Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Black Redstart at Barmston

JH wasn’t with me when I had the returning Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston 3 weeks ago, so on Sunday morning we head up there. Unfortunately it had been seen flying south earlier so satisfied ourselves with a showy Black Redstart on the cliff face below the car park.
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Black Redstart

Came onto the cliff top but was seen off by a Robin and moved out of view.

Went to Hornsea Mere, starting at Kirkholme Point. Not surprisingly with the Ivory Gull still at Patrington Haven there were a few unfamiliar faces. Unfortunately the Grey Phalarope was distant again. Kirkholme Point seems to be the coldest place in East Yorkshire so quickly moved to the relative shelter of the hide. I found the Velvet Scoter, as before spending most of it’s time between us and Swan Island so tricky to see from Kirkholme Point or the south fields.

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Female Velvet Scoter

Later JH picked up 7 Scaup which had moved into our bay unseen. The Grey Phalarope was visible briefly late afternoon from the hide, near tree island. Both Great White Egrets had been seen earlier but we only had one hidden in the reeds distantly in Decoy Bay. Also seen by others today were the Long-tailed Duck, a female Common Scoter and a Slavonian Grebe, the latter 2 new for today. Also frustratingly a 2nd winter Caspian Gull was seen after we left.

Steve Routledge covered the same ground. Check here for his finds.

For more recent sightings from the mere check here.

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

Hornsea Mere-Grey Phalarope and Great White Egrets.

After “tick and running” the Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven with ML and RL on Saturday morning spent the afternoon in Hornsea Mere hide. The Grey Phalarope was still present but again distant, feeding along the edge east of “tree island”.

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The Grey Phalarope was seen in the area to the left

Both Great White Egrets were still around, seen several times in flight above the trees opposite Kirkholme Point then flying to the west end, again taking a route that passed close in front of the hide.

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Great White Egret

One returned to Kirkholme Point, feeding in the north east corner. The second bird could be seen roosting low in the Cormorant trees from Seaton Road as we drove home. The Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck were seen in the morning but didn’t show for us.

The Kumlien’s Gull was still at Barmston on Monday.

2 1st winter Mediterranean Gulls at Tophill Low NR this afternoon. For more news see here.


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Solitary Whooper Swan at High Eske NR

Following the presence of Whooper Swans and wild geese at High Eske NR on 4/11 things looked good for another interesting winter this has so far turn out to be a false hope. I hadn’t been up there for a month but Eric Clubley had and conformed that the Whooper Swan hadn’t stay on.

14/12 RL and ML visited High Eske NR on Saturday and did find a lone juvenile Whooper Swan and juvenile Pink-footed Goose.

They also visited Hornsea Mere where the Grey Phalarope was again showing well from Kirkholme. Also both Great White Egrets, 2 Egyptian Geese and a Danish-ringed Black-headed Gull.

Danish-ringed Black-headed Gull  Hornsea Mere 141213b RL

Danish ringed Black-headed Gull-RL

RL and I had also seen the Long-tailed Duck and female Velvet Scoter on Friday as well as a very showy Peregrine, repeatedly harassing Carrion Crow on Swan Island. I also managed a distant view of the Grey Phalarope.

Velvet Scoter Hornsea Mere 121213 RL

Female Velvet Scoter-RL

Also earlier we had another Peregrine at Swinemoor as well as  410 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 11 Shoveler, 200 Lapwing, 15 Redshank, 2 Dunlin and 5 Golden Plover.

Peregrine Swinemoor 131213 RL

Peregrine-Swinemoor-RL

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull was seen at Tophill Low NR on Saturday afternoon as well as the regular female Scaup. A Galloway and 2 Belted Galloways are now grazing South Scrub. Told one of the Belted Galloways is very friendly. Unfortunately they seem to prefer to defecate on the footpath!

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Galloway and Belted Galloways

A Black-throated Diver was off Barmston but no recent news on the Kumlien’s Gull.

15/12 I made it to High Eske NR on Sunday morning. Unaware of my friends’ previous visit had the pleasure of finding the Whooper with the Mute Swans and the Pinkfoot with the regular Greylag flock at High Eske farm.

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Juvenile Whooper and Mute Swan.

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Juvenile Pink-footed Goose with Greylag

The lack of Great Crested Grebes was of interest, in fact wildfowl hasn’t reached usual winter numbers yet with only Wigeon approaching them. Had a look at Leven Carrs. A cracking male Marsh Harrier flying west over the river was nice but otherwise only a Kestrel and Common Buzzard.

Did some more birding this afternoon. See here.

The Grey Phalarope at Hornsea Mere was only seen distantly off the Cormorant Trees today. Dave Bryan noticed a growth on the phalarope’s face but I’ve yet to check RL’s photos for it. Nothing else reported.

No bird reports but Welton Waters was hit hard by the recent floods with detritus including an old frig washed into Brough Angling Complex.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Swinemoor, Tophill Low NR, Welton Waters

Grey Phalarope at Hornsea Mere.

10/12 A Grey Phalarope was found at Hornsea Mere by Christopher Harris from Kirkholme Point early Tuesday afternoon. Amazingly Christopher also had 5 Waxwings at the Nags Head at Routh on the way home.

11/12 The Phalarope was still there on Wednesday and was again close enough for RL to get some good pictures.

Grey Phalarope Hornsea Mere 111213b RL

Grey Phalarope-RL

Lee Ives had the 2nd winter Kumlien’s Gull in the roost again.

12/12 Finally managed to get to Hornsea Mere with RL on Thursday afternoon. Just before we reached Kirkholme Point SG had managed to see the Grey Phalarope, for the 1st time today. However he couldn’t re-find it after telling the other birders on site. SG also had the Long-tailed Duck but RL and I saw neither bird. Went round to the hide do the gull roost. I re-found the female Velvet Scoter, between us and Swan Island, so out of sight from Kirkholme Point. Roy picked up a Great White Egret flying west from Kirkholme Point, then just before we gave up for the day I picked up the 2nd egret also flying to the roost. So dark I could initially only see it through bins. As last Thursday both birds flew close to the hide but again no sign of the Kumlien’s.

For more from the mere check here.

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Blow wind blow.

5/12 On Thursday morning went to Tophill Low NR with RL. A female Scaup had been present on D reservoir since Tuesday, likely the same bird I found on 25/11, and with the strong wind pushing the ducks under the car park hide I was easily able to locate it.

Greater Scaup-Tophill Low NR

Female-type Greater Scaup on D res

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Solitary Mute Swan on D res

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Wigeon on D res 

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Common Buzzard struggling with the gale

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Rough weather on D res

Walking south had a Little Egret over North Lagoon.

Went to Barmston this afternoon for a quick look for the Kumlien’s Gull. Had been seen on Wednesday but no sign today. Several Turnstone again showing well on the cliff-top.

Finished at Hornsea Mere. Mark Robinson had had the Kumlien’s Gull in Wednesday‘s roost but didn’t come in today. However with had several distant views of a Great White Egret, which again was feeding at times in the north-east corner of Kirkholme Point, before flying west to roost. It passed close to the hide but too dark to photograph. Also near dusk RL found a Whooper Swan and me a juvenile Velvet Scoter and redhead Goosander.

6/12 The 2nd winter Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston was seen by Martin Garner on Friday.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

Seeing double and kum back?

1/12 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL and ML on Sunday morning. Joined by JH in the hide. I picked out a Great White Egret actually on the edge of Kirkholme Point. We drove round but unfortunately it saw us before we saw it and flew to ‘tree Island’  where it was joined by the 2nd bird which had been previously in trees just to the east.

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Great White Egret flying from Kirkholme Point

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Great White Egrets off ‘tree island’

A first winter Caspian Gull was seen off the ‘cormorant trees’ on Wednesday and six Scaup and the Long-tailed Duck again on Thursday.

Went on to Ulrome where only a few Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe were seen, much the same as RL had  on Saturday. We did have a Grey Seal close offshore though.

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Grey Seal

Went to Barmston and walked to the outfall for waders but were beaten by the tide. I continued to the car park. Just as I got there a white-winged gull flew north. I moved quickly to opposite the caravan park. Initially no sign but then I picked it up pretty close eating on a small flat fish. Immediately realised it was an Iceland Gull then looking closer saw the primaries had greyish brown centres with white edges confirming my suspicions that it was the returning Kumlien’s Gull.

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Second winter Kumlien’s Gull eating a flatfish.

Flew off as ML arrived.

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Turnstone

As the tide was pushing up we went to look for it with the other gulls in the fields north of the caravan park. No sign but as we walked back I saw it back where I originally had it. Watched it for a while and were able to pick out the darker wedges on the outer webs of the outer primaries when it flew a short distance onto the sea where it lingered before flying north a few hundred metres to join a few other gulls on the beach.

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Second winter Kumlien’s Gull taking off

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Second winter Kumlien’s Gull over the sea-RL

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Oystercatcher

The Snow Buntings at Paull were last seen on Tuesday. For more from Paull see here. Also includes an account of the Gyr Falcon.

Roy and JH had 26 Goosander including 9 drake on East Park Lake in Hull on Wednesday.

Goosanders East Park Hull 271113a RL

 

Pair of Goosander-East Park,Hull-RL

Also a ringed Black-headed Gull.

Black-headed Gull Danish ringed VEX East Park Hull 271113b RL

Danish ringed Black-headed Gull-East Park-RL

For the latest from Tophill Low NR check here.

For more in the Hull Valley recording area check here.

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