Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in 12 pictures

Cattle Egret Hempholme 110112 HVWG

The bird of the year by interest if not quality [that would be the Gull-billed Tern] was this Cattle Egret found at Hempholme by a resident in late December when it was checked out by Roy only for it then to disappear before reappearing in January. We were asked to keep it quiet but the nerve went in on 13/1, the day we managed to see it distantly from Tophill Low NR, and the news was put out only for it to appear on the reserve the following day where it was seen on and off the rest of the month.IMG_1978It snowed early February as witnessed by this “Snowy Egret” at Tophill Low NR. This fake heron adding to the Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Bittern seen by on the reserve in the first 2 months. Unfortunately no more species were added this year.


Although not the best [by far] picture of an Otter this year this one seen at High Eske NR on 1/3 was my first live sighting at High Eske NR. Unfortunately only had a compact camera at the time. Yet to get a better picture but maybe in 2013.


Although almost annual at Tophill Low NR only managed to catch up with Avocet this year. After twitching one on 6/3 they then returned in number and attempted to breed for the first time with one pair managing to hatch young but none survived probably due to poor parenting and the rising water level.


First winter Little Gull at Tophill Low NR on South Marsh East. This bird on 10/5 was the first of many this year.DSCN0347

Roy and Richard listening for Corncrake along Scurf Dyke. Found by Michael Flowers’ “class” on 1/6, this bird was new for the Hull Valley list but never made it onto the Tophill Low NR list.


I got one shot of a moth at High Eske NR on 9/7. Eventually identified as Loxostege sticticalis,  a rare migrant. My best find of the year.


This Angle Shades from August may not be the rarest catch but still one of the nicest moths of the year.


The arrival of waders on the newly created Leven Carrs scrape added some excitement to what had been a poor wader passage. This Spotted Redshank in September was the best find.


Alright it’s c400 miles from the Hull Valley area but this Paddyfield Warbler at Church Cove, Lizard, Cornwall was a much wanted tick in October.


The highlight of November was the arrival in force of Waxwings. These were taken, where many connected, at Hull Asda.


December’s photograph has to be a flooded Watton NR on Christmas day. Lot of water around at the moment!


Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR, Wildlife in Cornwall

Fag end of the year.

For the latest update on Gullmass at Tophill Low NR click here.

For recent sightings in the Kelk area click here

For recent sightings at Paull Holme Strays click here

The drake Smew seen again at Welton Waters on Wednesday was reported back at Far Ings NR on Thursday.

28/12 Roy and Martin L had a first winter Iceland Gull at Barmston on Friday afternoon. This bird had previously been reported as a Glaucous Gull. Also Guillemot, 30+ Turnstone and 150 Sanderling. At Atwick they had Knot, 15 Great Crested Grebe. Nothing of note at Hornsea Mere.

29/12 Went to back to Barmston with Roy and Martin L early Saturday afternoon with hope of getting some decent photos. Nathan Pickering had had the Iceland Gull late morning but it had flown north. Large congregation of gulls well north but despite prolonged grilling in the constant rain didn’t find it even with the expert help of Brett and Cynthia Richards. However did manage Purple Sandpiper and Grey Plover as well as 200 Sanderling, 40 Knot, 18 Ringed Plover and 85 Turnstone. Checked the gull roost at Hornsea Mere.

Mike Coverdale had a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull on Wilfholme Carrs this afternoon and an Egyptian Goose on Arram Carrs but no White-fronted Geese.

30/12 Went back to Barmston with Roy on Sunday morning. Hundreds of gulls as far north as Bridlington but no sign of the Iceland Gull, with in our area at least. Checked the beach at Ulrome just in case then did Hornsea Mere from the hide.


Teal-Hornsea Mere.

This afternoon checked Fossehill Pond and Dacre Lake, the latter having 6 Great Crested Grebes. Look around Brandeburton Ponds and near Leven airfield for geese and wild swan.



Flooding behind Greengrass fisheries-Brandesburton. The pumping station barely coping!? 

Had a quick look at Swinemoor but had no waders or wildfowl. However Little Egret and 8 Crossbills had been seen earlier.


Swinemoor-plenty of water but flew birds.

Ended the day with a quick looked round Weel.

Well the last full day’s birding of 2012 was a bit disappointing. Hopefully 2013 will start better. See if I can find something for you or you for me?

Check here for the latest from Tophill Low NR.

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Boxing Day at High Eske NR.

With Roy in the VIP box at Hull City this afternoon it was my chance to visitor my long time favourite High Eske NR for the first, and probably last time, in several weeks. Got up fairly early and although hardly warm it was frost free and likely to be bearable by the time I got out. As my brother and sister-in-law were visiting this afternoon had to get out pretty quick to get a decent look around. No surprise there was nothing in the moth trap so that was one delay avoided. Next, would the bike start, but like after every winter lay up for the last 10 years, after turning over for a few second, while oil circulated, it started to fire then started up and was warmed up enough to run clean in a few more second. Although I loved both my Moto Guzzis there is nothing like the reliability of my current rice-burner.

Next task was loading up, a bit more than just opening the boot on a bike, followed by getting my gear on, which in winter is only just less of a task than putting armour on.

Setting off, the bike is fine, but am I rusty?   No problem there, helped by not being on a cycle for 5 days. In the past have found getting on bike shortly after getting off a cycle can be a weird experience as your brain doesn’t always switch modes and you can find yourself trying to brake with the clutch or squeeze through cycle size gap.


The [t]rusty steed.

Ok that enough about bikes as this turning into the type of vanity project that stopped me starting a blog in the past.

Anyway, having seen the floods, just a few mile further north, at Tophill Low NR it was no surprise to see the river level at Hull Bridge. High water usually isn’t good at High Eske NR and with anglers on site it was no surprise there wasn’t much wildfowl with only 2 female Pintail of note.


High Eske NR.

However walking north of the pit it was immediately apparent the real reason for this as Arram Carrs was now a vast lake with 100’s of Wigeon and Greylag Goose as well as smaller numbers of other things including a few Pintail.


Looking across R.Hull at Arram Carrs “Lake”.

Quickly picked up 6 “wild” swans but unfortunately they were Whoopers and there was no sign of the Bewick’s. Also a few Mute Swans but nothing like the number usually seen in past winter. 3 adult Eurasian White-fronted Geese with the Greylags.

Leven Carrs wasn’t too wet so chance of raptor and owls again this winter.


Leven Carrs.

However with the weather looking to change didn’t give it too long and only had a Common Buzzard.

Returning to High Eske NR was unable to do a circuit as I’d learn from an  angler that the bridge at the north inlet was under deep water and checking the south end there a “river” over the bund.

Heard from another birder that a seal had a been seen again during the last cold snap.

Me Kurt and Lewis 271212

Roy with Kurt and Lewis-Who had the better day?

Had a walk late afternoon in Cottingham to check the Waxwing site on Canongate then around KGV rec. In the park saw something falling from a tree and hitting the ground with a good thud, and was surprise to see 2 Blue Tits flying off.

Steve Routledge was at Tophill Low NR today.

“Waterbob” had the Smew and 2 Waxwings at Welton Waters.

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Christmas Day at Tophill Low NR.

24/12 12+ Waxwings in Brough on Trent Walk mid Monday morning.

25/12 Went to Tophill Low NR with Roy on Christmas morning. Approaching the entrance the water levels on Watton Carrs seemed to be up since Sunday.


Watton Carrs from Tophill Low NR approach road.DSCN4778

Christmas dinner at Tophill Low NR.

Started in carpark hide and counted 9 Pintails on D reservoir but no sign of the Smew.

Walked south and had c12 Siskin and a Lesser Redpoll by South Lagoon.


Male Siskin by N.Lagoon.

Mr and Mrs Slack had had a Waxwing in South Scrub late morning but it didn’t hang around for us but we did have a Woodcock leaving Watton NR hide. Watton NR and Barmston Drain are now contiguous. Tony McLean had earlier viewed this scene from the public hide. A hard enough trip with out the flood. You’re a better man than me Tony.


Barmston Drain now flowing into Watton NR.

Had a few minutes in North Marsh hide late afternoon but no Otter then joined Martin H for the gull roost. Had adult Med Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Martin also had had Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and Woodcock at the north end as well as failing to see Otter. On Monday he had had an adult and first winter Mediterranean Gull.

With the milder weather and currently day night, got the moth trap out tonight. Hopefully get one back on Andy Nun.

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19/12 David Bibby had the Otter again at Welton Waters on Wednesday.

20/12 Told by Geoff Dobbs that,  just outside the Hull Valley recording area, a Great Grey Shrike has been present for c6 weeks just south of Market Weighton. Was seen on Monday.

21/12 On Friday Roy and Martin L had 4 Common Scoters circling Welton Waters then flying to the Humber and the dog Otter again on “watersports pit”.

5 Waxwings flew over Railway Road in Beverley at midday and 5 again on Trent Walk in Brough.

Check the Tophill blog for more on flooding as well as the latest bird [and mammal sightings].

22/12 Mike Coverdale had a few Bewick Swans again on  Saturday on Arram Carrs as well as plenty of other wildfowl including several Pintail.

For today’s Tophill Low NR news including updates on flooding click here.

23/12 Went to Welton Waters with Roy and Martin L on Sunday morning. Met John by “watersports pit”. He had just had distant views of Otter, as well as the female Common Scoter. However both disappeared due to a windsurfer. Had a drake Smew on Brough Angling Complex, seen earlier by friends.

Smew drake Welton Waters 231212 Leo

Drake Smew-Brough Angling Complex-Roy Lyon.

Could be the Smew seen at Far Ings as does come across although in the past has been later in the winter. Check Steve’s blog re-Smew at Far Ings. On the way out had a few Waxwings over near the A63 junction, likely the 6 seen earlier on Trent Walk in Brough. Couldn’t relocate them.

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. Only did D reservoir but still had 2 redhead Goosander and 8 Pintail.

Pintail over D reservoir.


Goosander on D reservoir.

Also redhead Smew came in with Goldeneye [earlier on O reservoir], an immature male Marsh Harrier flew south and Martin H found a first winter Mediterranean Gull.

Andy Nun had Lesser Redpoll and Bullfinch in D woods and a Little Egret on North Marsh then Hempholme Meadows. Also Otter was seen again this morning on North Marsh. Check the Tophill Blog and Martin’s blog for more news this weekend. See I missed Waxwing again,

Barmston Drain has over topped just south of the entrance bridge and flooded Watton Carrs. With more rain forecast this week the chance of the reserve becoming inaccessible can’t  be ruled out.

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Otter at Welton Waters

17/12 Waxwing Monday morning in Leconfield by Normandy Barracks. Another in Brough on Trent Walk again.

Roy and Martin L had the Common Scoter and pair of Scaup again on the “watersports pit” at Welton Waters and the bonus of an Otter.

Common Scoter Welton Waters 171212 LeoCommon Scoter-“watersports pit”-Roy Lyon. Otter Welton Waters 171212 Leo

Otter-‘watersports pit”-Roy Lyon.

2 Scaup flight Welton Waters 171212 Leo

Pair of Scaup in flight over “watersports pit”-Roy Lyon.

18/12 3 Waxwings by A1035 at Tickton Tuesday afternoon.

For recent sightings from Hornsea Mere click here.


Filed under Nature in East Yorkshire

….finally Welton Waters.

15/12 80 Waxwings still Saturday morning in Hull on Anlaby Road. Also 22 in Nafferton on Beech Grove, 5 flew over Woodland Drive in Anlaby and a flock at Long Riston.

16/12 Went to Hornsea Mere with Roy on Sunday morning to meet John. John had had a few Waxwings on the way by the A165 at Skirlaugh. Misty early but did clear later. Went to Tophill Low NR late morning. Otter had been seen again on North Marsh so John decided to have another go. Although giving it till dusk didn’t see any Otters, not helped by being shown a video taken earlier that day. Redhead Smew seen on Watton NR yesterday and again this morning on Barmston Drain then flew north. Roy and I decided to go to Welton Waters. Had a quick look along the drain on the way out.


“watersports pit” -Welton Waters-from river bank.

At Welton Waters quickly picked up the female Common Scoter on “watersports pit”


Female Common Scoter-Welton Waters

but no sign of the Red-throated Diver. Eventually picked out an eclipse drake and female Scaup.


Scaup-Welton Waters.

Had a cream-crown Marsh Harrier flew northwest. A Short-eared Owl had been seen earlier. Only had one Little Grebe when before the recent harsh winters we used to get as many as 60, also used to get a large number of Mute Swan with only 2 today.

60 Waxwing still in Hull on Anlaby Road this morning.

Haven’t had the moth trap for a few weeks but my fellow Cottingham trapper Andy Nun was successfull last night. The owner of the house next door has cropped back the beech hedge bordering so hope his next tenants aren’t going to complain when I do trap again!

Check out fellow Hull Valley blogger Jess Stokes’ patch work in Driffield today at Pink Cuckoo.

Any serious patch workers might find this interesting,


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More Waxwings and a few more things.

12/12 64 Waxwings still on Anlaby Road, Hull this morning.

Ringtail Hen Harrier over Swinemoor this afternoon.

Red-throated Diver and female Common Scoter still at Welton Waters late afternoon on watersports pit as well as 2 Scaup and a Waxwing flew over.

For more recent Tophill Low NR Otter pictures including today’s click here

Lesser Redpoll Tophill Low 121212b Leo

Lesser Redpoll-Tophill Low NR-R.Lyon.

13/12 80+ Waxwings still on Anlaby Road, Hull this morning feeding in the central reservation opposite Eastfield School.

Anlaby Road Waxwings

Waxwings-Anlaby Road,Hull-M.Lonsdale.

14/12 Went out with Roy and Martin L late Friday morning. Headed to Hornsea Mere but the wind was too bad to sit in the hide so went to Tophill Low NR and spent the rest of the afternoon in the hides over looking D reservoir. Roy checked O reservoir at dusk. Total gulls counts were 13000 Black-headed Gull, 26000 Common Gull, 560 Herring Gull and 1140 Great Black-backed Gull.

For more recent Hull Valley sightings click here.

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Paull Holme Strays and Welton Waters.

10/12 Went to Paull Holme Strays with Roy and Martin L on Monday to catch the afternoon high tide. Had an immature Marsh Harrier to the east.

Marsh Harrier Paull Holme Strays 081212 Leo

Cream-crown Marsh Harrier-Paull Holme Stray on Saturday-may not be today’s bird-R.Lyon.

Grey Seal Paull Holme Sands 081212 Leo

Grey Seal-Paull Holme Strays on Saturday.

Grey front and Common Seal Paull Holme Sands 081212 Leo

Grey and Common Seals-Paull Holme Strays on Saturday.

Also today counts of 101 Bar-tailed Godwits, 48 Grey Plover and 16 Turnstone.

From Eric Clubbley, 30 Waxwings still in Willerby on Kingston Road and Red-throated Diver at Welton Waters on the sailing pit.

11/12 Roy and Martin L had a female Common Scoter at Welton Waters on the watersports pit early Tuesday afternoon.

Common Scoter fem Welton Waters in Fog a 111212 Leo

Female Common Scoter-WeltonWaters.

Not long after they left Red-throated Diver was seen again.

Late afternoon Martin L had c60 Waxwings in Hull on Anlaby Road near Calvert Road junction.

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Not getting ‘otter.

7/12 16 Waxwings still Trent Walk, Brough on Friday.

8/12 2 Velvet Scoters and 4 Common Scoter at the east end of Hornsea Mere on Saturday.

c30 Waxwings on  Kingston Road, Willerby.

9/12 Went to Tophill Low NR with John on Sunday morning. Checked D reservoir from the car park hide and had 3 Pintail, including 2 drakes. Roy Vincent had again had goods views of Otter on North Marsh c9am. As John has yet to see Otter we gave it a while but only had a distant Kingfisher.


Kingfisher-North Marsh.

On leaving had 3 Lesser Redpoll and a Treecreeper but found out later we had missed  Otter again by a few minutes. Did the south end this afternoon. Had 4  Siskin by North Lagoon.


Siskin by North Lagoon.

As with D reservoir wildfowl numbers were now up to usual winter numbers on O reservoir and Watton NR but no increase yet in quality. Had 30 Curlew on Watton NR which had increased to 68 later {Pete Drury}. Did the gull roost with Martin H and had an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Martin had had a Caspian Gull on Friday [here] and 1st winter Med Gull on Saturday. Also check Martin account of the weekend here. Particularly of interest for fungi fan. Check the Tophill Blog for more on the last week, including an account of the recently accepted 1st Tophill Caspian Gull.

The day started warmer than of late, with no over night frost, but a northerly wind set in early dropping the temperature but clearing the cloud. This wind is forecast to continue for a few days bringing much colder temperatures but now forecast to bring a only a small amount of snow. Warmer wetter weather is expected later in the week.

10 Waxwings again in Nafferton by Nethergate level crossing this afternoon.

The blog now has it’s own email account Please use this to send in any wildlife news for the Hull Valley recording area for inclusion here. Also any photographs will be welcome.

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