Monthly Archives: October 2012

End week of “British Birding Time”.

23/10 Headed to Atwick Tuesday afternoon in the hope of migrants. Started at the church but seemed quiet so went to the coast and walked south. Thick fog so couldn’t see anything on the sea. Large flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare on the cliff face but couldn’t pick out any Ring Ouzels. Interesting find of two Corn Buntings in the set-aside near Hornsea North Cliff Boat club. Checked the bushes nearby which have in the past been productive for chats but nothing except for 2 Reed Buntings. Flock of Goldcrest by the slipway but, apart from an interestingly dark Chiffchaff that didn’t hang around to be scrutinised, nothing else. Walked back along the beach but added nothing to the list.

The rapidly eroding Atwick cliffs in the mist.
Went to High Eske late afternoon. No sign of the Smew {Richard Jennings saw it on Sunday as well as a Lesser Redpoll] but other wildfowl was well up with 240 Wigeon, 6 Pochard and 30 Teal. Also a Pinkfoot with the Greylags but this may be one of the birds that hang around all year, however walking back to the farm in the dark I heard a flock moving south. Also a saw at least one Barn Owl.

24/10 Wednesday had a walk around the Dunswell Road area of Cottingham and had my first inland Redwings in Millennium Wood, as well as the regular Bullfinches.

Did Welton Waters this afternoon. Water Rail calling in the reeds in the southeast corner of the watersports pit. Also 28 Tufted Duck which kept spooking for no apparent reason. Eventually found the reason when I saw an Otter surfacing. Watched it on and off for a few minutes but too distant to bother photographing.

Had 2 brown tits along Common Lane. Didn’t call so as both Marsh and Willow occur left them as that although in the old days would have said Willow. Are we making it too hard for ourselves?

Walking back a man with a dog reported 2 owls on the airfield. Light almost gone but gave it some time and finally saw a Short-eared Owl.
26/10 Went to Paull Holme Stray with Roy, Martin and Pete Scott on Friday morning to check out a probable Olive-backed Pipit seen by Micheal Flowers on Thursday. No sign but had good number of winter thrushes moving west. Also had 2 Swallows over the “fisherman’s carpark”.

A late Common Darter found by Martin Lonsdale at Paull Holme Strays.

Went to Hornsea Mere where a Ring Ouzel had been seen. Checked the usual sites in the southern fields but no sign.

Some of the regular wintering Barnacle Geese at Hornsea Mere. Of unknown origin but have included a Spitzbergen ringed bird.
Ended the day doing a sea watch on Hornsea front. No sign any Little Auks but did have a good number of Red-throated Diver moving as well as 4 Common Scoter, Wigeon and a large flock of Teal. Picked up a Short-eared Owl coming in over the sea that hopefully made landfall somewhere to the south.
28/10 Went to Barmston with John on Sunday morning. Weather much better and actually managed to sit out on the clifftop. The aim was Little Auks and didn’t have to wait long to get one flying north over the breakers. Had another 10 but they were further out. Also Black-throated Diver, 10+ Red-throated Diver, 30 Common Scoter, 11 Goldeneye, 5 Eider, a few Wigeon and a large flock of Teal sat on.

Went to Hornsea Mere early afternoon and found a female-type Scaup.
Met up Roy at Tophill Low NR. Walked down to Watton NR for a Eurasian White-fronted Goose then checked out D res for 2 female-type Scaup.

Eurasian White-fronted Goose-Watton NR-Roy Lyon.

Female-type Scaup on D res-Roy Lyon.

Checked the gulls but only a few Lesser-backed Gulls and the sort of Herring Gulls that get Martin Hodges excited. Left before nightfall but nothing from Martin so didn’t miss anything.

29/10 Didn’t get out today but Roy got to Barmston but only managed 1 Little Auk, which although still in good number off Northumberland  were sparse further south. Also had a good number of Common Scoter, an Eider, Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, and Black-throated Diver.

30/10 Couldn’t get out Tuesday but 4+ Waxwings were in Beverley on Lincoln Way which might drag me out tomorrow afternoon. Another 3 briefly at Sigglethorne opposite Spring Garden Centre. Promising to be a good winter after the small number last winter.

Now I’m back at work and the evenings are dark it’s going to be difficult getting out much on works days but I’ll do my best!

Had the trap out again but only 3 moths with Common Marbled Carpet and Garden Rose Tortrix on 23/10 and Juniper Carpet on 25/10, which was new for the garden.

Garden Rose Tortrix.

Juniper Carpet.

Drew a blank on 26/10. May try again on milder nights.

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Back where I belong.

20/10 Saturday late morning finally managed to drag myself to High Eske. First thing I notice at Eske Manor was a Migrant Hawker still on the wing having not seen any Odonata in Cornwall last week. Managed another 3 in the area. The redhead Smew I’d previously seen at dusk on Wednesday 10/10 [found by E.Clubley] was still on the pit and Wigeon had increased to >80.

Redhead Smew with Little Grebe.

The Highland Cattle were still grazing Pulfin NR.

Conservation graving herd of Highland Cattle on Pulfin NR.

Must have had a lot of rain last week as the flash on Leven Carrs was too deep to bother looking for waders, however had a Jay flying south. There appears to have been a national influx of Jays but they do breed locally so whether this and those seen at Tophill Low NR are immigrants or resident is hard to say.

Jay at Tophill Low NR 9/10/12.

Back at the NR had a Lesser Redpoll in the willows and first winter Mediterranean Gull briefly.

Lesser Redpolls N.of High Eske NR 2/10/12

21/10 Went to Tophill Low NR with John on Sunday morning. Thick fog so decide to walk north through D woods hoping for migrants {Yellow-browed Warbler claimed last week}. Fairly quiet but Willow Tit[s] showing well on the feeders but as usual didn’t pose for it’s portrait. The fog was so bad even the Belted Galloways on Hempholme Meadows were elusive.

Belted Galloways on Hempholme Meadows.

Had a lone Migrant Hawker near East Pond.

The mist lifted briefly to allow John to find an adult Mediterranean Gull on D res late afternoon but then rolled in again so gave up early.

22/10 Raining! Chance to catch up with a few things but will try to get to North Cave Wetlands, if it stops briefly, to look for Jack Snipe.

Nearing the end of the moth trapping season. Had 2 new moths early this moth with Green-brindled Crescent on 2/10 and Blair’s Shoulder-knot on 9/10.

Green-brindled Crescent

Blair’s Shoulder-knot

Although I had a few frustrating views in Cornwall, likely Vapourer and Silver-y, didn’t see anything well enough to ID and none were attracted to the lights of the caravan park. Fellow Cottingham moth-trapper Andy Nun had a few last week but I had a blank night on Saturday. My last trapping last year was 29/10 s0 with colder weather  forecast later this week I may not bother again until spring.

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A quiet week in Cornwall

The arrival of the Blackpoll Warbler on the Scillies was shortly followed by a call from Tony. Although neither of us needed it this was the indicator species he’d been waiting for that would herald the Yankee influx. Thus we headed for Cornwall over night on Thursday 18/10. First call Friday morning was Church Cove, The Lizard where a Paddyfield Warbler had been for a few days. One of my bogey birds but hadn’t fretted over it as I expected another twitchable one more locally in the near future. Fortunately a couple birders were already on site so we had no problem locating it and it showed well on and off in a small disused quarry all morning, although did disappear for a short while as is the pattern when a few more birders arrived.

Paddyfield Warbler-Church Cove,The Lizard.

After sorting out our caravan at Mounts Bay, Marazion. where we heard a Cetti’s Warbler, we headed to Cot Valley where we had a Firecrest but were beaten to a Yellow-browed Warbler by torrential rain.

Saturday morning we headed to St Levan Church which. due to last years Scarlet Tanager, Tony wanted to make our “patch” for the duration of our stay. There had been a Yellow-browed Warbler and some Firecrests but the best we could manage was a male Blackcap but did meet the finder of the Tanager. Also did Nanquidno where we had Green Woodpecker which was a Cornish tick at least, then Cot Valley were we heard the Yellow-browed Warbler.

Sunday morning again had a good look at the St Levan Church area with little to show. In the afternoon went looking for 4 Glossy Ibises near Sennen at Stewjack farm. Tony had seen them briefly from Trevilley so in the absence of any marked footpaths we headed off across the fields but finally gave up near Brew sewage works as we couldn’t get any further. As compensation had brilliant views of a fox.

Fox-Stewjack Farm.

Back at Mounts Bay again hear  Cetti’s.

Monday morning, having finally got directions for the Ibises headed to Sennen. Still wasn’t easy as the Cornish seem reluctant to sign their footpaths but eventually took what looked like a private access, which was blocked by a white van, but turned out to be the correct route. Good going apart from the last 200yds which were like the Somme but ended at a gate over which all 4 Glossies were visible.

4 Glossy Ibises near Brew Sewage Works.

This was only a few yards from where we’d given up yesterday! The local hunt was out and from talking to a few locals they thought themselves above the law so were worried for our friend from yesterday.

Did St Levan Church and Cot Valley again this afternoon. As luck would have it passing Stewjack Farm later a Glossy Ibis flew across the road and landed close to a field entrance. Of course I didn’t have my camera handy and by the time we’d pull up out of sight and got our gear out it had flown but did see it several time more in flight before dropping out of sight.

Tuesday morning again at St Levan Church.

Probably one the nicer days of the week and walked most of the way to Porthgwarra and were rewards with a Raven on the way back.

Red Admiral near St.Levan Church.

Speckled Wood near St.Levan Church.

Did Cot Valley and had a Firecrest, then Nanquidno,

Wednesday morning surprisingly had our sole Little Egret in flight near the caravan park. Very windy day and hard going at St Levan Church. A bit better at Cot Valley. Report of a immature Egyptian Vulture in north Norfolk caused excitement for a while but soon confirmed as a recent known escape with bells on its legs. Good number of Gannets moving over the sea from the bottom of the valley but little else moving.

Sea from bottom of Cot Valley.

Got in early because of the England/Poland match proposed from last night. Left Tony to it but didn’t miss much. Had a walk along the beach then around Marazion RSPB.

St Michael’s Mount.

On the outward journey the reserve path was a bit wet but passable but returning it was a river and ended up wading back. This was due to a combination of spring tide and the strong winds causing a tidal surge that flooded Looe. The road between the caravan and the site car park was also flooded which would have be fun if we’d returned at our usual time.

Thursday morning had a Lesser Whitethroat at St.Levan Church patch but too brief to see if it was an interesting race.

Friendly Robin-St.Levan Church area.

Saw 3 Glossy Ibises close to the road viewing from the Trevilley but had flown out of view by the time we got back to the road. Probably due to a birder in bright red jacket?

Went to Kenidjack Valley where a first winter Red-breasted Fly had been reported. Met Trevor Charlton there, the ex-warden at Bempton RSPB and a friend of many years standing. Despite the lack of birds and no obvious hope of anything he had come down for a few days from his current Suffolk base. Although elusive for a while eventually had several good views of the Fly and I was in the right place when a Yellow-browed Warbler was picked up.

Red-Breasted Flycatcher-Kenidjack Valley.

Also had a Bullfinch which I believe is good Cornish bird. Ended our trip with a quick look down Cot Valley.

As luck would have it a Yellow-browed Warbler and 4 Firecrests were in the St.Levan Church area when we were driving back on Friday but at least nothing mega has turned up and it sounds good for the Yorkshire coast this week.

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