Tag Archives: Stonechat

2017 in 12 pictures

2 Jan

Intro

The beginning of the year was interesting, reflexed in the number of posts, but in contrast to 2016 there was a very poor return wader passage followed by a predominance of westerly winds leading to little interest on the Yorkshire coast then winter has, so far, been very poor for rarer wildfowl. Thus the blog has been quiet the second half of the year. I have not posted in Cottingham Moths this year. I started but due to technical problems lost the first post and never bothered starting again. It was a poor year anyway but a few highlights will feature below. I hope to start again next year, maybe with a different approach.

January

Although not a great picture this shot of the male Hooded Merganser at Barr Loch, Renfrewshire on the 21st was a desperate tick for me. Only seen two previous but the first in Nottinghamshire [can’t remember the date!] was an obvious escape on first site, the second at Scaling Dam, Cleveland felt more reliable initially but was quickly deemed an escape also. Always a tricky one to judge but this one had been around a few weeks and hadn’t given any reason to be damned. Also having arrived in late 2016 I only had to wait 9 months for the BBRC to deem it kosher.

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Drake Hooded Merganser-Barr Loch,Renfrewshire-21/1/17

February

In a fairly quiet month February I go for a mammal in a Short-tailed Field Vole at Raywell. See here for the full account.

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Short-tailed Field Vole-Wauldby Scrogs, Raywell

March

Two close contenders for this month but as one appears in the”top ten viewed posts” for the year I will go for the male Pine Bunting at Dunnington near York. One of my bogey birds having had untickable views of one in South Yorkshire and missed another at Filey after it was flushed by a dog then for the fields to be shut, like much of the country, because of Foot and Mouth. Originally saw the bird in January, a few days after it had been found, on the way back from the Hooded Merganser. Wasn’t too happy with the views, in fact wondered whether I should have counted my first unticked bird, but a return visit 7th March provide much better views when it showed regularly in a hedge with finches and buntings in good weather and to a smaller less excited crowd with no-one flushing the bird in an attempt to get the best shot.

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Male Pine Bunting-Dunnington, N.Yorks.

April

April was poor for birds so Shoulder Stripe moth caught on the 9th, a first for me, is this month’s picture

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Shoulder Stripe moth

May

Early 2017 was very good for white-winged gulls so with little else of note this month I go for the Iceland Gull that give great views at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point for a few weeks in May and June.

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Juvenile Iceland Gull-Hornsea Mere

June

Best bird this month was Black-browed Albatross at Bempton Cliffs RSPB. Missed one in October 2016, setting off too late for the Eastern Crowned Warbler, which was followed by several fly throughs but none lingering in 2016 before one on 28th June decided to hang on long enough for RL and I to make a less than hectic trip and despite it departing as we reached the cliff top gave us tickable but not photographical views. Also earlier in the months on the 11th saw Elegant Tern at Pagham Harbour which was beyond useful photographic range. Had seen one in Ireland at Lady’s Island Lake,Co.Wexford in July 1999 so a UK tick but as this one was previously ringed France also a known Elegant Tern. Had two new moths durning the month so the more photogenic, Scorched Wing is this month’s picture.

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Scorched Wing moth

July

Probably the best month of 2017. My choice is the Pacific Golden Plover at North Cave Wetlands on 21st. A site tick and my first since the Brough Haven bird almost 17 years to the day. Full account here.

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Pacific Golden Plover-North Cave Wetlands

August

This month’s picture is another moth [making up for not posting in Cottingham Moths this year!] This Magpie Moth was found in hedgerow north of Millbeck Wildlife area in Cottingham on 11th. A first for me and the Marsh Harrier that flew over at the same time was my first for the village.

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Magpie Moth-Cottingham

September

This month it’s the Ryhope Scops Owl. The Lewis American Redstart was the other candidate but the fact the owl was totally self twitched pushes it to the front. Full account here.

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Scops Owl-Ryhope, Co.Durham

October

Although a let down compared with last year October still offered a few choices. If I’d got a picture of the Richardson’s Cackling Goose at Budle Bay, Northumberland, that would have been the obvious choice, but without the Great White Egret at High Eske NR is the the next best, being surprisingly my first for the site and only the second certain record despite the number of records just north at Tophill Low NR. First seen on the 3rd, the photograph was taken on the 7th. Found another at North Cave Wetlands on the 4th where the possibility of it being the same bird continuing south did cross my mind but but subsequent multiple sighting the area proved this unlikely. Only added the species to the latter site list on 24th September.

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Great White Egret-R.Hull N.of High Eske NR.

November

This month it’s a Little Egret, not a rare bird but still an unusual bird to see in your local park. Taken on the 7th it was often seen along a drain by Millhouse Woods Lane Water Works in Cottingham until the freeze in early December [including some non birder fellow dog walkers]. Possibly a different bird was seen on the other side of the village in fields south of Haltemprice Farm in December.

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Little Egret-Millbeck Wildlife area, Cottingham

December

Little choice with the last one as the pair of Stonechat present in Willerby at Haltemprice Farm {Abbey} ruin since October were the only nature photographs I took this month. The species winter here most years. More here.

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Stonechat-Haltemprice Farm, Willerby

Top 10 posts of 2017 [viewing figures]

1. Birding from the new Tophill Low NR Visitors Centre

2. Scops Owl in Co.Durham

3. Eastern Lesser Whitethroat in Cottingham

4. Stejnegers Stonechat at Spurn Point From 2016 likely boosted by the Stonechat’s upgrade to full species from 2018

5. Scarborough A day of winter birding with plenty to see.

6. Pectoral Sandpiper at Tophill Low NR Another from 2016 reflecting the interest in the site. No Pec Sand in 2017!

7. Eastern Black Redstart in Skinningrove From the end of December 2017 so most of the interest was in early 2017.

8. Geese at Hornsea Mere

9. Great White Egret and other stuff at Tophill Low NR

10. Twitching Waxwing with Wilbur A dog-walk/twitch to Hull.

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Stonechat at Haltemprice Farm, Willerby

19 Dec

19/12/17 Tuesday morning, from the unfrozen pond and lack of frost on the roof of the ‘summerhouse’ I could tell it was warmer than recent days. A coat was still required though.fullsizeoutput_1df9 With out any prompting the dog is currently alternating between our two main walks, although can be wilful if I try to go somewhere he doesn’t fancy. As yesterday was north to the KGV Rec, today it was south towards Haltemprice Farm, Willerby. How far we actually get is unpredictable but today dog was happy to walk as far as the farm ruins. One advantage of cold weather is, away from possibly icy pavements, the going across the fields can a lot easier. Today’s route can get to resemble the Somme at times but although getting muddy wasn’t too bad today. A few Stonechat have been regular in the scrub just to the north of the old farm building. I hadn’t seen them since late November but today had a female in the area directly east of the ruins, joined by a smarter male. Can get closer to them here so managed some better shots than usual.

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Stonechat-Haltemprice Farm, Willerby

Checked the Willerby and Derringham Flood Alleviation Scheme just to the south. Only gulls, corvids and a few Mallard but a Wood Sandpiper seen in October proves this area is worth keeping an eye on.

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Wood Sandpiper-Willerby and Derringham Flood Alleviation Scheme-10/10/2017

The dog had decide he’d gone far enough so headed back north. No sign of the Kingfisher I’d seen in the area on the last two trips.

As it’s nearly Christmas a picture of an approachable Robin at Jone’s Farm seems right.

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Robin-Jone’s Farm, Cottingham

Is no surprise these days to see a Buzzard flying south being mobbed by Crows and gulls as I neared The Garth.

Scarborough

15 Jan

15/1/17 Sunday morning headed for Scarborough with RL and ML.

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Scarborough Harbour

Started at the harbour where we quickly picked up one each of the Black-necked Grebes and Great Northern Divers currently present.

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Great Northern Diver in Scarborough Harbour

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Black-necked Grebe in Scarborough Harbour

Soon had the second diver, the two occasionally surfacing close together. Walked round to the other side of the harbour where the we located the second grebe.

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Cormorants in Scarborough Harbour.

Near the bridge added a approachable Rock Pipit.

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Rock Pipit at Scarborough harbour

Looking out the sea had a juvenile Glaucous Gull in flight.

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Glaucous Gull off Scarborough Harbour

On the sideway added Shag, with the Cormorants.

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Shag and Cormorant in Scarborough Harbour

Moved to Marine Drive, parking near Albert Park Cafe. Initially couldn’t locate any Black Redstarts until we met up with a local birder who had just been watching one with two Stonechat nearby.

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Black Redstart on Marine Drive, Scarborough

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Stonechat on Marine Drive, Scarborough

Finally went to Scalby Mills car park where a juvenile Glaucous Gull was on the rocks but usually obscured by other gulls.

 

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Glaucous Gull with Herring Gulls at Scalby Mills, Scarborough

Year List:- 101

Glaucous Gull at Tophill Low NR

5 Jan

4/1/17 On Wednesday had a walk round Willerby Carrs with the dog. A few minor year ticks but the highlight was a Stonechat by Haltemprice Farm. Unfortunately mobile and difficult to get close to.

Year List: 66

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Stonechat at Haltemprice Farm near Hull

5/1/17 Went to Hornsea Mere with ML and RL on Thursday morning. Managed to pick up the two Long-tailed Ducks but distance nearer the south shore. Moved on to Fossehill Pond where there were plenty of gulls but nothing of note. Headed to Tophill Low NR picking up a flock of Grey Partridge near Hutton Cranswick.

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Grey Partridge near Little Common Farm, Cranswick

At Tophill Low NR we headed to the feeders where I got Coal Tit for the year. Next North Marsh where we had the regular experience of been told how well the Otters had shown well earlier. Didn’t give it too long but manage a Water Rail at least. Could hear geese on D reservoir so went to check them from Middle Hide. Only could find a Pink-footed Goose among the Greylags. We were intending to do the gulls anyway so decide to stay put. While waiting for the gulls had two Peregrine over Decoy Fields, hitting the large number of Woodpigeon. The Long-tailed Duck hadn’t been seen for a few days and it was on surprise to find it again under where car park used to be.

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The now gone car park hide with new centre [for more on latter see here].

Although not in great numbers gulls started dropping in. With several white-winged gulls seen in Yorkshire last night they were on our minds and it wasn’t too unexpected when RL said he had got a Glaucous Gull. The juvenile gull was fortunately quite close and although light wasn’t great we all managed to fire off several shots. My first since almost exactly five years ago, again on D reservoir on 15th January 2012.

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Juvenile Glaucous Gull with Common Gull and Greylag Goose on D reservoir-Tophill Low NR

Year List: 74

Waxwings at last

27 Dec

26/12/16 Haven’t seen a Waxwing since the big influx of 2012/13 during which I stumbled on several flocks. My last been in Cottingham on Southwood Road on April 6th. There have been small numbers in the intervening years no long stayers locally in East Yorkshire. This autumn there has been a big influx but no had so far locally. Early Boxing Day afternoon a got a report from RL of one found in Hull on Boothferry Road by EC. Unfortunately it was that time of year when family gets in the way of birding. Fortunately had had a good walk round Cottingham with the dog earlier, the highlight being a Woodcock flushed by Wilbur in fields off Dunswell Road.

27/12/16 A larger flock of Waxwing had been found at the regular site at Hessle Sainsbury’s later on Monday afternoon. Headed there Tuesday morning with ML and RL. The flock was immediately visible in trees by the car park, although perversely most photographers at least were standing under a empty berry tree in the hope of the classic berry eating shot. dscn3712

Waiting for the Waxwings on berries at Hessle Sainsbury’s

Anyway we got several shots with out any competition before trying for the berry shot but although I did get a few the birds were very nervous there.

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Waxwings at Hessle Sainsbury’s

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And finally on berries

Next back tracked to Costello playing fields where we’d seen several Goosander from the road earlier. fullsizeoutput_1dee

Goosander in Hull on Costello Playing fields lake.

Good a few shots then headed to Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide. Had a Long-tailed Duck although again distant being nearer the southern shore. Also had a cream-crowned Marsh Harrier over.

A flock of Snow Bunting had been regular at Barmston last week so went there next. Walked nearly as far as Fraisthorpe wind-farm but saw no Snow Bunting but did have good numbers of Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Skylark, as well two Stonechat.fullsizeoutput_1def

One of two Stonechat at Barmston

Also had one of the two Hooded Crow in the area although only in flight at a distance. Had had better views of Hooded Crow there earlier this month.fullsizeoutput_1df4

Sanderling on Barmston beach.

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.

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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

Eurasian White-fronts at High Eske NR.

10 Oct

Been a while since I’ve posted. The summer nights make it difficult to find the time and not been much to provoke me to blog recently. With my three weeks holiday coming up I expected to do something soon. Hasn’t started well. Began my holiday with the vehicle having an over long trip to the mechanic, but as I had a bad cold and the weather was bad wasn’t too much of a problem. The number of migrants on the coast was a worrying though. Report of Lanceolated Warbler and Pine Bunting at Spurn Point fortunately came to nothing though.

8/10/15 With an improvement in the weather and myself on Thursday, went for a walk with the dog in the fields off Priory Road in the morning but the only migrant was a Chiffchaff. A late Common Darter was interesting but we’ve not had a frost yet.

Late afternoon was back mobile so headed to Brough. Had a male Stonechat by Brough Airfield Marsh [a pair seen recently].

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♂.Stonechat-Brough Airfield Marsh

Other than a cream-crown Marsh Harrier nothing else of note there. c150 Tufted Ducks at Welton Waters on watersports pit. Best count I’ve had for a few years since they put dye in to the kill off the weed. The inevitable consequence is reduced food for wildfowl which are put off by the opaque water anyway. Also a few Mallard and Gadwall. Had a good look through the tuftie flock but found nothing else. Greater Scaup have been regular in the past and one record of Ring-necked Duck. Walked back along Common Lane. A few Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff were encouraging but failed with their rarer cousins.

10/10/15 Went to High Eske NR on Saturday morning. Good numbers of Wigeon, Mallard and Tufted Duck but nothing rarer amongst them. Looking through the large Greylag flock, including several white domestic geese and intermediates, thought I had a juvenile White-fronted Goose but lost track of it. Walked the path round the back looking out for passerines but never located a tit flock. A few Migrant Hawkers still. Headed for Leven Canal head but only a few Common Buzzards seen and a Little Egret by the river. Back at the reserve thought I had a Lesser Redpoll but flew out of view then I was distracted. A mass exist from the pit made me suspect Kayakers, who had caused me grief earlier this year, and was glad I was on my way off. Noticed eight geese circling on their own which looked and sounded different. At least one was clearly an Adult White-fronted Goose from the breast barring and the others were certainly not Greylags. Kept on them hoping they would land again or at least give up their identities. Eventually landed in the south east corner so rushed to check them before they were disturbed again. Passed a young couple fishing, presumably the cause of the disturbance. All the 400+ Greylags had returned so took a while to locate at least eight Eurasian White-fronted Geese, both adult and juveniles. Fortunately seemed settled and got a few pictures.

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White-fronted Geese are regular during winter at High Eske NR including earlier this year. Like Whooper Swan, which also winter regularly, though ones in October may just be passing through. Of interest a Tundra Bean Goose was just to the north at Watton NR, adjacent to Tophill Low NR with two Pink-footed Geese. Also a Great White Egret was seen flying south along the river at Tophill Low NR. Need Bean Goose and Great White Egret for High Eske NR.