Tag Archives: Little Owl

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.

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♂.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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Waders on the move but still mainly insects.

22 Jul

14/7/15 Went to High Eske NR on Tuesday afternoon. A warm calm day so checked for Banded Demoiselles on the river. Had seen them for the 1st time last summer and quickly located a small number around a pack of weed from the south-east corner of the reserve. Since have heard they are also nearby at Hull Bridge.DSCN8138

Banded Demoiselle-High Eske NR

The summer islands were exposed and briefly held c30 Lapwings. Also the first two returning Common Sandpipers and a Little Ringed Plover. However the main interest [for me?!] was still insects. Had a good number of Beautiful China-marks. The typical habit for this species of moth but my first sighting here and only my second record, the first at Tophill Low NR in July 2011.

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Beautiful China-mark-High Eske NR

Also a Common Wave was only my third record, one also here and the one trapped in Cottingham.
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Common Wave-High Eske NR

Silver-ground Carpet was also new for the year.DSCN8155

Silver-ground Carpet-High Eske NR

Had my first Narrow-bordred Five-spot Burnet for 2015 on Pulfin NR.
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Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet-High Eske NR

DSCN8157Red Admiral-High Eske NR

Again had a Little Owl on power-lines just to the north of the nature reserve but again very flighty.

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Little Owl-High Eske NR

Someone had put up a notice by the borrow pit, Initially thought it was genuine but quickly realised it was very tongue in cheek.DSCN8183Could have been written by me but ultimately it just isn’t possible to warden such a area, particularly when the EA lack the resources [or will?] to enforce the rules that do exist. The bit about swimming is particularly ironic as on my next visit on Friday, only a few hours after schools had broken up, there were four lads swimming in the pit and walking on the permanent island. Fortunately too late to disturb breeding birds but does put me off visiting for the next six weeks.

18/7/15 Went to Welton Waters on Saturday where eight Black-tailed Godwits on the foreshore was the best thing.
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Black-tailed Godwit-Welton Waters.

Also plenty of butterflies.

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Comma-Welton Waters.

19/7/15 Went to Hornsea Mere with ML, RL and JH on Sunday morning. Regular heavy showers and the best birds were several family parties of Common Terns.

Went to Tophill Low NR in the afternoon. Had a eclipse drake Goldeneye close to D reservoir Carpark Hide. A later visit to South Marsh West confirmed it to be the apparently flightless bird that had been summering there [see here].

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Goldeneye-D res-Tophill Low NR

There we re four Little Egrets on North Lagoon including one close to the hide.

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Little Egret-N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR

Plenty of Southern Hawkers on the wing including one at rest near the lagoons.

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Southern Hawker-Tophill Low NR

The main reason for our visit though was for Richard Hampshire reserve talk. Fascinating to hear about and see pictures of the construction of the new drain from the lagoons to south marshes which will allow better control of water levels as well as hopefully improving the nutrient levels. Also an update on plans for the new visitors centre.

20/7/15 Had a brief visit to North Ferriby Riverside Walkway on Monday morning. Has matured greatly since my last visit a few years back and now looking good for migrant songbirds in the right conditions. Also had my first Shaded Broad-bar for 2015. A single Marbled White butterfly was a surprise.
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Shaded Broad-bar-N.Ferriby Riverside Walkway.

Went to Wilfholme Landing with RL in the afternoon in the hope of finding Banded Demoiselle within the Tophill Low NR recording area but windy and turning to rain. Did however have good views of Emperor Dragonfly and Brown Hawker on Barmston Drain.

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Silver Y-Wilfholme Landing

Moved on to Tophill Low NR. Now five Little Egrets on North Lagoon with a Grey Heron adding some spice.

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Grey Heron with Little Egrets on N.Lagoon-Tophill Low NR

Also had a Whimbrel flying south but didn’t relocate it at the south end. Water levels on North Lagoon looking good for a Spotted Crake in the near future.

Had our first two Green Sandpiper this year for the site on Watton NR.

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Green Sandpiper-Watton NR

Also the gruesome sight of a Lesser Black-backed Gull flying in with then slowly swallowing a Moorhen chick.

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Lesser Black-backed Gull devouring a Moorhen Chick-Watton NR

Waiting in the heat for Little Bittern

7 Jul

29/6/15 Last days of June finally brought some hot weather. On Monday with recent reports of Marbled White on the wing at Kiplingcotes thought another visit might be worthwhile [see here and here]. Started again at the station.

DSCN7850Wasn’t too promising as I’ve usually had them early on but did have a few butterflies including my first Large Skippers.
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Meadow Brown-near Kiplingcotes Station.

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Large Skipper-near Kiplingcotes Station

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Ringlet-near Kiplingcotes Station

Finally had a Marbled White as I drew parallel with Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit NR but it promptly flew over the fence into the reserve. The reserve itself was initially unpromising. Saw no butterflies but flushed a Little Owl from a thorn bush. Fortunately it flew to the scrub at the east end and I was able to slowly approach with in range of a reasonable picture. It again flew a short distance, this time out of view. This owl had been seen by a recent “Birding with Flowers” group.

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Little Owl-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

In the shelter of the scrub found two Marbled White at rest on Knapweed.
DSCN7847                                                            Marbled White on Knapweed-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

30/6/15 Tuesday afternoon went to North Cave Wetlands NR. Hoped for recent Green Sandpiper as well as the Wood Sandpiper but neither were about.

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Rabbit-North Cave Wetlands NR

Had a few dragonflies including Emperor which didn’t linger and Four-spotted Chaser that did.

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Four-spotted Chaser-North Cave Wetlands NR

Also a good number of butterflies.DSCN7895

Speckled Wood-North Cave Wetlands NR

A male Little Bittern was reported at Old Moors RSPB late afternoon but in an area not normally accessible so didn’t seem any need to panic yet. The species however was high on my wanted list for Yorkshire not being around for the Potteric Carrs breeders in the eighties.

Had several damselflies along the western path.

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Blue-tailed Damselfly-North Cave Wetlands NR

Joined SG in South Hide to count Mediterranean Gulls. Had the breeding pair who appeared to be trying to drive off their two juveniles and start courting again. Also a second summer that was new for me. Moved to Crosslands Hide where we had up to two different adults. A pair is suspected to be nesting out of sight on Dryham Ings.

The Little Bittern had been seen again and access to the reedbed arranged. Didn’t feel up to doing the trip on my own and considered getting a lift but couldn’t cope with a late night and as it turned out a pointless wait until dusk would have been the result. However Wednesday morning it was seen again. Had something on that evening so couldn’t go after work but again was fortunate as not reported after early afternoon. Did much the same the rest of the week only occasionally seen at a time when I might of been there but the heat and a heavy work load made a trip out of the question.

3/7/15 Workload lighter on Friday and made a trip to High Eske NR late afternoon. Highlight was a Green Sandpiper flying off. Otherwise three Common Terns, over flying Little Egret and a recent brood of eight Tufted Duck ducklings were only notable birds.

5/7/15 Helped by not going out on Saturday afternoon managed to hype myself up for a early ride to Old Moors RSPB on Sunday morning. The main reason for an early start was it seemed the best time to see it but also thought the earlier the better would mean a less packed hide and with recent tropical heat I was worried a later arrival could mean the hide becoming like the “Black hole of Calcutta”. Due to work related hand problems as well as a mental problem with long rides including motorways I had some trepidation. Did have some bad pains in my right hand for the first few motorway miles but didn’t get bad enough to turn back. Also the early start meant little traffic so didn’t feel stressed. The only stressful moment was along the M18 when approaching the M180 slip-road a HGV decided to turn right at the last moment. Fortunately I wasn’t parallel and managed to pull into the outer lane. No surprise the driver appeared to be using a smart phone. Having been to the reserve recently remembered the route and arrived with out consulting the map. In Bittern Hide all the seats were taken but there was plenty of standing room. Had already been seen so could relax a bit and hope it showed again soon. Didn’t have to wait long before it was picked up in a distant willow. Wasn’t showing well but at least I’d seen it. Eventually it crawled to the top then launched itself giving the views needed for tick it. Texted RL that I would easily get back to join him and ML for a bit of local birding [in the valley is no longer in use!]. While doing this I missed a close fly-by but was already happy with what I’d seen. We all left the hide as it appeared to be visible from Bittern bus stop. Couldn’t see it on the ground but it again it flew this time passing with in a few metres before disappearing behind Bittern Hide. Just too quick and close to manage a picture although a guy with a long lens got some great shots.

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“It’s just flown behind that bush”. Honest.

On the way back had another stressful moment when a Landrover stopped belong the give way lines at the Rowley junction then for some reason started to edge out more as I got close. Some people need taking out and slapping! Got home with time to empty the moth trap and watch Andrew Marr before being picked up by RL. Headed to Kilnsea where a White-rumped Sandpiper on Beacon Ponds would be a tick for ML. Parked at Kilnsea Wetlands and walked to Long Bank. The bird was initially motionless on shingle bank with nesting Little Terns, a year tick. So distant and partially hidden it took a while to be convinced it was a bird and not just a “shape”. Eventually after everything was flushed it took to feeding on the waters edge. Still initially difficult to separate from a Little Stint but flew regularly showing the white rump. Another year tick was Sandwich Tern.

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Extreme record shot-White-rumped Sandpiper-Beacon Ponds

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Tern raft with Avocet-Beacon Ponds

Next went to Hornsea Mere. Up to a thousand Little Gulls have been seen in the evening but none on view this afternoon.

Headed for Brough Haven to check breeding Marsh Harriers but a text from PS about a Quail at Wauldby caused plan change. Parked at the entrance to Wauldby Manor Farm where after a short walk we joined PS. Followed him to a large poppy field passing a pond swarming with dragonflies on the way.

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The Quail field-Wauldby Manor Farm.

The Quail was still calling if a bit distant. Also a Corn Bunting was singing from power-lines. A local rarity now although PS has had them regularly in area for years. Likely a result of organic farming methods.

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Distant singing Corn Bunting on power-lines-Wauldby Manor Farm.

Had a baby Common Frog walking back.

DSCN7940Baby Common Frog-Wauldby Manor Farm.

Finally made it to Brough Haven to count the Marsh Harriers but again few waders.

Postscript

Not long after I left Old Moors RSPB access to the reedbeds was suspended due to fear of birders going too far disturbing a Bittern feeding young. Whether a coincidence or the fact that the Little Bittern was also being flushed it has since been much more elusive and on Tuesday it wasn’t seen until early afternoon. The White-rumped Sandpiper remains.