Monthly Archives: November 2014

Little Auk at Barmston

18/11/14 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL on Tuesday morning. Started in HVWG Hide. Had 2 Slavonian Grebes in the middle of the lake west of the hide and a more distance bird close to Kirkholme Point. Went round to Kirkholme Point to get some pictures.

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 Slavonian Grebe-Hornsea Mere

Told a 4th Slavonian Grebe was again off the jetties but couldn’t locate it although we were looking into the sun. Went round to Wassand Hide but added nothing to the day list.

Went to Barmston this afternoon. Had been a good movement of Little Auk recently but the winds had gone east today and judging from the small numbers record so far today didn’t look too promising for us. The easterlies also meant it felt cold, a rare thing so far this autumn. Also the sea rough and only found 3 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver on it. Also little moving. Started looking further afield. RL picked up a dark object bobbing off the outfall marker. We both thought Little Auk, but was it alive? RL saw it put it’s head up so at least still breathing so a year tick. Walked south to get parallel then followed it as it drifted north with tide.

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 Little Auk-Barmston

Although not 100% was still fit enough to dive ahead of the bigger waves and occasionally flapped it’s wings.

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Little Auk showing signs of life-Barmston

Followed it to the north of the caravan park where I got down onto the beach to get closer. The usual fate of flightless Little Auks is to be taken by a large gull but this one was lucky to go unnoticed while we were there at least. With the tide up there were few waders just a small mobile flock containing 4 Sanderling, 10 Ringed Plover and a Turnstone.

Went to Tophill Low NR late afternoon to do the gull roost on D reservoir. Nothing unusual but numbers were decent with:-

Black-headed Gull 14000

Common Gull 21840

Great Black-backed Gull 570

Herring Gull 310

The nest box team had seen the regular Scaup but not the Grey Phalarope. Later found a BTO worker, looking for signs of bird flu, had seen the phalarope but not logged it. Fortunately didn’t see any sickly wildfowl! Check here for more on bird flu.

19/11/14 At least one Slavonian Grebe was still at Hornsea Mere on Wednesday morning. The Grey Phalarope was at Tophill Low still in the south west corner of the D reservoir. Also the first bittern of the winter was picked up coming in to roost at Watton NR in the afternoon and couple of jays were seen. For recent news from Tophill Low NR check here. Two Little Auks were on the sea off Barmston caravan park early afternoonGrey Phalarope in fog D res Tophill Low 151114a RLGrey Phalarope-Tophill Low NR-RL

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

Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

11/11/14 A phalarope was found by the nest box team at Tophill Low NR late Tuesday morning. RL went to check it out and not surprisingly, considering the number of recent sightings, it was a Grey. However it was at the north end of D reservoir and viewing was difficult.

Grey Phalarope Tophill Low D res 111114c RL

 Grey Phalarope-Tophill Low NR D Reservoir-RL

Didn’t need it for the site or even the year [see here] so didn’t consider it worth the trip that late in the day. Did Welton Waters instead. Again some ducks on the watersports pit but nothing on Brough Angling Complex due to dye used to suppress weed growth which also seems to discourage ducks. A pair of Marsh Harriers roosted on Brough airfield marsh, presumably the pair that I consider to have bred there this year.

14/11/14 Despite no reports between times the Grey Phalarope was seen again by Lee Johnson on Friday afternoon. However may not have been looked for since, not helped by heavy rain on Thursday. Also had a 3rd winter Caspian Gull briefly.

15/11/14 Heavy fog on Saturday meant relocating the Grey Phalarope in the morning was very difficult. It was finally found against the wall below North Hide by RL, much to the relief of a group of hopefuls in the hide and at least one regular who had missed the last one.

Also a Scaup on the reservoir.
Scaup female in fog front ctr D res Tophill Low 151114 RL
Scaup-Tophill Low NR D res-RL

16/11/14 On Sunday finally had enough time to make a trip to Tophill Low NR. Fortunately the Phalarope had already been located by the time I got there. Spend all day feeding either side of middle hide but as it stayed close to the reservoir wall was only viewable from car park or north hide and therefore distant.

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Grey Phalarope-Tophill Low NR D reservoir

Watched it from the car park hide for a while then went to check D wood feeders. Heard and saw several Willow and Marsh Tits.

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Willow Tit-Tophill Low D wood feeders 

Also had a Chiffchaff. Not a drab bird so likely a wintering bird from the near continent.

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Grey Squirrel-Tophill Low NR D wood

Checked D reservoir again from middle hide. The Phalarope wasn’t visible but had a immature drake Scaup.

Report of a Jack Snipe on South Marsh West early afternoon but didn’t show in my two visits but did have a male Marsh Harrier over. Also a large flock of Fieldfare on the river bank from South Marsh East hide.

Up to 3 Slavonian Grebes still seen regularly at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point with 4 reported this morning.

Slavonian Grebe Hornsea Mere 151114a RL

Slavonian-Hornsea Mere-RL

For more from Hornsea Mere see here.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Tophill Low NR, Welton Waters