Monthly Archives: February 2013

Late February summary.

20/2 Great Northern Diver, Black-necked Grebe and Bittern still at Hornsea Mere on Wednesday morning. More recent news from the mere here.

I heard and saw well a Green Woodpecker in Cottingham over fields off Dunswell. Also heard one behind KGV Rec.

The Drake Ring-necked Duck moved to Leconfield, seen at Normandy Barracks late afternoon.

21/2 Stuart Griffiths found 5 Waxwings in Beverley on Queensgate on Thursday morning.

No sign of the Ring-necked Duck at Normandy Barracks, Leconfield today.

Juvenile Glaucous Gull on private land northeast of Brandesburton.

Some interesting sightings from within the Hull boundary by Robert Jacques.

Recent news from Tophill Low NR here.

22/2 Black-necked Grebe and Great Northern Diver still at Hornsea Mere on Friday afternoon with the Bittern still off Kirkholme point.

Rough-legged Buzzard reported in a tree by the A165 at Long Riston early afternoon.

23/2 Martin L and Roy at Paull Holme Strays on Friday had 24 Ringed Plover, 72 Knot, 380 Bar-tailed Godwit, 36 Grey Plover, 1000 Golden Plover, 900 Dunlin, 900 Lapwing, 300 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 50 Mallard and 60 Greylag Geese.

Paull Holme Lighthouses 230213 Leo

Paull lighthouses-R.Lyon

Grey Plov Paull Holme Sand 230213

Grey Plover-Paull Holme Strays-R.Lyon

Last 2 days at Hornsea Mere here.

24/2 Great Northern Diver, Black-necked Grebe and Bittern still at Hornsea Mere on Sunday afternoon.

11 Waxwings again in Beverley on Queensgate opposite Butt Lane.

One Drake Smew still at Welton Waters on Brough Angling Complex.

Had a male Merlin over fields off Priory Road, Cottingham this afternoon.

For more recent news from Tophill Low NR check here.

25/2 Black-necked Grebe and Great Northern Diver still Hornsea Mere early Monday morning.

Juvenile Kumlien’s Gull still on Barmston beach this morning.

Sorry this is a bit sparse. Not done anything other than going out on foot recently and  seen nothing worth photographing.

Off to Spain on Wednesday morning for a few days. Try and write something on my other blog when I get back.

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Ring-necked Duck back at High Eske NR

18/2 Only managed to get out late afternoon for a walk in Cottingham along Priory Road but had a nice surprise in the form of a immature male Peregrine over fields between Priory Road and Wood Lane heading for Haltemprice Farm.

19/2 A Common Crane flew south over Hornsea Mere late Tuesday morning, later seen at Kilnsea and presumably the bird seen at Filey on Monday. Also Great Northern Diver [presumably the bird seen over the weekend at Tophill Low NR], Black-necked Grebe and 4 Eurasian White-fronted Geese.

Great Northern Horns Mere 190213 Leo

Great Northern Diver-Hornsea Mere-R.Lyon

The Bittern was still in the northeast reeds from Kirkholme Point and a pair of Oystercatcher on the point.

Bittern Horns Mere 190213 Leo

Bittern-Hornsea Mere-R.Lyon

Last decent day for a while so made the effort to get out to High Eske NR this afternoon. Had a Pink-footed Goose with the Greylag Geese. It flushed before the others and although circling a few times didn’t return so had good credentials to not be one of the Pinks that rang around all year. With the floods receding fast the wildfowl numbers were up. Had plenty of time so did a count. Great Crested Grebe 2, Little Grebe, Greylag Goose 200, Wigeon 270, Mallard 140, Redshank 48, Gadwall 46, Shoveler, Goldeneye 11, Tufted Duck 19, Pochard 10 and Coot 6.

Wasn’t surprised to come across the first winter drake Ring-necked Duck.


Ring-necked Duck and Wigeon-High Eske NR.

With the lower water levels did the full circuit for the first time since November. 100+ Teal on Pulfin NR.

Continued north. The 8 Bewick’s Swan and 12 Whooper Swans were showing well on Arram Carrs opposite Leven Carrs.


Bewick’s and Whooper Swan-Arram Carrs

Checked the latter for raptors but only had the regular female Marsh Harrier flying south.

Back at the NR hung around till late hoping for Little Egrets coming in to roost but only had one in the trees at the south end which flew north and dropped out of sight by the “terrapin pool” where it probably joined others.


Little Egret in High Eske NR pre-roost.

Had seen 4 earlier and another birder had seen up to 8 over Molescroft Carrs.


air-sea rescue flushing High Eske NR!

“Cuckoo Jack” was at Welton Waters and had 2 Otters, one giving prolonged but quite distant views. Also Smew and Short Eared Owl.

Check Dave Tucker’s blog for local Roe Deer and flowers.

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Tophill Low NR and Hornsea Mere

16/2 Another mild day so intent on getting out on the bike again, this time High Eske NR. However plans changed on getting home with a message from Martin H that Graham Slack had found a first winter Great Northern Diver at Tophill Low NR. Fighting back sleep with strong coffee I was there mid afternoon. Passed Steve Routledge viewing Lesser Redpolls by the lagoons. Viewed the diver from O reservoir viewing screen. Was distant and looking into the sun but got a few record shots before heading for L-shaped hide, although due to the low water level there was no guarantee it would be on view. However about half way there I saw the diver lift off then flew strongly north.


First winter Great Northern Diver-Tophill Low NR

Texted Martin to watch out for it but I didn’t see it again, although it might have dropped into D reservoir near dark. Continue round the south end. Smew, Pink-footed Goose and Eurasian White-fronted had been seen on Watton NR earlier and Otter yesterday but not for me. However had an early sign of spring with a returning pair of Osytercatcher.


Barn Owl-Watton NR

More from Tophill Low NR on the blog.

Dave Tucker had the Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston today.

17/2 Had a call from Stuart Griffiths, just before setting off this morning, that the Great North Diver was again at Tophill Low NR, now on D reservoir. As John had dipped yesterday we made it our priority. Unfortunately distant at the north end of the reservoir. Headed for Hornsea Mere late morning for another go at the Bittern. Arriving on Kirkholme Point it wasn’t showing so I went with Mandy James to look for Water Rails by the gate. Probably due to the amount of traffic they were being elusive and we only had on and off views of one bird. Going back the Bittern had been seen but was in cover and never had the sort of views other had had recently.


Greater Bittern-Hornsea Mere

The Black-necked Grebe had been seen earlier off 2nd field.

Back at Tophill Low NR the diver was now close from the car park hide so improved on my pictures from yesterday.


First winter Great Northern Diver-Tophill Low NR

Also picked out the drake Scaup and the “Lesser Scaup” hybrid. Headed south and had the redhead Smew and Pink-footed Goose on Watton NR.


Pink-footed Goose-Watton NR

Had a look for Woodcock from the wildlife centre late afternoon but no sign. More from Martin here. Also check Wild at Hull.

Kumlien’s Gull still at Barmston.

David Bowes had the 8 Bewick’s and 11 Whooper Swans on Arram Carrs this afternoon. The site is drying out quickly.

A Great Northern Diver was seen by Eric Clubley, just outside the HVWG area, at Broomfleet Tile Works on 11-13 February at least.This is a private site.  Seems likely the same bird.


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Smew! Getting ‘otter!

14/2 After yesterday’s cold and snow the start of a milder period on Thursday was welcome. Thus with the longer days and a lighter week at work it gave me the chance to get out on the bike for the first time this year. Decided to do Welton Waters to check for the 2 drake Smew as I hadn’t had any news since Eric Clubley’s visit nearly 2 weeks back. I’ll not bore my regular viewers but anyone interested in the rigmaroles of getting out on a bike after a winter lay up can check here. Anyway probably due to the milder weather than Boxing day it wasn’t as bad [also suspect overdid the layers!].

Started at Myrtle Way in Brough so I could walked across the airfield. 100+ Curlew there as well as similar number of Lapwing there and later seen with a good number of Golden Plover behind the pit at Welton Waters. However only a Coot was visible on the marsh. Walking along the flood bank saw a mass of ducks flying from Brough Angling Complex [BAC]. Fortunately they landed on on the river and I was able to count c400 Wigeon, c50 Gadwall and 12 Goldeneye but no Smew among them. The disturbance was likely due to noise from the the machinery excavating the new pit to the north. Still a good number of duck on BAC and with birds quickly returning found it difficult to get a better count however was able to add drake  Smew, Coot and Tufted Duck to the list. Also had a drake Smew on watersports pit but this fly over Common Lane a few minutes later towards BAC where I could again only find one.


watersports pit-Welton Waters-Ralph Dawson

Walked to the back of the pits to check for anything hiding in the north west section of watersports pit. Common Lane at the north end of BAC was a mess due to the excavation machinery.

fungi-11 copyfungus-Welton Waters-Ralph Dawson


Cormorant-Welton Waters-Ralph Dawson

Walking back south had another quick look at the main section of watersports pit and had a very close Otter, unfortunately I’d forgotten my camera! Had another good look at BAC from the riverbank and finally got 2 drake Smew. Success! Had timed it so as to be back at the airfield for dusk but again no Short-eared Owls.

Black-necked Grebe again at Hornsea Mere off Swan Island.

Click here for an update from Tophill Low NR.

15/2 Friday morning the Bittern was again in the north east corner of Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point. Acting on this information Roy and Martin L had it this afternoon, a tick for Martin. Water Rails were still showing by the gate.


Greater Bittern-Hornsea Mere-M.Lonsdale.

Kumlien’s Gull again on Barmston beach this morning as well as 6 Snow Buntings.

If you come across any wintering Chiffchaffs this article is worth a read.

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Hornsea Mere and High Eske NR

11/2 On Monday Stuart Griffiths fail to see the Ring-necked Duck at Tophill Low NR but saw the 1st winter drake Scaup and 2 aythya hybrids.
12/2 Went to Hornsea Mere with Martin L and Roy late Monday morning. Started at Kirkholme point for another look at the Water Rails in the wet field by the gate. Had at least 3.


Water Rail-Hornsea Mere

Again no sign of the Bittern that had shown well last week in the north east corner but seen later by Stuart Griffiths as well as 5 Water Rails.

Went round to the hide where I picked out a Black-necked Grebe close to the south shore. This meant driving round to Mere View Avenue then a tramp through the “Somme”. Fortunately the grebe was still close in from the 2nd field.


Black-necked Grebe-Hornsea Mere

Also there were 68 Barnacle Geese, spoiling their claim of wildness by being a bit too approachable.


Barnacle Geese-Hornsea Mere

Went to High Eske this afternoon. Had a Little Egret flying along the river to the south. 2 drake Pintail on the NR with c1000 Wigeon and small numbers of Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and Mallard. Walking north the swans were showing well on Arram Carrs with 8 Bewick’s and 12 Whoopers again. Barn Owls feeding over Arram and Leven Carrs. Walking back had the 5 Eurasian White-fronted Geese and a Pink-footed Goose with Greylags at High Eske Farm.


Eurasian White-fronted Geese-High Eske Farm.

The Kumlien’s Gull was again at Barmston.


Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Nature in East Yorkshire

8-10th February

8/2 Ring-necked Duck again at Tophill Low NR Friday. Also redhead Smew, ‘Lesser Scaup’ type hybrid, Barn Owl, pair of Pintail and 2 Little Egrets, and 3 Woodcock at the vis centre. Check Steve’s blog and Tophill Low blog for more news.

c13 Waxwings still in Beverley on Mill Lane opposite Murco petrol station at midday.

103 Waxwings in Cottingham on Canongate mid morning. Also a few seen again along Finkle Street, unfortunately they were working on the roof by the berry bush opposite New Finkle Court so they weren’t settling, also feeding on apples viewable from Blue Kangaroo car park. Despite riding up and down a few times didn’t connect today.

Juvenile Iceland Gull at the east end of Hornsea Mere mid afternoon. Click here for more from here.

9/2 6 Waxwings again in Cottingham on Finkle mid Saturday morning but not seen personally [before or after].

For today at Tophill Low NR click here and here.

8 Bewick’s Swan and 12 Whooper Swans on Arram Carrs this afternoon. Nearby 4 Eurasian White-fronted Geese south of Arram Station.

Click here for Bullfinches at Humber Bridge CP.

10/2 Started Sunday morning in the Hornsea Mere hide with Roy and John. Had a good count of 424 Goldeneye. Moved round to Kirkholme Point where 2 Water Rails were again showing in the wet field by the gate. A 3rd was heard from Kirkholme Point. Also another bird seen by John Sadler in a ditch on the south side of the mere.


Water Rails-Hornsea Mere

Spent the afternoon at Tophill Low NR.


“The garages” Tophill Low NR awaiting conversion to temporary Wildlife Centre

The Ring-necked Duck was still on D reservoir as well as a new Scaup, a 1st winter drake, 2 of the Scaup hybrids, 14 Pintail and a Shelduck.


1st winter Greater Scaup-Tophill Low NR


Aythya-hybrid-Tophill Low NR

Also had a Pink-footed Goose flying south with a few Greylags.

Had a well obscured Woodcock from the Wildlife Centre.


Leucistic Wigeon-O res Tophill Low NR

The redhead Smew was on Watton NR, having early been on O reservoir. Returning to car park hide to do the gulls was lucky to get the adult Little Gull. Also 10000 Common Gulls, 3500 Black-headed Gulls, 700 Herring Gulls, 400 Great Black-backed Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

For more from Tophill Low NR today click here and here.

Stuart Noble had 5 Goosander and 28 Shoveler on Bransholme Reservoir.

Fortunately the snow didn’t arrive and although bitterly cold stayed reasonably dry.

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More Waxwings in Cottingham.

6/2 Tuesday morning riding out to my delivery in Cottingham ran into John Brattan on Finkle Street photographing the Waxwings, back again on berries and aerials opposite New Finkle Court. Only counted c25 but Jon Harvey counted 70 during the morning. Riding back at lunchtime saw none but a few minutes later saw a good flock flying in the right direction over Royal Mail SO car park. Also 70 seen at the traditional site on Canongate/Northgate corner [opposite Dave Tucker’s old house]. Unfortunately had a bad day at work and couldn’t get out until late afternoon and didn’t see any at either site. The 2 sites are a fair distance apart but looks like it just one very mobile flock.

Click here for recent news from Hornsea Mere.

Click here for today at Tophill Low NR.

Click here recent news from Kelk area.

7/2 c70 Waxwings again in Cottingham on the corner of Canongate/Northgate this morning. Also 13 Waxwings in Beverley on Mill Lane by Old Flames shop early afternoon and 3 in Brigham in garden by the swing bridge.

Another bad day at work but due to the better weather managed to get out late afternoon. No sign of the Waxwings on Canongate so continued to Oppy Wood. Very wet and I wasn’t wearing the right footwear so struggled to have a good look around. However had frustrating views of a Siskin in a flock of Goldfinch and Holly flushed at Woodcock. Walking back the full 70 Waxwings were on on roof of 2 Canongate but only managed to fire off 2 shots before they flew towards Queens Way.


Waxwings-Canongate, Cottingham

Still had time for a quick look round KGV rec where I had a Treecreeper and Coal Tit.


Song Thrush-Millbeck Wildlife area, Cottingham

Ring-necked Duck still at Tophill Low NR.

Kumlien’s Gull still on the beach at Barmston.

Bittern and Water Rail seen at Hornsea Mere today.

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Waxwings in Cottingham

5/2 Riding back from work in Cottingham on Tuesday at lunchtime had 8 Waxwings feeding on berries on Finkle Street. After having something to eat and getting my breath back headed back with my camera on my cycle despite sleet now falling. Now a large number all sat on aerials opposite New Finkle Court. Fire off few shots, trying get them all in so I could count them later, then they “exploded”




Had a quick look around but not many other obvious sites nearby and the weather wasn’t conducive to hanging around so gave up. From the photos there were at least 60 birds. May go out again to show the dog if it does get better! Will be passing that way a couple of times again tomorrow.

The Ring-necked Duck at Tophill Low NR on D reservoir all day also drake Scaup, Scaup hybrids and Pintail.  2 Woodcocks from the wildlife centre. Click here for more from the NR including pictures of the Scaup-hybrids.


Ring-necked Duck-Tophill Low NR-R.Lyon.

Nearby 8 Bewick’s Swan, presumably the Arram Carrs birds, at Wilfholme at the far end of Wilfholme Road with Mute Swans. Also Green Sandpiper.

Roy did Paull Holme Strays/Sands at high tide and had:- 740 Bar-tailed Godwit, one of which in full breeding plumage, 12 Ringed Plover, 166 Grey Plover, 1230 Dunlin. 99 Shelduck, 5 Curlew, two distant Buzzard, 2 Little Egret, 2000 Golden Plover, 97 Lapwing and a Knot.


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Ring-necked Duck Tophill Low NR Pt2

4/2 Monday morning were planning to go to Paull Holme Strays with Roy and Martin L but the wind was too strong so as Martin needed the Ring-necked Duck for the site headed to Tophill Low NR. Due to to wind the duck were under the car park hide. Also the light was great so the RND was looking better than yesterday.


Ring-necked Duck-Tophill Low NR

The drake Scaup was still present but more distant. With the birds being closer also managed to add a 3rd hybrid, this one with more Tufted Duck characteristic.


Scaup-like hybrid-Tophill Low NR


Ring-necked Duck with Tufted Duck-type hybrid-Tophill Low NR

Also had 4 Pintail including 2 drake although they flew off and only one pair had returned by early afternoon.


Pintail-Tophill Low NR

The pale Common Buzzard was also seen, at distance looking like an ringtail Hen Harrier, and closer likely to be claimed as a Rough-legged Buzzard by the unwary. The ducks spooked for no reason early afternoon and the RND was distant when we left. No reports from the southern end of the reserve. A bit more on here including best pictures so far.


Looking rather windy!-Tophill Low NR.

The Kumlien’s Gull was still on Barmston beach at midday.

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Ring-necked Duck at Tophill Low NR

3/2 Had a late start on Sunday so had a chance to have a serious go at my Garden Bird Watch. This paid off with the first Blackcap, a male, for the garden in several years followed by a male House Sparrow. House Sparrow has a strange distribution in Cottingham, in some area like St.Margaret’s Avenue area where I work they are pretty common, however it’s a rare bird in the garden despite a few regularly in hedges only a few hundreds yards up the road.

Just as Roy as about to pick me up late morning to go to Welton Waters, learned that Tony Disley whilst running the In Focus event at Tophill Low NR had found the missing first winter male Ring-necked Duck on D reservoir. Last record for the site was April 2005. Where it’s been for the last 2 weeks is anyone’s guess. Anyway within an hour we were watching it from car park hide. As they do it contented itself by drifting around fast asleep.


Ring-necked Duck-Tophill Low NR

While waiting for it to liven up we check out the 3 male “Scaup’. Eventually came to the conclusion that we had a good one, a close one [more like a giant Lesser Scaup] and a total “no way”.  Also 2 cracking male Pintails. Having sat for 2 hours decided to have a stroll. Started in the wildlife centre. Whilst scanning the meadow for Woodcock we saw 2 flying from the right [possibly flushed by Mandy’s Reggie?]. I quickly picked up one which showed well for a few minutes before walking into cover.


Woodcock-Tophill Low NR

The second was only gave obstructed views. Continued south and found several regulars had just seen Otter on Watton NR. Also missed the redhead Smew However didn’t show for us. Were going to do the gulls on O reservoir but none had come in by late afternoon so went back to car park hide. 17 Pintails were now present. Martin H had a adult Little Gull. For more from the NR click here and here.

Mike Coverdale had 6 Bewick’s and 12 Whooper Swans on Arram Carrs this morning.

The Kumlien’s Gull again at Barmston by on the beach by the car park. Check Duffbirder for more info.

Click here for Dave’s report from Humber Bridge CP.

For the latest from Paull Holme Strays click here.

Click here for more recent sightings in HVWG area.

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