Monthly Archives: October 2013

Spotted Crake at Hornsea Mere-updated version.

22/10 On Tuesday afternoon went to Hornsea Mere with RL to put another coat of wood stain on the HVWG hide.

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RL putting another coat on the HVWG hide.

The juvenile Red-breasted Merganser and Black-necked Grebe were still present but no seen from the hide but we had three Egyptian Geese  around “tree island”.

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Fungus

24/10 On Thursday the forecast was the best for nearly two week so decided to make the most of it. Started at Welton Water. The distinctive Marsh Harrier was again over the airfield marsh. A very rufous bird, from some angle looking almost like a Red Kite. The only other birds on the airfield were a few Curlew and Lapwing. This was surprising as the tide was well up. Could make out a few Avocets on the Lincolnshire shore. Again plenty of waterfowl on Brough Angling Complex but only a family party of Mute Swans on “watersports” pit. As I started to walk north up Common Lane I got news of a Spotted Crake at Hornsea Mere. Hadn’t seen one since September 2004 at Tophill Low NR and never seen one at the Mere so, although I took it easy, decided to head back to my bike. Hasn’t been a twitchable one there for thirty years although one was hear calling in the early nineties. The message had said south-east corner which should have made it opposite Kirkholme point, but also said from 2nd field. Also reported were the Long-necked Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe and Scaup. Anyway started at Kirkholme Point. Met John Brattan there. The Red-breasted Merganser was still there at bull hole so had a quick look then started scanning the muddy edges on the south shore.

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Juvenile Red-breasted Merganser

However a few birders were in 2nd field so went round to the south side. The Spotted Crake had been seen again recently but wasn’t currently on view.  Slavonian Grebe was showing well so had a look at that. Haven’t been noted previously but may have been present for a few days but overlooked.

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Slavonian Grebe

The Spotted Crake showed up again along the edge of 1st field and although very mobile, was seen well several time over the next hour by the bulk of the “Merebirder”. Also up to three Water Rails.

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“Record shot” of Spotted Crake

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Barnacle Geese

Late afternoon the edge became more shaded so to went around to the hide were I a had female Scaup but missed twenty-seven Whooper Swans flying south, there had been a few moving today.

25/10  On Friday after the weather had improved went back to Hornsea Mere with RL and JH early afternoon. Checked the Red-breasted Merganser was still off Kirkholme Point as JH hadn’t seen it then went round to the south side. The rain had reduced the muddy edges and the Spotted Crake had become very elusive so didn’t stay long. It’s seen well early evening though including by Tony Martin, who couldn’t make it at Thursday. Now six Egyptian Geese but none of the other interesting were on show.

26/10 Back again to Hornsea Mere with RL and ML. Started in the hide but saw nothing from there. Next to Kirkholme Point where an interesting female aythya-type was showing. This turn out to be a Red-crested Pochard-like hybrid,  similar to a bird seen as few weeks again there.

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Hybrid seen 23/8/13

The Red-breasted Merganser was still present. Also six Egyptian Geese were on Swan Island. They have left North Cave Wetland so may be the same birds.


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Egyptian Geese on Swan Island-Hornsea Mere 

Went round to the south side where the Spotted Crake was still showing. Not currently on show but gave those waiting the opportunity to find a male and two female-type Greater Scaup and the Long-tailed Duck.

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Male and female-type Greater Scaup with Coot. 

Didn’t see any small grebes. But Geoff Dobbs had two Slavonian Grebes late afternoon, adult and juvenile. Black-necked Grebe and four Whooper Swans had been reported this morning.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Welton Waters

Brown Tits and Ladybirds at Tophill Low NR

Been a good week on the coast but things have been much quieter inland at Tophill Low NR.

13/10 Started promising with a drake Common Scoter found by Doug Fairweather on the Saturday  but the following day was only seen by Geoff Barker who had braved the inclement weather and made it to the top D reservoir hide whilst everyone else only got as far as middle hide and then only because car park hide would have been unbearable in the northerly wind. The Scoter reappeared for a few mid week although I hadn’t seen it on the Monday. Geoff also had female-type Goosander and Greater Scaup, both managing to hang for RL, ML and I to reach top hide although the Goosander departed south soon after.

Walking back through D wood had my 1st Brambling since early last year.

I thought I had a dark winged goose flying south with Greylags but no sign of it on Watton NR. However a radio tagged Taiga Bean Goose was in the area recently so maybe?

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Greater Scaup with drake Tufted Duck

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Jack Snipe were still on the reserve last Sunday, with one utilising the “channels’ dug by Richard and his band of helpers on South Marsh East, likely the one I found on the 8th. This one was elusive when we looked for it late afternoon but I eventually located it very close to the hide, although well hidden behind reeds.

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While looking for it I located a 2nd bird much further away although was even more elusive. The rain last week has started to fill South Marsh East and made the Jack Snipes more elusive although the same lucky people had two again mid week.

In the gull roost this evening I found a Common Gull with white primaries, a possible confusion with a Mediterranean Gull for the unwary, then a real 1st winter Mediterranean Gull.

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Adult Common Gull with white primaries.

14/1o On Monday the only bird of note for me was Cetti’s Warbler briefly giving it’s explosive song at the lagoon. Richard had another one their favoured site, South Marsh Wast on my next visit, on Saturday.

DSCN0467Agonopterix alstromeriana-commonly seen in hides around the reserve-14/10/13

19/10 Like Monday it was again quiet on Saturday although had a bit of fun when while Doug Fairweather was showing off the highlights of his moth trapping a big spider decided the walk up his arm. Although I’ve not seen one quite like it before, it appears to be just a colour morph of Garden Spider.

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Garden Spider

The highlight of the moths was Rush Veneer, rare anywhere so a good site tick although will have to wait for Martin’s return from Sagre to get it’s status for the site.

After the good day on Friday only the Black-necked Grebe and a Red-crested Pochard were reported from Hornsea Mere on  Saturday.

20/10 Back on the site with RL and ML on Sunday morning. Had a load of Harlequin Ladybirds.

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Harlequin Ladybirds

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Harlequin Ladybird Larva

Otter had been seen by, amongst others, Eric Clubley, a site 1st for him. We headed through D wood wood checking the tit flocks on the way. Both Willow and Marsh Tit are been seen regularly recently.

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This one is definitely a Marsh Tit!

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Another Marsh Tit

Gave it a while in North Marsh hide but as usual no Otter. Also no Kingfisher, which have been scarce recently. However still plenty of Migrant Hawkers and Common Darter, including many still ovipositing.

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Migrant Hawker

For more news from the reserve check the Tophill Low Blog.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Butterflies, Cottingham, Uncategorized

17/10/13-Welton Waters

Went to Welton Waters on Thursday morning. Parked in Brough, on Myrtle Way and walked south to back of the airfield. Nice collection of birds feeding in bushes at the end of the footpath including a dozen Goldfinches and three Bullfinches.

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Male Bullfinch near BAE airfield-Brough

Only a few Greylag Geese and Curlew on the airfield and only a small area of water viewable over the reed on the marsh with just 2 Mute Swans visible. Again Brough Angling Complex was packed out with c40 Mute Swans and the first returning Goldeneye but Tufted Ducks were down on my last visit. Viewing was better from the flood-bank with the leaves falling from the trees but at the northern end things are getting worst as a earth bank is now obstructing the view. “Watersports” pit had only a small number of Mute Swans. Walked the river bank then up the east side of the pit. Had a calling Marsh Tit and Goldcrest in the north east corner but not much else passerine wise in the area. Walking back with the rising tide had eight Grey Plovers on the mud below the airfield but apart from a large number of Lapwing, a few Curlew, and two Redshank, waders were in short supply.

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Grey Plover-Humber foreshore below BAE airfield Brough.

A small flock of Roe Deer were grazing the reeds by the airfield but wandered off as I approached.

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Roe Deer-BAE airfield at Brough 

Roe Deer

Still a few Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers today.

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Common Darter-Welton Waters

Finished the day at North Cave Wetlands where a Great White Egret had been seen briefly this morning, likely the bird seen this afternoon at Tophill Low NR.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Nature in East Yorkshire, Welton Waters

18/10/13-Hornsea Mere

18/10 Went to Hornsea Mere on Friday morning with Andy and RL . Been quiet on the news front recently and an initial look from the hide produced nothing reportable although the Goldeneye were now in double figures and there were a good few Great Crested Grebes. We then set to work cladding the decaying front of the hide then putting a coat of paint on.

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RL painting the HVWG hide-Hornsea Mere

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“Camouflage paint” does exist-HVWG Hornsea hide. 

Back to birding and RL received news from MR regarding a Long-tailed Duck and Red-breasted Merganser. Although the latter would only be viewable from Kirkholme Point the former should be visible. Our initial scans proved negative but RL picked up the long staying Black-necked Grebe. This slowly swam towards the hide but before it came with in camera range RL scored again with the Long-tailed Duck. This one did come close in.

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Long-tailed Duck-Hornsea Mere

Having “filled our boots” and the grebe now out of sight we went round to Kirkholme Point. The Merganser was tucked in the north-east corner, opposite where the Bittern had showed well to the masses early this year.

Red-breasted Merganser

Had a quick look at Atwick churchyard but no migrants could be found.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire

Goodbye Pectoral Sandpiper?

5/10 On Saturday afternoon went for my 4th [and last?] view of the Swinemoor juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper found a week ago. As before it was on it’s favoured pool just south east of the humpback bridge, accompanied by the usual Ruff. Again both stupidly approachable. Nearly flushed by a dog but by luck [or decency on the part of it’s owner]  it decided not to run through the water.

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Pectoral Sandpiper and Ruff-Swinemoor

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Pectoral Sandpiper-Swinemoor-4/10/13 

The other remaining pool further north which had held the Ruff and Dunlin on Sunday was nearly dry.

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Nettle-tap-Anthophilia fabriciana-Swinemoor-4/10/13

Moved to High Eske NR. Walked directly to Leven Canal in hope of owls and other birds of prey but nothing doing.  Timed my return south so that having completed the circuit of High Eske would be in place to see any waders arriving to roost. However despite Tim Cowley reporting both waders missing to the south neither arrived. Also no reports of either roosting further north at Tophill Low NR during the week.

The wildfowl numbers were approaching winter numbers including 400+ Greylags but nothing unusual yet.

6/10 Went to Tophill Low NR with ML and RL on Sunday morning. A Great White Egret was seen earlier over North Marsh by, among others, Dave Tucker who’d also struck lucky with an Otter. The Egret was seen again late morning.

Joined JH in car park hide. 11 Pintails on the reservoir. Walked south to Watton NR. Still a good number of Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters on the wing, as well as a few Speckled Woods.

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Migrant Hawker

Met Geoff Barker as we approached the hide and were assured there was nothing of interest. However on immediately opening the flaps 12 Pink-footed Geese were seen with the Greylags then while trying for a Garganey, among the Teal, I found a Jack Snipe bobbing at the back.

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Pink-footed Geese-Watton NR

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Jack Snipe-Watton NR

Also another 3 Pintail and 2 late Swallows. While we were in the hide RL was on the opposite side of Barmston Drain with Hull Daily Mail photographer Kate Woolhouse. He had done an interview with Hull Daily Mail’s James Campbell about HVWG’s concerns regarding the sale of Watton Nature Reserve, during the week. For details on the sale check here.

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RL with Kate Woolhouse on Watton NR

Moved to Atwick this afternoon for a look for migrants but the only thing of notes was Harlequin Ladybird I found on JH’s car’s bonnet as he pulled up. A first for RL.

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Harlequin Ladybird-Atwick

Moved to Far Grange which was also quiet but had a Kingfisher at The Lakes which was good for the site.

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Pair of Migrants Hawkers-The Lakes at Far Grange

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The regular “Heinz” Goose-Far Grange

Did a sea watch from the east end of Far Grange golf course but only a Red-throated Diver and a juvenile Gannet of interest.

Both Richard Jennings and Tim Cowley had only the Ruff on Swinemoor this morning. Richard also had an interesting pale Buzzard over Leven Carrs but thought only Common. I am not working this week so should get a chance to look for it.

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