dixon.Kumlien's Gull 001

Kumlien’s Gull at Barmton-Tony Dixon

Kumlien's Gull 005

Headed for Hornsea Mere late morning. Checked the fields near Skirlington Market where I’d seen a White-fronted Goose and five Pink-footed Geese with Greylags on Tuesday but no sign today.

DSCN9894

Greylag Geese near Skirlington Market-26/1/16-with White-fronted Goose [above] and Pink-footed Geese [below].

DSCN9890

Had a drake Goosander off Kirkholme Point, my first this year, but couldn’t find anything else, not helped by the heavy drizzle.

DSCN9938

Drake Goosander off Kirkholme Point, Hornsea Mere

Year list 109.

Decided to head for Tophill Low NR instead of Wassand Hide.

Refound the drake Scaup seen yesterday then headed south. A Little Egret was showing well on North Lagoon but no surprise after seeing 19 of them nearby north of High Eske NR on Monday.

DSCN9944

Little Egret on North Lagoon, Tophill Low NR.

Saw nothing else of note but missed a drake Pintail on Watton NR. Had a look for Woodcock behind the old centre but gave up because of heavy drizzle. Lack of any recent interesting gulls didn’t encourage us to hang on till dusk.

More waders at Tophill Low NR

16 Aug

16/8/15 Went to Hornsea Mere with JH on Sunday morning. A Little Stint had been seen on Kirkholme Point earlier but no sign late morning but the the regular Dunlin.

DSCN8792

Dunlin-Hornsea Mere

Had a least five Little Gulls including two on the jetties but disturbed before we got in camera range.

Went round to Wassand Hall. Had a Common Frog was along the woodland walk to the hide.

DSCN8905

Common Frog-Hornsea Mere.

No sign of yesterday’s Red-necked Grebe or little else of notice. A row boat that had somehow missed the boundary signs, after been shown the error of our their ways, gave the cue to leave.

Went on the Bewholme Hall. Had had four Black-tailed Godwit, seven Ruff and 3 Dunlin yesterday and all but the Dunlin seemed to be present today.

Finished the day at Tophill Low NR. Started in car park hide. Found a drake Redhead-like duck, either a hybrid or aberrant Pochard on D reservoir. Also the over summering drake Goldeneye was sat on the steps and a Common Sandpiper flew over.

Next was North Lagoon, the current highlight of the reserve. After missing them last Sunday were glad to see two Wood Sandpipers.

DSCN8933

Wood Sandpipers-N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR

Also a Greenshank and at least eight Green Sandpipers but no Ruff.

DSCN8942

Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper-N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR

DSCN8923

Greenshank-N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR

DSCN8958

Wood Sandpiper-N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR [above and below]

DSCN8964

DSCN8812

Green Sandpiper-N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR

The juvenile Water Rail was still impersonating a Spotted Crake.

DSCN8844

juvenile Water Rail-N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR

Short of time so had a quick look around the south end. Post breeding South Marsh East was quiet but a Wood Sandpiper was seen by friends after I left. Likely from North Lagoon as there were few waders left on a quick visit on the way back south. Did have a large swimming Grass Snake below the first South Marsh East hide but too obscured by vegetation to photograph. One Green Sandpiper on South Marsh West. Little Egret on Watton NR. Also a herd of cattle. This reserve, adjacent to but not part of Tophill Low NR, has finally been sold, by the Environment Agency, to a sympathetic owner who has handed management to the warden Richard Hampshire and his volunteers. As part of this management, cattle from the adjacent farm will be allowed on as conservation grazers as the Belted Galloway do on Hempholme Meadows and South Scrub.
DSCN8976

Cattle grazing Watton NR

DSCN8816

Harlequin Ladybird on Ragwort-South Scrub-Tophill Low NR

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.

DSCN8482

Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats

DSCN8494

DSCN8495

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.

DSCN8505

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.

DSCN8517

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.

DSCN8545

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
DSCN8576

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.

DSCN8556

Likely Tansy Plume on food plant

Vipers Bugloss  near Scunthorpe 020815a RL

Vipers Bugloss-Conesby Quarry-RL

Went on to Alkborough Flats.

DSCN8584

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.

DSCN8588

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