Tag Archives: Surf Scoter

20/1/16 Richard’s Pipits and Surf Scoter

20 Jan

Year list rising slowly still reaching 84 on Monday afternoon with a drake Pintail at Tophill Low NR  when doing the gull roost, but like other recent nights the gulls were poor. We’d hoped for the Kumlien’s Gull seen at Hornsea Mere on Sunday evening. Annoyingly had been at Hornsea Mere that day but decided to head for Tophill Low NR instead of Kirkholme Point early afternoon.

Tuesday though RL decided to head up the coast for some better birds. Started at Flamborough North Landing. The field was easily found, being just beyond the car park but was bigger and the grass longer than I’d been lead to believe. Checked the west side where the mud showed there’d been “heavy traffic” in recent days. Glad I had my new wellies on! New sign of any pipits so moved to the opposite side of the field. Going easier here as there is plastic webbing on the path. Eventually picked up some pipits. There were three and they look bigger than the Meadow Pipits but were dark and just didn’t look right. Just couldn’t turn them into anything but Rock Pipits. A few other birders arrived but no-one declared them Richard’s and nothing better could be found so headed back to the car park. The others gave up shortly and headed our way. Back on the other side we stopped for another look. The rest caught up and not long after one Richard’s Pipit was picked up in the corner where we’d first looked. Whether it had dropped in or just been very elusive I can’t say but it’s two friends were soon located nearby. Took some record shots and were just waiting for the usual “Is everyone happy to move a bit closer” when they flew to the other side. Year list now 91.


Richard’s Pipit wintering at North Landing,Flamborough

Next to Filey NCCP. A few birders on the end of Carr Naze but no-one had seen the Surf Scoter recently. Had a Great Northern Diver close in.


Great Northern Diver off Filey Brigg

Had a duck fairly close in but my initial thought was female Eider. However when I got a better view I saw the white back of the head. It was the Surf Scoter, but unfortunately the guy we’d just spoken to had gone thinking he’d dipped.


First winter ♂ Surf Scoter off Filey Brigg

Climbed down to the Brigg to get closer. Not an easy climb and expressly forbidden! A few waders about to add to my year list including a Purple Sandpiper.


Cormorants on Filey Brigg


Black-headed Gull off Filey Brigg

Also a nice summer plumaged Shag off shore but too distant to photograph.


Cormorant fighting with a good fish off Filey Brigg 

DSCN9880A Common Seal gave us a cursory glance.

Looking for more waders was surprised to flush a Woodcock which landed out of site on Carr Naze. Year list up to 101.

2015 in 12 pictures

1 Jan


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.


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.


Blyth’s Pipit-Wakefield


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.


Drake Surf Scoter-off Filey Brigg


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


Small Quaker


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.


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.


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.


First summer male Balearic Woodchat Shrike-Wykeham


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


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.


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.


Barred Red


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


Grayling-Conesby Quarry

For a full account see here.


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


Dusky Thorn


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.


Wilson’s Warbler-Port Nis,Lewis

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


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


Whooper Swan-High Eske NR


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


♀.Scaup-Hornsea Mere


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!