Tag Archives: Old Moors RSPB

2015 in 12 pictures

1 Jan

Intro

This year has been pretty stop/start blog wise. This was partly due to lack of inspiration and then when it’s been interesting lack of time to write. The latter particularly goes for October when three postings were mentally written but never put down. Because of this some of my pictures will not have been used before. Also this year with the demise of Hull Valley Wildlife Group I ended the blog of the same name and posted everything on this blog except for my moth trapping as I revived Cottingham Moths at the same time. Moths and insects in general don’t get the interest that birds do but I feel those who do show an interest will appreciate having them all in the same place.

January

Having missed the Fraisthorpe Little Bustard in 2014, due to work, I was glad it was still present on the 1st. This would have been the bird of the month but lack of a worthwhile photo meant the Wakefield Blyth’s Pipit took it’s place. Originally twitched it on the first day [8/12/14] when RL and I got flight views, including the diagnostic call, and a brief distant sighting perched in a bush. Our second visit on the 4th it gave crippling views. For more see here.

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Blyth’s Pipit-Wakefield

 February

This month’s bird is the Filey drake Surf Scoter. My second in Yorkshire after the Scarborough bird [26/9/97] . Seen on the 15th then again off Scarborough on the 22th.

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Drake Surf Scoter-off Filey Brigg

March

This Small Quaker trapped overnight on the 23th was the first moth trapped this year and new moth for me.

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Small Quaker

April

The bird of the month was only realised in retrospect. Following the report of a Scaup-like hybrid at High Eske NR early in the month I found a similar bird on D reservoir at Tophill Low NR on the 7th. Always distant I thought it was just another hybrid. Later failed to take notice of a wing flap shot by RL. Posted on facebook but raised no interest. Later in the month when Tony Simpson took a series of pictures of it including some just under the middle hide. When these were posted on the Tophill Low Blog, Lee Johnson was quick to realise it was a Lesser Scaup. Difficult to say how twitchable this bird would have been as although a hybrid bird was reported after the initial sighting the description didn’t fit the Lesser Scaup and only Lee admits to have seen and also dismissed this one. There was at least one other hybrid at Hornsea Mere during the month. This was a posting that was in my head but never written but well covered by Richard though.

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Drake Lesser Scaup-Tophill Low NR.

Second for the reserve when the situation was reversed with RL on 9/1/1997 finding and quickly identying a female seen but dismissed by others earlier. This was then only the 2nd female seen in the UK and was very well twitched during it’s prolonged stay till the 20th April.

One post-1997 Tophill Low NR regular wasn’t happy but even if identified inmediately it’s unlikely they would have seen it and even if they had would been lucky to have had the views Tony did.

May

The bird of May was the Holkham Dunes Citril Finch. A world tick but as is the case at major twitches I concentrated on getting good views and photos were secondary. I’m first a birder and although I try to get a record shot I haven’t the equipment or determination [and gall?] to match the photos that will always be managed but others.

With no photos of the Citril Finch the Balearic Woodchat Shrike at Wykeham on the 13th is the bird of the month.

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First summer male Balearic Woodchat Shrike-Wykeham

June

The Gull-billed Tern at Old Moors RSPB on 16th gets the vote.

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Gull-billed Tern with Black-headed Gulls-Old Moor RSPB.

Managed to blog this one so more here. Also later in the month, at the same site, was Little Bittern. Lack of a picture meant there wasn’t a competition though but did managed to blog the twitch.

July

Without a photo of the Little Bittern which I saw on the 5th, this month’s picture is Barred Red. Trapped on the 19th this was a new moth for me.

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Barred Red

August

Grayling at Conesby Quarry near Scunthorpe was a new butterfly for me so is this month’s picture.

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Grayling-Conesby Quarry

For a full account see here.

September

 Dusky Thorn trapped on the 11th was a new moth for me.

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Dusky Thorn

October

No contest for this month’s picture. Although not a great photo the Wilson’s Warbler I saw on the Isle of Lewis on the 17/18th was the twitch of the year.

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Wilson’s Warbler-Port Nis,Lewis

One of three posts mentally composed this month but never written due to lack of time.

November

This Whooper Swan at High Eske NR on the 9th is the best I can do in a quiet month.

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Whooper Swan-High Eske NR

December

The final picture of 2015 is the lingering female Scaup at Hornsea Mere. To be honest the only nature photo I took this month!

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♀.Scaup-Hornsea Mere

Postscript

If things at work go as planned I will likely get out more at least from spring 2016 but I can’t do anything about the quality of bird. Certainly intend to continue blogging next year. Thanks to everyone who has followed my blogs. I always welcome any constructive criticism!

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Long-horned beetle, Belted Galloway and American Wigeon

13 Jul

9/7/15 Following a possible Ring-necked Duck at Tophill Low NR on Tuesday [see here] thought I’d check for it a High Eske NR on Thursday afternoon. No sign of it and nothing else notable bird wise but good to see the Tufted Duck still had seven chicks. Had to satisfy myself with insect. Rewarded early with my first long-horned beetle of the year. DSCN8030

Four-banded Longhorn Beetle-High Eske NR

Also a distinctive hoverfly. DSCN8032

Volucella pellucens

A small herd of Belted Galloway have been grazing Pulfin Bog for a few weeks. Likely from the same stock as the cattle at Tophill Low NR. Seem tamer than the previous Highland Cattle which could be a bit flighty. Also good that they are contained on Pulfin and not free to roam the whole area as meeting even friendly cattle on the narrow track around High Eske NR isn’t fun. DSCN8040

Belted Galloway on Pulfin NR.

On a negative point wasn’t good to see Himalayan Balsam is in force again this summer. A highly invasive garden escape that grows strongly in wetland habit [see here for more details]. DSCN8048

Himalayan Balsam-High Eske NR.

Fortunately there was evidence that clearance was already underway. DSCN8049

Pulled Himalayan Balsam at High Eske NR

Walking back south had a Black-tailed Skimmer but didn’t rest long enough to photograph. Texted by SG that GED had found a drake American Wigeon at North Cave Wetlands NR. Wasn’t even a year tick for me [see here] but was new for the reserve so thought I better go. Arriving at South Hide the wigeon was currently out of view having moved behind an island. However on arrival GD picked it up in open water with a Eurasian Wigeon. Originally asleep but I could pick out the distinctive white-crown. DSCN8059

♂.American Wigeon with Eurasian Wigeon-Main Lake,North Cave Wetlands.

Fortunately did wake up to give better views. DSCN8064

♂.American Wigeon with Eurasian Wigeon-Main Lake,North Cave Wetlands.

The fact it turned up the day one went missing at Old Moors RSPB would suggest the same bird. There were two American Wigeons in the county six weeks ago though. Didn’t bother with it on my visit to Old Moors RSPB ON Sunday [see here] so can’t comment. Not seen on Friday. 12/7/15 Had another visit to North Cave Wetlands NR on Sunday evening. Nothing of note and only manageD to see one adult Mediterranean Gull on Main Lake. No waders, even plovers, except Oystercatcher and Lapwing on Dryham Ings but dID get an interesting combo from Crosslands Hide. DSCN8116

Oystercatcher and Little Grebe on Dryham Ings.

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Gatekeeper-Dryham Lane.

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.