Tag Archives: Welton Waters

After the Beast from the East

12 Mar

5/3/18 Filling the feeders on Monday morning it felt more springlike, helped by my resident Blackcap starting to sing. No sign of the dog so headed to Welton Waters. My first visit of 2018 and with reports of Smew, Scaup and Slavonian Grebe on the opposite side of the Humber at Barton Pits I hoped for something interesting. As usual parked on Myrtle Way and took the path to the across the airfield. A few Curlew there and Skylark singing. Reaching the flood bank set up to scan the airfield and adjacent marsh. A few Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Coot on the marsh and on the recently created ‘scrape’ a few Redshank and Dunlin, the latter a year tick. Walking east had a few Goldeneye on Brough Angling Complex. Next was watersports Pit but this apart from a small number of Mute Swan and Mallrd was empty not helped by a few sailing boats. There were a few Black-headed Gull at the far end and looking closer picked out an adult Little Gull, another species that had been seen in small numbers last week. With little to be gained from continuing east I walked Common Lane. Had a good number of small birds including Bullfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Since taking over, the now, Brough Angling Complex, Hull and District anglers have shown if anything hostility to birders so was pleasantly surprised to see a feeding station set up near the entrance gate, attracting a good number of birds including Reed Bunting and Greenfinch. Had a Cetti’s Warbler singing by the small pond. Walked east along the road to view the area of watersports pit not visible from Common Lane. No new birds but was fortunate that the now two Little Gulls were feeding close in.

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Adult Little Gull-watersports pit, Welton Waters

Walking back to my bike had two Stonechat on the fence enclosing the building site of the new school. Unfortunately while I had my camera out they didn’t return to the fence so had to make do with shooting them through the mesh, perched on vegetation. I had seen one nearby late last year.

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Stonechat-Brough

6/3/18 Tuesday morning headed to High Eske NR hopefully for a more complete coverage that my last visit. Still several Russian White-fronted Geese, although exactly how many I wasn’t sure as despite eight birds flying off, including a bird that may have been a Bean Goose, I again counted the regular seventeen birds on the water.

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Russian White-fronted Geese with Greylag Geese-High Eske NR

An Otter was feeding at the north end but I decided to walk to the south end then around the back. A Cetti’s Warbler was singing in the bushes but didn’t flush the Woodcock that had been seen for a few weeks on Pulfin NR. This time made it to Leven Canal. The two Whooper Swan were still to the west on Arram Carr and found a Stonechat on Leven Carr. Back at High Eske NR the Otter was showing well and also had a drake Pintail with the Wigeon.

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Otter-High Eske NR

A quick look at Swine Moor added Redshank and Golden Plover to the site year list.

7/3/18 On Wednesday the dog went back to his usual routine so had a morning walk. Nothing different from our normal birds but had a very relaxed Brown Rat in Oppy Wood that somehow was missed by the dog, probably too obsessed by Rabbits.

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Brown Rat-Oppy Wood, Cottingham

Was genuinely warm. Headed to North Cave Wetlands in the afternoon. My previous visit had been little more than a twitch of the Green-winged Teal so today I headed up Dryham Lane so to avoid wasting time on it. Found an adult Mediterranean Gull on Main Lake then spent a while waiting with out luck for Siskin by Far Lake.

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Near summer adult Mediterranean Gull-Main Lake, North Cave Wetlands

While checking reedbed was called by SG, from Turret Hide, he had the Green-winged Teal as well an adult Mediterranean Gull [later proved to be a second bird on comparing photos]. I had a good number of Teal which were pushed into the open by a low flying Marsh Harrier so now knew I didn’t need to look at them too well. Joined SG in Turret Hide and were lucky to see the recently regular Barn Owl.

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Drake Green-winged Teal-Island Lake, North Cave Wetlands

On the way out we checked the fields near the entrance and added Red-legged Partridge then a distant Stonechat on Dryham Ings. Had noticed a good number of birds on Church Pond on the way in so stopped to have a look on the way home. Plenty of Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Wigeon and a few Little Grebe. Had a couple of Kingfisher on the far bank, one of which flew closer and was last seen sat high in a large tree, higher than remember seeing one before. Just before SG arrived I found the drake Mandarin that had been resident at the Wetlands all of last year among the tree roots.

9/3/18 After a wet Thursday, Friday morning was again warm and although again like Wednesday turned cooler in the afternoon I headed to Tophill Low NR. Started in the visitor centre and had the Glaucous Gull on the same section of D reservoir straight wall as on my first encounter. Got a record shot and would have tried to get closer walking up the road but it decided to join the other gulls on the reservoir so after a quick look at the feeder without seeing Brambling or Lesser Redpoll by the centre pond I headed south.

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Juvenile Glaucous Gull-D reservoir, Tophill Low NR

Work on South Marsh East had finished and had a few birds, unlike on previous visits this year, including returning Oystercatcher. On Watton NR had three Pintail [two drake and a female] as well as a fly over Marsh Harrier which I saw again on my second visit to South Marsh East. Did the D reservoir gull roost and added Lesser Black-backed Gull but failed with Mediterranean Gull but as the gulls were at the north end of the reservoir so weren’t easy from the centre hide. Also no sign of the Glaucous Gull but it doesn’t always appear in the roost. Had a distant Peregrine over D woods.

 

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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.

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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

Brough Haven/Welton Waters

9 Aug

9/8/16 Went to Brough Haven on Tuesday morning. Over the 30 years I’ve worked the area it has had some decent birds including American and Pacific Golden Plovers and Pectoral Sandpiper as well as good numbers of less rare waders among them the Yorkshire Little Stint record. Unfortunately recent years have seen much of the mudflats grown over banishing the thousands of waders once seen at this time. I also suspect realignments including the relatively close Alkborough Flats have provides a better draw for birds. Lastly there just doesn’t seem that many waders these days.

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Brough Haven close to high tide.

Arriving the tide was very high but a small area mud at the entrance to the haven had probably the best flock I’ve seen there for a while with 15 Ringed Plover accompanied by 4 Dunlin.

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Ringed Plover and a Dunlin at Brough Haven

The forecast wasn’t too promising so set off east towards Brough Airfield then Welton Waters immediately, along the path we jokingly called “even longer drag” in tribute to the area now covered by Saltholme Pools RSPB on Teesside. Three Common Sandpipers were roosting on the wooden ‘pier’, as they regularly do on autumn passage.

Last visit the reedbed was full of Reed Buntings as well as Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler and this year joined by a good number of Bearded Tit, but post breeding there was little to see or hear. Had a Painted Lady but didn’t bother to stop for a picture with them being numerous this year. Also a few Common Darter and Brown Hawker.

Reaching Airfield Marsh, apart from the resident Greylags, there were c75 Lapwing and 18 Curlew sitting out the high tide. No sign of any Marsh Harrier though. Like the haven this area has also declined in interest with the reedbed becoming too extensive and only a small area of water visible with none of the muddy edges where passage waders and Garganey used to be seen. On the positive site though some important bird do breed in the reeds.

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Black clouds over Brough Airfield Marsh.

It was looking black towards the west so only risked a quick look at the pits at Welton Waters before heading back. The rest of the week looks better so may get back for a proper look. Only birds seen were a family party of Mute Swans on both Brough Angling complex and watersports pit.

The weather held with the blackest clouds moving to the east so had time to scan the Humber to the west from the Haven. No Marsh Harrier towards Crabley Creek but the bulk of the Whitton Sands Barnacle Goose population seemed to be in the area.

The weather broke not long after I got in.

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.

Arctic Tern at North Cave Wetlands

21 Oct

17/10 On Thursday having had a good look round Welton Waters and still with time to spare decided to head to North Cave Wetlands.

Had been informed by Stu Griffiths that a Great White Egret had been present briefly mid morning, but not seen by any regulars. Presumably the same bird had been seen this after at Tophill Low NR on Hempholme Meadows so was unlikely to return. Also a drake Mandarin had been on Island Mere on Wednesday but this wasn’t seen this morning.

However there was a lingering juvenile Arctic Tern on Main Lake so started in South Hide from where it was performing well.

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Juvenile Arctic Tern [above and below]

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Great Crested Grebe on Main Lake

Had a Green Sandpiper flying east then again later flying from Island Lake. A few Egyptian Geese were still with other feral geese on bank at the back. The three present last week had increase this morning and Gary Dayes had counted nine. Thanks to a text from Gary saw another six in the fields north of the reserve. Later had three flying from the north east so must have seen at least the nine.

DSCN0559Egyptian Goose