The ex-HVWG Hide

The hide leased by Hull Valley Wildlife group from the Wassand Estate is back in use from 4th April. The hide at Hornsea Mere accessed from Seaton Road will be an add-on to membership of Wassand Hide and Wildlife Group Society. This costs £25 [£35 for married couples] with addition of Seaton Road Hide another £10. There appears to be no option for Seaton Hide alone. As before there will be restrictions on access but no details at present. When we leased the hide, because of limited parking, only 2 cars were allowed. Unlike the Wassand Hide there will be no day tickets. For more details check here. No mention of Seaton Road Hide but does give contact details. Alternatively in person at East Lodge, Seaton, Hornsea HU11 5RJ.  This is the house at the top of the drive to Wassand Hall. Also available on 01964 537474.

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RIP Hull Valley Wildlife Group

As of 28/6/15 the Hull Valley wildlife Group is no more. The demise was probably inevitable from the date that Tophill Low Wildlife Group was asked by Yorkshire Water, the owners of the reserve, to stop using the reserve name followed later by Richard Hampshire taking on the issuing of permits for the reserve. As the main reason for joining the group was to obtain a permits to the the reserve this obviously had a a serious effect on the group. Another selling point later was access to the old hide at Hornsea Mere but this never had the draw of a Tophill Low permit. For the last few years our out goings exceeded our income and with declining interest and no fresh blood to invigorate the group it eventually was a matter of pulling the plug or waiting for the bank accounts to empty.

The demise now leaves the status of the old hide at Hornsea Mere in limbo. The Wassand Estate who own the hide have been informed and we have previously talked with George Bennet, the Wassand Hide warden, about including access to the this hide with the permit for Wassand Hide. For now I would suggest no-one who previously didn’t us the hide use it. It’s possible that the Estate may actually have already come along and put a big padlock on it but I hope to be informed of any developments.

The next issue is what happens to all the social media “sites” in the HVWG name. The website will no doubt have no closed. The blog, twitter account and facebook page were never official group sites and all set up and administered by me. Therefore it’s up to me what to do. I can’t see any point in continuing as though nothing has happened so I’ll not us this site anymore and will now blog on my other site from now on. I have mostly birded etc at sites with in the defunct recording area so the content will change little, it’ll just mean all my activities will be in one area. One exception will be moths in Cottingham. I’m aware that moths, particularly in one {very large] village, are a specialist topic so if I do blog on this subject it’ll be back on the Cottingham moth blog. Another difference will be I’ll no-longer record all the news and only link to other blogs when they directly link to my personal birding.

The facebook page, never a great success, will be not be added to by me at least.

Finally the twitter account. This is the most difficult one. It has allowed me to bring together all the tweeters I’m aware of who tweet on subjects in the HVWG recording area. As I said above, group or not these remain my main birding etc area and following a smaller number on there than my personal account makes it easier to keep informed. Therefore as long as it has followers I’ll keep the account up and will continue to retweet anything I consider relevant. The only change is I’m not going to post information from RareBirdAlert etc. I was informed recently that had much of the information on the account is “duff”. I’m more aware of what’s going on in the whole of the recording area that my informant but the need to give validation to say a Honey Buzzard over Tophill Low NR that will never be submitted is a burden I’m happy to discard.

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A Ghost emerges in Cottingham

14/6/15 Again Saturday was another slow night moth trapping with only 10 moths of 8 species, although 2 identified late night had gone. This makes the regular checking during the evening a good idea. Apart from Spruce Carpet, with one previous record in October 2013, everything else was had been already recorded this years. DSCN7418

Spruce Carpet

An over friendly Blackbird had obviously learnt the trapping area was a good place to forage, showing the need to try to get up early to beat the “early bird” to the moth. DSCN7417Spent the afternoon checking Little Wold Plantation for Spotted Flycatcher with out success. 15/6/15 Monday had a look round the fields behind KGV Rec,Cottingham. Apart the common Celypha lacunana I found a very distinctive micro new to me. After posting on twitter and facebook was identified as Ptycholoma lecheana, a fairly rare species for the county. DSCN7423

Celypha lacunanaDSCN7432

Ptycholoma lecheana

16/6/15 Tuesday evening checked the fields on corner of New Village road and Dunswell Road. Found a strange creature crawling in the grass. On closer inspection seemed to be a just emerged moth species. Carefully picked it up and carried it home in my camera case.

DSCN7436 On reaching home and it had pumped up to become a female Ghost Moth. DSCN7438

♀.Ghost Moth

20/6/15 Friday night’s moth haul was again small but varied. Brown Silver-line was a new one but I suspect I may have overlooked this species in the pastSmall Magpie was first for 2015.

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Small Magpie DSCN7472

Brown Silver-line

Also first for the year was dark Minor species.

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Minor agg.

Also 2 Common Marbled Carpets were 1st trapped this year as was Common Carpet.

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Common Marbled Carpet

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Common Carpet

Had a look round Snuff Mill Lane before the rain set in. Plenty of Timothy Tortrix, Straw Dot as well as couple of Meadow Brown, all refusing to pose for a picture. Best was a male Nemophora degeerella, an attractive long-horn moth, the only one I’ve recorded away from Tophill Low NR. DSCN1279

♀.Nemophora degeerella-Tophill Low NR-24/6/12

Sorry to my regular followers more inclined to birds. Locally not much on the bird front but did a bit of twitching recently. The account is on my other blog for those not already following.

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Singing Chiffchaff-Snuff Mill Lane,Cottingham.

For recent bird sighting from Hornsea Mere check here.

For the most recent update of the Tophill Low Blog check here.

For Paull Holme Strays Blog here.

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Filed under Cottingham, Moths

A [slightly] better day at Kiplingcotes +Priory Fields

11/6/15 Thursday was a warmer day than recently so headed to Kiplingcotes in the hope of a better day than Sunday. Arriving at Kiplingcotes Station wasn’t truly hot but at least stiller than Sunday. However for a good while it was insect desert but eventually started getting a few things including a Small White.

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Small White butterfly-Kiplingcotes

Also had a Common Carpet but didn’t pose for a picture. A Fox watched me from a good distance than disappeared into cover.

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Red Fox-Kiplingcotes

Also a few hoverflies on the wing.

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hoverfly-Kiplingcote-have a go at ID later!

Further on saw an unfamiliar moth. Only managed one shot but fortunately good enough to confirm it as a new species for me.

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Twin-spot Carpet-Kiplingcotes

Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit was very windy so poor for insect but the east end was calmer and I managed a Cinnabar moth and tatty Common Blue butterfly.

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Cinnabar Moth-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

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Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit looking west

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Common Blue Butterfly-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

Got a Spectacled Wood to pose on the way back.

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Speckled Wood-Kiplingcotes

Birds wise nothing much to say but had the Garden Warbler again near the first road crossing west of the station but again no sign of Turtle Doves near the bee hives.

Another sighting of Turtle Dove near Tophill Low NR gives hope that the species may still be hanging on somewhere.

12/6/15 Friday was disappointing with total cloud cover almost all day. Had planned another Moth/Butterfly session this time at Weedley Springs/Drewton but didn’t seem worth it so ended up staying in Cottingham and doing Priory Fields. The best area for insect in the village. Not promising initially but then started getting the odd smaller moth including my first Chimney Sweepers and Straw Dots this year.

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Chimney Sweeper-Priory Fields, Cottingham

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Straw Dot-Priory Fields, Cottingham

Eventually were getting good number of micro moths. Most non-descript brown things which I couldn’t get a good shot of but managed to capture a more interesting one. Turn out to me a new one for me.

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Crambus pascuella-Priory Fields, Cottingham

Had no butterflies and only a single “blue” damselfly. Too cold at the pond where I had Red-eyed Damselflies ovi-positing last year.

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Notice on the gate but no sign that it’s been read.

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13/6/15 Had Common Marbled Carpet and a probable Red-barred Tortrix at work on Saturday morning. Not sure about the last one as I was dealing with a customer while trying to ID it on her front door. Gives me hope for trapping tonight although Tuesday night had only produced single Brimstone and Heart and Dart.

Five first summer Little Gull at Hornsea Mere this evening. For more news check here. Beware if parking at the top of the road to Wassand Hall as there have been several break-ins recently.

Some recent sighting from Tophill Low NR here.

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Filed under Butterflies, Cottingham, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire

Garden Moths and Kiplingcotes.

5/6/15 An Osprey flew south over Tophill Low NR mid afternoon. Only managed a quick walk to Cottingham KGV rec early Friday evening but did get a few Nettle-taps, very late this year, as well as Common Carpet. Quail singing in fields south of Leven Canal between the village and Waterloo bridge this evening. Experiencing a small invasion of Bee Moths and am constantly removing from the house. DSCN7257

Bee Moth

7/6/15 Again on Sunday managed to empty the moth trap early although wasn’t as vital with a solitary Garden Carpet the only moth found outside the trap. However the cold keeps the moths comatose. Several hawk-moths trapped locally on Friday night so a Poplar Hawk-moth, my commonest, wasn’t a surprise. DSCN7265

Poplar Hawk

Had been very windy yesterday but was calm and cold over night and although numbers still low the variety was good. A Clouded-bordered Brindle was the first since June 2012 and only the 2nd for the garden.

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Clouded-bordered Brindle

Green Silver-lines was the 4th record, and the other year 1st was Campion, which gets recorded a few times a year. DSCN7282

Green Silver-lines

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Campion

A possible Pacific Swift flew south at Barmston at 8.35. Not seen further along the coast but almost coincides with the 2nd anniversary of the previous record. Also not seen in 5000+ Common Swifts at Hornsea Mere. Unfortunately James Spencer, whose patch it is, was ringing at Tophill Low NR where a Red Kite was seen. A Small Elephant Hawk-moth was only the 2nd for the site in the last 24 years with the previous only on the 4th. Also the young Tawny Owls were still viewable from the carpark. For more from reserve check the Tophill blog as well as James Spencer’s.  Went to Kiplingcotes with JH, RL and ML this afternoon. Started at the station. Only a single Turtle Dove has been heard so far this year and no sign for us. Also no sign of any Spotted Flycatcher to the west where I’ve had a breeding pair the previous two years.  However heard our 1st Garden Warbler for the year. A cold wind and intermittent cloud wasn’t for good insects. Only had a few butterflies including our 1st Cinnabars for the year which didn’t linger. DSCN7289

Common Blue butterfly near Kiplingcotes StnDSCN7292Green-viewed White butterfly near Kiplingcotes StnDSCN7298

Nettle tap near Kiplingcotes Stn

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Common Buzzard near Kiplingcotes Stn

DSCN7304 Moved round to Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit but the sun still didn’t come out for long and only managed a Small Heath and an unidentified Crambidae moth. Marbled Whites don’t seem to have emerged yet, in common with the lack of orchids likely due to the cold spring [so far?].DSCN7302

Small Heath-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

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Orange-tip near Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

Spoonbill landed on Swan Island at Hornsea Mere mid evening. For more news check here.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Butterflies, Cottingham, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

Flaming June? Not Yet?

3/6/15 Against type I got up early on Wednesday morning to empty the trap. A good idea as the moths are less active and I can beat the birds to them. Against, I get up early five days a week so need my sleep but also the orientation of our garden means the light is poor for photography early on. However paid off. Despite my concerns with last nights wind it was now still. The first moth was Flame Carpet, new for the year, and sitting on top of the trap in full views.

DSCN7144Flame Carpet

Others of note were a Flame Shoulder, 2nd for the year, Heart and Dart, 1st for the year but a common moth, and Waved Umber, 1st trapped this year but already had one while at work recently as well as another that failed to enter the trap, but still only the 3rd for the garden.DSCN7155

Flame Shoulder

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Waved Umber

The best though was Figure of eighty, again outside the trap, and only the 2nd for the garden.

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Figure of eighty

Started the morning with RL at Bewholme Hall. No sign of any wigeon or the drake Garganey but an Avocet was a site tick for me. The Shelduck have somehow managed to hang on to their remaining chicks {see here].

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Avocet with Shelduck chicks-Bewholme Hall

Went to Hornsea Mere Wassand Hide this afternoon.

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The new lock on Wassand Hide-means entry only possible with the code even if the hide is already occupied 

Very quiet except for good views of several Marsh Harriers. Also two Common Terns flew west.

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Common Tern-Hornsea Mere

Several damselflies behind the hide, mostly Common Blue but also my first Blue-tailed. DSCN7202

Common Blue Damselflies-Hornsea Mere

Also had a huge queen Hornet on the along the path back.

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Hornet-Hornsea Mere

MR had a male Ruff in flight at the east end so with that area covered we went to check breeding birds at Heron Lakes. With the Island submerged there were no breeding Common Terns but one flew west. Also a successful Mute Swan pair, several Canada Goose goslings, two juvenile Little Grebes and Little Ringed Plover nesting in a stupid place fortunately known to the work force.

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Little Grebes-Heron Lakes

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Little Ringed Plover-Heron Lakes
DSCN7212Mute Swan family-Heron Lakes

Also got my first Four-spotted Chaser for the year.

Moved on to Tophill Low NR. Had a quick look at D reservoir then went to check the report of a terrapin on South Lagoon.

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♂.Red-crested Pochard-Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Still present and looked like one I had a few years back. Didn’t look like the usual Red-eared Slider. Seems to have been seen previously although information was suppressed?! Following research by RL identified as Yellow-bellied Slider.

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Yellow-bellied Slider-Tophill NR on South Lagoon.

They are very long lived with a Red-eared Slider present at least 18 years at High Eske NR and well grown when I first saw it.

Went only as far as South Marsh East where everything was much as yesterday.

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Filed under Bewholme Hall, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

Breeding birds at Tophill Low NR

2/6/15 Went to Bewholme Hall with RL mid morning. The Drake American Wigeon was still there with the female Eurasian Wigeon [latest Merebirders blog confirms the ID]. Also had the drake Garganey although not reported yesterday. A Garganey seen in flight with Gadwall at Hornsea Mere yesterday may have been the same bird as it associates with Gadwall at Bewholme. Heavy drizzle prevented taking any pictures but Tony Dixon fared better a short while later.

American Wigeon

♂.American Wigeon-Bewholme Hall-Tony Dixon

JH had the birds late afternoon but no one reported yesterday’s Barnacle Geese or the Whooper Swan but a Bar-headed Goose was seen.

Went to Hornsea Mere with the large number of Common Swifts the only thing of note from HVWG Hide and Kirkholme Point.

Headed to Tophill Low NR. On the way had a Turtle Dove on the road at Whinnyforth Farm.

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Unusually I left my camera in the boot but managed to get it with out flushing the dove. However although close I could only shot through the wind screen so couldn’t get a usable picture. It then flew to wires. Too distant but RL got a few shots from the car.

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Turtle Dove-Whinnyforth Farm.

Then flew towards the farmyard and was lost. Funnily in the summer of 2007 a Turtle Dove was regularly with Collared Doves in a nearby field at Scurf Dyke Farm.

By the time we reached Tophill Low NR the weather had improved and the swifts had dispersed so a plan to find a rare one was off so we walked the south end instead. Informed by the bird-box crew there was a baby Tawny Owl at the entrance to the residences road. Got a few nice shots.

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Fledgling Tawny Owl

Later it or it’s sibling was perched by the owl box.

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Had the first Wall for the year by the lagoons and a second by O reservoir.

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Wall near lagoons.

Oddly the only other butterfly was a male Orange-tip by D reservoir.

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Canada Goose family on O reservoir banking.

Cuckoo calling in South Scrub.

The over summering, presumably unwell, drake Goldeneye was still on South Marsh West as well as the regular drake Red-crested Pochard although no sign of his partner, maybe finally sitting?

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Over-summering ♂.Goldeneye on South Marsh West

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♂.Red-crested Pochard-South Marsh West

Richard and his volunteers work over the recents years seems to have worked for breeding birds at least. A new ditch from the lagoons makes control of levels easier and should help with autumn passage. As expected the usual Black-headed Gull with at least six pair of Common Terns, although the latter aren’t on the raft on Watton NR yet. Also not unusual were a sitting Little Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher but a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls is a first for the reserve.

DSCN7130Little Ringed Plover-South Marsh East

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Nesting Oystercatcher and Black-headed Gull-South Marsh East

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sitting Lesser Black-backed Gull-South Marsh East

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Common Terns-South Marsh East 

Also found a first summer Little Gull. The Black-headed Gulls got up twice as though a predator was passing over. Saw nothing the first time but on the second occasion it was due to a blue kids balloon floating over!

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1st summer Little Gull with Common Gull-South Marsh East

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Dead Mole near lagoons

A male Montagu’s Harrier, likely the Blacktoft Sands RSPB bird, flew south over the Triton Inn in Brantingham this afternoon.

The moth traps out tonight but the wind doesn’t bode well for a good catch.

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Filed under Bewholme Hall, Birds in East Yorkshire, Butterflies, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR