Tag Archives: Whooper Swan

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

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More winter wildfowl

30 Oct

30/10/16 Started Sunday morning at High Eske NR, with RL and ML, hoping to see the recent Long-tailed Duck. Met DH along the track from the farm. Had seen the duck on Saturday evening but no sign today but had had a Smew. The lone Whooper Swan was still present.fullsizeoutput_1a4d

Whooper Swan-High Eske NR

Quickly found the redhead Smew among the Tufted Duck and Pochard at the south end. Also picked out three Scaup. The large flock of Greylags dropped still with the Pink-footed Goose. Next to Hornsea Mere starting in the Seaton Road Hide. A Pink-footed Goose was just in front of the hide. Eleven Whooper Swans were near the entrance to Decoy Bay and another eight flew southwest.fullsizeoutput_1a4a

Whooper Swans at Hornsea Mere

I picked up the two Slavonian Grebe between us and Kirkholme Point, presumably displaced by the boat.dscn3372

What we have to contend with at Hornsea Mere

Eventually came fairly close.

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Juvenile and adult Slavonian Grebes with Mute Swan-Hornsea Mere

Went round to Kirkholme Point where the same or another Pink-footed Goose was just offshore.fullsizeoutput_1a42

Pink-footed Goose at Hornsea Mere off Kirkholme Point

A few Tundra Bean and White-fronted Geese and a Common Scoter had been seen earlier. Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. I found a redhead Smew on D reservoir from car park hide. Likely the same bird we saw this morning as it was also associating with Pochard. Flew to the north end and RL and I went to the North Hide while ML went to North Marsh where a Bittern had been seen earlier. The Smew showed close in before flying off with Pochards eventually coming down below car park hide where it stayed until late afternoon at least. fullsizeoutput_1a3b

Redhead Smew with Pochard at Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Also had two Green Sandpipers in flight before dropping onto Decoy Fields.dscn3408

The new visitors centre at Tophill Low NR-‘still under wraps’

Did the gulls. Although we didn’t stay until dark, with the clocks now back, we’re likely to start doing the gull roost again. A Tawny Owl was calling in D wood as we left. Had a few Migrant Hawkers. With the forecast of colder nights there won’t be many more.

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

Geese at Hornsea Mere and Tophill Low NR

23 Oct

21/10/16 Started Saturday in the Hornsea Mere Seaton Road Hide [check here for access details] with RL and ML. Plenty of geese flying about but too distant to ID. Also no sign of the Slavonian Grebe seen this morning [or Black-necked Grebe seen yesterday]. RL did find a redhead Goosander though. Moved round to Kirkholme Point. A few birders present but they had nothing to report. However I quickly picked out a Tundra Bean Goose with the Greylags just offshore followed by a Pink-footed Goose. fullsizeoutput_1a1d

Tundra Bean Goose off Kirkholme Point at Hornsea Mere

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Pink-footed Goose off Kirkholme Point at Hornsea Mere

Two redhead Goosander were also in the bay. fullsizeoutput_1a1e

 Goosander off Kirkholme Point at Hornsea Mere

Later seven Tundra Bean Geese were reported in flight and two Slavonian Grebes off Swan Island presumably seen from the south shore. Moved to Atwick to check for migrants near the church. Found nothing but I kept walking north and had a Chiffchaff at the SSE gas terminal.

Checked the geese at Skirlington market pond but only feral Greylags.

Spent the afternoon at Tophill Low NR. Started in car park hide and had three Whooper Swans at the far end of D reservoir. dscn3251

Distant Whooper Swans on D res at Tophill Low NR

Moved on the Watton NR where we had two Tundra Bean Geese, seven Russian White-fronts and four Pinkfeet. fullsizeoutput_1a1a

Two Tundra Bean Geese with two Pink-footed Geese on Watton NR at Tophill Low NR

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Family party of Russian White-fronted Geese on Watton NR at Tophill Low NR

The Beans and three Pinks flew north late afternoon. Had a Common Darter in South Scrub and several more with a Migrant Hawker later near South Lagoon. Had twenty-two Siskin in the Alders by the lagoons on the way back.

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!

Wild Swans and Brent Geese at Kilnsea

9 Feb

The first winter Black Brant was reported still at Kilnsea by RBA as we were just finishing counting the waders over high tide at Paull Holme Strays. As ML needed it and we were it was only c20mls away thought it worth a try.

Entering Kilnsea could see a few swans below Long Bank. Stopped and picked out 3 Bewick’s Swan and at least 5 Whoopers [8 seen earlier] among the Mute Swans.

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Bewick’s Swans

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Whooper Swan

Continue into the village but couldn’t see the Brent Geese flock. Went to the north end of Long Bank and started walking south. Saw c200 Brent Geese circling then appearing to drop near Kilnsea Wetlands NR. Headed back to the car. If we’d looked at the sea we might have seen a Grey Phalarope flying north. No sign of any geese from the road or on the Wetlands so continued to the top of Long Bank where we found the flock opposite the listening disk. As there was only a 1/3 of the Brents present in the area it was no surprise that the Black Brant wasn’t among them.

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Dark-bellied Brent Geese

Anyway the wild swans and Dark-bellied Brent Geese were a year tick and ML has many weeks yet for another chance with the Brant.

Black-throated Diver at North Cave Wetlands

3 Dec

A Black-throated Diver was found on the Main Lake at North Cave Wetlands on the morning of Tuesday 19th November. Unfortunately I was too too busy at work to make it before dark all week. Last seen on the Thursday so Roy and I checked nearby Welton Waters on the Saturday incase it had relocated there. Therefore it came as a surprise to get a text from Stu Griffith on Sunday 1 December that it was back on Main Lake. Otherwise occupied then and too busy on Monday but on Tuesday had a light day at work [probably the last before Christmas] and was in the South Hide by mid afternoon. The Diver was showing well and despite the low winter sun managed some reasonable shots.

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Black-throated Diver on Main Lake

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Great Crested Grebe on Main Lake 

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Cormorants and Lapwings on Main Lake tern raft

Didn’t have time for a full tour so decided to check the stubble  fields to the north for the long staying juvenile Eurasian White-fronted Goose. Large flock of Greylags but a bit distant with out a tripod in the fading light. Reported to be missing a leg but couldn’t pick out a limping bird. Went back to South Hide to join Stu. Had an adult Whooper Swan dropping onto New Workings on the way.

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Whooper and Mute Swans on New Workings

Watched the diver till near dark.