Tag Archives: Little Gull

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!

 

Black Terns are like buses……

2 Sep

30/8/16 A Western Purple Swamphen was founded found at Alkborough Flats early Tuesday afternoon. The thought of getting straight off and beating the crowds passed my mind but having already seen the Minsmere bird at the start of the month and a juvenile Black Tern present since this morning at Hornsea Mere, a bird I’d not seen for nearly three years, proved more tempting. I’d actually done Alkborough Flats on Sunday with JH anyway and as he and ML both need the Swamphen it’s likely on the agenda for Sunday if it doesn’t repeat the Minsmere bird and leave overnight on Friday. Anyway back to Hornsea Mere. Arriving at Kirkholme Point there was no sign of any {real] birders nor the tern. Fortunately met up with ST and assured it did go missing for long times and eventually and picked it up distantly behind tree island and wasn’t too long before it flew back to Kirkholme Point with four Little Gulls [number of the later still well below previous years with a hundred times that number not usual at this time in the past. Don’t know if anyone is counting the evening pre-roost currently.

DSCN2819

Juvenile Black Tern at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point 

DSCN2807

Little Gull at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point

Next went to North Cliff Boat Club. First checked the set-aside to the north for migrants then did a sea-watch but not really the right winds for either. Strangely did have a Black Tern followed shortly by another two that lingered for a while giving me time to be sure I wasn’t ‘moulding birds’ [RL will understand this term!]. Like buses…. Otherwise a single Fulmar was the best bird, although a few years back they would have been a common sight.

Paid a quick visit to the Seaton Road Hide [see here for access details to keep GB off my back] but couldn’t see the tern or any Little Gulls, in fact couldn’t see much. Some guerrilla conservation may be needed if Wassand Estate don’t do something soon. The only notable ‘wildlife’ was a young couple ‘at it’ in the adjacent field. Decency  and the real possibility they were underage kept my hand from the camera.

1/9/16 Had another look at the Black Tern with RL on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately it was frequenting the south side and only came close to Kirkholme Point while RL was buying an ice cream. We finished the day doing a sea-watch with JH off Far Grange. Although nothing special the number of Common Terns early evening were impressive. 14125702_1159611220762191_2063226160474370919_o

Sandwich Tern [above]. Gannet [below] off Far Grange-RL 

14188541_1159612530762060_3325874748369306297_oAlso a couple of close in Red-throated Divers.14125105_1159608704095776_6588690234018673760_o

Red-throated Diver off Far Grange-RL 

10/4/16-Nice ‘start to spring at Tophill Low NR

10 Apr

Spring for me has been slow so far. After a good start over Easter weekend adding Chiffchaff, Little Ringed Plover and three hirundines I have struggle since only managing to add Blackcap in Cottingham this Saturday evening.

Year list 134

Early Sunday morning I was messaged about a male Redstart at Tophill Low NR by South Marsh West. A rare bird for the site and I’ve only seen two in over twenty years. RL had intended visiting the reserve anyway but this would be a nice bonus. However on arriving mid morning it seemed it may not have been seen since early on. Walking south had our first Willow Warbler, singing weakly near East Pond. Fortunately nearing L-shaped hide were told by the “workers” that the Redstart was showing again. Joined DV and although more distant than when first seen did manage to get some usable shots.

DSCN0154

♂.Redstart-Tophill Low NR-South Marsh West

Also a pair of Little Ringed Plover on South Marsh West, the male aggressively keeping a Redshank off it’s territory.

DSCN0175

Little Ringed Plover-Tophill Low NR-South Marsh West

Eventually got bored of trying to get better pictures of the chat and moved to Watton NR hide. Had another two Willow Warblers in South Scrub. Unfortunately no sign of the Egyptian Geese seen earlier, present since last Sunday and maybe the same birds previously at North Cave Wetlands. Did have 58 Curlew, a good count in spring. Also 2 Little Egrets.

Moved on to South Marsh East, starting in ‘back2back’ hide. Picked up the Ruff that had been lingering for a few days. It was walking around with one of 6 Redshank.DSCN0180

Ruff with Redshank-Tophill Low NR-South Marsh East

Also another Little Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher. Had a Little Gull flying in from the north. Joined by RL, who had hadn’t seen the Redstart since I left it, and moved to the other hide where the Little Gull was much closer.

DSCN0198

First winter Little Gull-Tophill Low NR-South Marsh East

Surprised, at this early date and it still being quite cool, that there were several Marsh Frogs in the aquatic vegetation below the hide.

DSCN0201

Marsh Frogs-Tophill Low NR-South Marsh East

ML arrived and we went back to L-shaped hide where the Redstart showed again shortly. Had the Little Gull high over the marshes.

Had lunch in carpark hide. Nothing special on D reservoir but a good number of Sand Martin with two Swallow feeding over it.

Went to check a local Little Owl site.

DSCN0208

Little Owl-East Yorkshire

Finally did Swine Moor. Nothing new but still good numbers of Teal and a few Redshank and Golden Plover. Still early and plenty of water so a good spring passage should be expected. Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of last years drainage.

Year List 136.

 

10/1/16 In a higher gear at Hornsea Mere

10 Jan

5/1/16 Back to work on Tuesday and no chance of getting out. Did add Sparrowhawk to the year list on Cedar Drive though. This year I intend birding at work during the winter months at least and submitting interesting things like Starling numbers to Birdtrack.

Year list 66.

9/1/16 Saturday was the only easy day of the week and manged a ride up to Wauldby Sprogs but saw very few birds except a possible Marsh Tit that kept it’s distance.

10/1/16 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL on Sunday morning to meet JH at Kirkholme Point. The Slavonian Grebe was again showing well but still a bit distant for a good picture.

DSCN9798

Slavonian Grebe-Hornsea Mere

Had a look from the tip but no sign of anything interesting and the colder weather wasn’t making it fun so moved to the shelter of the old hide. Haven’t spent much time there recently but in the past has proved a good place to view from. Proved so today with the drake Long-tailed Duck been found, followed by a first winter Little Gull then the Red-necked Grebe. All proved difficult to see and even more to photograph, with the duck and gull always staying distant but the grebe did manage to drift to just off Swan Island. Also had a male Marsh Harrier flying west in front the hide. Later had the same bird from Wassand Hide.

Had some interesting fungi leaving the hide.

{Mention of the “old hide” is not intended as a invitation to use it!!! but see here}

DSCN9808

Velvet Shank-Hornsea Mere

Moved round to Wassand Hall carpark early afternoon. Walking towards the hide noticed a tit flock in a large tree near the first gate. One larger bird was sat in a branch junction tapping at a nut. I immediately called “Nuthatch” to JH who was able to see it before it flew off. RL had unfortunately gone to get air in a soft tyre. Texted him but although seen again he couldn’t get on it. Nuthatch has been seen in recent years usually on private feeders at the hall, but this was my first sighting. As it seems to like this area maybe putting some nuts near the gate might make it more visible.

Nothing new from Wassand Hide but did have an adult Little Gull flying west.

DSCN9813

Male Marsh Harrier from Wassand Hide

DSCN9821

View to the west of Wassand Hide.

Year list 75

For more recent news from Hornsea Mere check the blog.

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

Little Gulls at Hornsea Mere

28 Jul

Seems to have rained constantly since late yesterday morning but fortunately when RL picked me up early Tuesday afternoon the rain was easing. Took the opportunity to have a look at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point. Maybe as a result of the recent weather a few Little Gulls were roosting on the jetties with Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns.

DSCN8452

Little Gull-Hornsea Mere

DSCN8449

Common Tern-Hornsea Mere

Walking the edge we flushed two Common Sandpipers.

DSCN8459Male House Sparrow-Hornsea Mere
DSCN8464

Colour-ringed Mute Swan-Hornsea Mere

Moved to Far Grange to do a sea watch from the end of golf course. Had a pale-phase Arctic Tern to the south but otherwise only seven Common Scoter flying north and a few Sandwich Terns. Plenty of feeding Sand Martin but no sign of any active nests on the cliff-face. Weather deteriorated so moved to Ulrome to continue our sea watch from the car. Had nothing new and the visibility deteriorated. Thought about a look at Bewholme Hall pond but the rain became torrential. However wasn’t raining approaching Beverley so stopped for a look at Swinemoor from Weel Road. Hoped the recent rain would have had some effect but little surface water in evidence.
DSCN8467

A dry Swinemoor over the R.Hull.

Wasn’t a total disappointment as a Kingfisher flying along the river carrying a large fish was nice. Also several Reed Warblers in the reeds.

Reed Warbler River Hull Swinemoor Beverley 280715 RL

Reed Warbler-R.Hull-RL

Finally managed an insect free blog but anyone missing moths should check my moth blog. Done late June and July is in “draft” will be “published” in a few days.