Tag Archives: Long-tailed Duck

Birding from the new Tophill Low NR Visitors Centre

12 Mar

12/3/17 Went to Tophill Low NR with ML and RL on Sunday morning. Started in D reservoir Middle Hide. The long staying female Long-tailed Duck was still present but kept close in the the near side so was difficult to see and even harder to photograph.

fullsizeoutput_1e8b

Female Long-tailed Duck on D reservoir.

The main purpose of the trip was to attend the meeting of those volunteering to help out in the new Visitors Centre. I’ll gloss over any details of the place as Richard will do a better job and some of the more interesting features are yet to be completed. The main room of visitors centre features full height windows over looking the reservoir but because of the essential anti-birdstrike coating they aren’t optically perfect. They give a good panoramic view but to get a better look or take pictures the adjacent ‘members hide’ is essential. Only has a fraction of the capacity of the now demolished Carpark Hide but being higher and nearer the reservoir the viewing is an improvement.

fullsizeoutput_1e86

Pair of Red-crested Pochard on D reservoir

Also can again view the reservoir with out the long muddy walk to Middle Hide.

There are feeders viewable from a side window and these seem fine for photography.

 

fullsizeoutput_1e82

Siskin on Visitors Centre feeders.

 

A few Chiffchaff are now singing but couldn’t hear the one by South Lagoon on the way out. Nothing else of interest reported on the reserve but with migrants; including Garganey,  Little Ringed Plover and Sand Martin; seen in the county this weekend, things should get interesting soon.

 

Geese at Hornsea Mere

4 Feb

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.

16487131_1315204575202854_2438540366326101549_o

♀.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.

fullsizeoutput_1e63

‘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.

fullsizeoutput_1e62

Russian White-fronted Geese at Hornsea Mere

fullsizeoutput_1e61

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.

fullsizeoutput_1e60

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.

Long-tailed Duck bonanza at Hornsea Mere

15 Nov

14/11/16 Went to High Eske NR on Monday morning. Walking north had seven Whooper Swans on Arram Carrs opposite Leven Canal entrance. Checked Leven Carrs from the river bank then walked the canal as far as Waterloo bridge but no sign of the eight Short-eared Owls seen on Sunday. Usually find late afternoon best for Short-eared Owls but was tied up later [see below]. Weather permitting will try again later in the week.

15/11/16 Went out with RL and ML on Tuesday morning. Started at Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide. At this time of day the light makes viewing the south side difficult and we failed to find the Smew in it’s usual place. We did though have the regular White-fronted Goose family swimming out from the shore to the west.fullsizeoutput_1a85

European White-fronted Geese at Hornsea Mere

Later I found another adult among the Greylags off ‘tree island’. Again a Long-tailed Duck appear between us and Swan Island although further out than on Sunday. GB came into the hide and on being shown the duck another three flew past. Although mobile a nice male and the original or a similar bird did show well in front of us later. Also had a late Migrant Hawker over the reeds in front of the hide.fullsizeoutput_1a79

Long-tailed Ducks at Hornsea Mere

fullsizeoutput_1a8aLater I had a Common Scoter flying towards Decoy Bay with a second bird close behind.

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. No sign of the Grey Phalarope since Sunday but a redhead Smew had been seen on Watton NR. Walked south and had a very late Common Darter near South Lagoon [Two Migrant Hawker had been seen at East Pond on Sunday]. However on reaching Watton NR hide there was no sign of the Smew and the bird numbers hinted at a recent disturbance. Did have four Little Egret as well as the pale Common Buzzard.15129456_1232459953477317_1501047782318437426_o

Pale Common Buzzard over Watton Carrs

There had been a good number of ducks on O reservoir but no sign of the Smew there on a second look. Did the roost on D reservoir. No sign of the Smew or any interesting gulls. The Smew may have gone onto the river then returned to Watton NR later but may be worth checking High Eske NR tomorrow. With the small number of Smew this year seems likely the there is just one mobile bird locally, first been seen at High Eske NR on the 30th October then quickly moving to Tophill Low NR then Hornsea Mere.dscn3518

The new Tophill Low NR visitors centre nearing completion.

RIP Holly

My dog Holly following a visit to the vet on Monday afternoon was put down today. She along with Wilbur have occasionally featured in my Hull Valley Blog.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Holly in her prime

Anyone interested moths check, likely the last post this year of, my Cottingham Moth blog.

Dipping the Cayton Bay Eastern Black Redstart

13 Nov

11/11/16 Went to High Eske NR on Friday afternoon. Three Whooper Swans briefly with the Mute Swans and again a Pink-footed Goose with the feral Greylags.fullsizeoutput_1a6c

Whooper Swans at High Eske NR

A Water Rail was squealing in the south-east corner and eventually showed well. fullsizeoutput_1a6d

Water Rail at High Eske NR

Got too cold after sunset so left early.

13/11/16 Nice on Sunday morning so headed to Cayton Bay with RL and ML. dscn3483

Interesting graffiti on a bunker at Cayton Bay.

Walking south along the beach had four Stonechats on the cliff face before reaching the rocks at the south end.

fullsizeoutput_1a76

Male Stonechat at Cayton Bay.

Gave it until early afternoon but there was no sign of the Eastern Black Redstart. Met up with DV. He had already missed it on Wednesday and the bird had been tricky all week. Had a few Rock Pipits and Robin.

Went to Hornsea Mere for the rest of the afternoon. The Smew, Long-tailed Duck, three Scaup, White-fronted Goose and two Tundra Bean Geese had been seen earlier. Check the Merebirders blog for more recent sightings. RL again picked up the Smew close to the south shore and the three Scaup in the bay from Seaton Road Hide. Later on I picked up the Long-tailed Duck at very close range. We all got some decent pictures before the light got too bad.fullsizeoutput_1a75

Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere

The Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

9 Nov

9/11/16 Started Wednesday in Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide with RL and ML. On Sunday we’d spent a cold but productive few hours there finding Long-tailed Duck and seeing Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter, European White-fronted Geese and a Pink-footed Goose. Unfortunately bad light and mostly too distant for photography. 14991465_1221957371194242_3986297985049332242_o

Long-tailed Duck at Hornsea Mere-RL 

14918783_1221986577857988_141693506842200523_o

Common Scoter at Hornsea Mere-RL 

Also had a Marsh Harrier persistently hovering over an unidentified small duck or grebe which repeatedly dived to get away.14940009_1221985707858075_8585892786404413223_o

Marsh Harrier harassing an unidentified bird at Hornsea Mere-RL 

On Tuesday Smew and Black-necked Grebe had also been reported. Today was also wet and cold. Getting into the hide a drake Pintail and tatty male Goosander were close in.

15000819_1225384550851524_5147549337661324951_o

Drake Goosander at Hornsea Mere-RL 

15002465_1225384944184818_4045430824003211126_o

Drake Pintail at Hornsea Mere-RL 

Roy quickly picked up the redhead Smew and Common Scoter but both close to the opposite shore. One Pink-footed Goose was still with the feral geese off Kirkholme Point but saw no other ‘wild’ geese. I found two redhead Goosander, one looking rather small. Later what may have been the smaller ‘goosander’ was seen again and identified as a Red-breasted Merganser. Also surprise to see a small flock of Grey Plover flying west.

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. A Grey Phalarope was found by JB on Tuesday morning. Still reported today at the south end of D reservoir. Couldn’t initially see it from Car park hide but RL shortly found it and we got a few record shots before it again was obscured by the wall.fullsizeoutput_1a64

Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

This is my 3rd Grey Phalarope for Tophill Low NR and two years since the last one in November 2014.

Had a look at Swine Moor on the way back where there was still good numbers of Wigeon and Teal.

If your interested in moths please check my updated Moth Blog

Winter wildfowl at High Eske NR

27 Oct

25/10/16 Tuesday was a frustrating day. In a the morning a mobile Pine Bunting was seen at  Spurn Point finally long enough to identify at Westmere Farm before flying off never to be seen again. A bogey bird for me. Then early afternoon a probable Eastern Black Redstart was reported at Easington cemy. Had seen one on Holy Island in November 2011 but missed the Scalby bird in late in 2014.

img_1692

Eastern Black Redstart-Holy Island

Decided to go to Welton Waters so as not to waste the day hanging around but not too difficult to twitch from if confirmed. Unfortunately it was after dark before further news. In the meantime had a fairly quiet afternoon. As of recently Welton Water was a disappointment although as it was still mild I had a few Common Darter.dscn3314

Common Darter near Brough Angling Complex

Walked the full circuit of the pits which meant I got back to the airfield near dusk. On the section of foreshore visible near the airfield I added five Bar-tailed Godwits to the Black-tailed I’d seen earlier as well as two Dunlin. Further on I found to Stonechat roosting in the reeds, a year tick. By this time the Starlings were pouring into the Brough Airfield Marsh reeds. I am useless with anything over a few hundred but met GD coming the other way. having followed the murmuration from North Cave Wetlands, and we agree there were ten of thousands. Unfortunately he’d missed the two Marsh Harriers that had cause some excitement among the Starlings earlier.

27/10/16 Tuesday seems to have been the last blast of the the current east coast migrate extravaganza which was a bit of a relief as I wasn’t feeling to good on Wednesday however on Thursday I felt fit enough to go to High Eske NR mid afternoon. I’d had a solitary Whooper Swan there at dusk on Sunday so wasn’t surprised to see it among the Greylags feeding in the fields as I walked down from High Eske Farm.fullsizeoutput_1a31

Whooper Swan with feral Greylag-High Eske Farm

They all flew onto the borrow pit as I passed then later to fields just south of Leven Canal. Other than the geese the wildfowl number are still low with only Tufted Duck reaching over a hundred with the rest barely in double figures. A redhead Goosander was new in and there were now three Goldeneye. I’d had thirteen Russian White-fronted Geese during the big goose movement mid month. Walked the perimeter but added little then headed to Leven Canal. Passing the goose flock found the single Pink-footed Goose that is currently with them. Had little on Leven Carrs so headed back south to check the pit before it got too dark. Surprised to see the Whooper on it’s own back at the farm then onto the pit. In the fading light was pleased to see a Long-tailed Duck, only my second for the site in thirty years.fullsizeoutput_1a30

Long-tailed Duck in the dark-High Eske NR

Had a few Little Egrets flying in. Didn’t equal the eight from Sunday, all from the south, but did see that they were dropping in at the turtle pool.dscn3330

Sunset at High Eske NR

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.