Category Archives: Hornsea Mere

The ex-HVWG Hide

The hide leased by Hull Valley Wildlife group from the Wassand Estate is back in use from 4th April. The hide at Hornsea Mere accessed from Seaton Road will be an add-on to membership of Wassand Hide and Wildlife Group Society. This costs £25 [£35 for married couples] with addition of Seaton Road Hide another £10. There appears to be no option for Seaton Hide alone. As before there will be restrictions on access but no details at present. When we leased the hide, because of limited parking, only 2 cars were allowed. Unlike the Wassand Hide there will be no day tickets. For more details check here. No mention of Seaton Road Hide but does give contact details. Alternatively in person at East Lodge, Seaton, Hornsea HU11 5RJ.  This is the house at the top of the drive to Wassand Hall. Also available on 01964 537474.

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Flaming June? Not Yet?

3/6/15 Against type I got up early on Wednesday morning to empty the trap. A good idea as the moths are less active and I can beat the birds to them. Against, I get up early five days a week so need my sleep but also the orientation of our garden means the light is poor for photography early on. However paid off. Despite my concerns with last nights wind it was now still. The first moth was Flame Carpet, new for the year, and sitting on top of the trap in full views.

DSCN7144Flame Carpet

Others of note were a Flame Shoulder, 2nd for the year, Heart and Dart, 1st for the year but a common moth, and Waved Umber, 1st trapped this year but already had one while at work recently as well as another that failed to enter the trap, but still only the 3rd for the garden.DSCN7155

Flame Shoulder

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Waved Umber

The best though was Figure of eighty, again outside the trap, and only the 2nd for the garden.

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Figure of eighty

Started the morning with RL at Bewholme Hall. No sign of any wigeon or the drake Garganey but an Avocet was a site tick for me. The Shelduck have somehow managed to hang on to their remaining chicks {see here].

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Avocet with Shelduck chicks-Bewholme Hall

Went to Hornsea Mere Wassand Hide this afternoon.

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The new lock on Wassand Hide-means entry only possible with the code even if the hide is already occupied 

Very quiet except for good views of several Marsh Harriers. Also two Common Terns flew west.

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Common Tern-Hornsea Mere

Several damselflies behind the hide, mostly Common Blue but also my first Blue-tailed. DSCN7202

Common Blue Damselflies-Hornsea Mere

Also had a huge queen Hornet on the along the path back.

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Hornet-Hornsea Mere

MR had a male Ruff in flight at the east end so with that area covered we went to check breeding birds at Heron Lakes. With the Island submerged there were no breeding Common Terns but one flew west. Also a successful Mute Swan pair, several Canada Goose goslings, two juvenile Little Grebes and Little Ringed Plover nesting in a stupid place fortunately known to the work force.

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Little Grebes-Heron Lakes

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Little Ringed Plover-Heron Lakes
DSCN7212Mute Swan family-Heron Lakes

Also got my first Four-spotted Chaser for the year.

Moved on to Tophill Low NR. Had a quick look at D reservoir then went to check the report of a terrapin on South Lagoon.

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♂.Red-crested Pochard-Tophill Low NR on D reservoir

Still present and looked like one I had a few years back. Didn’t look like the usual Red-eared Slider. Seems to have been seen previously although information was suppressed?! Following research by RL identified as Yellow-bellied Slider.

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Yellow-bellied Slider-Tophill NR on South Lagoon.

They are very long lived with a Red-eared Slider present at least 18 years at High Eske NR and well grown when I first saw it.

Went only as far as South Marsh East where everything was much as yesterday.

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Filed under Bewholme Hall, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

Breeding birds at Tophill Low NR

2/6/15 Went to Bewholme Hall with RL mid morning. The Drake American Wigeon was still there with the female Eurasian Wigeon [latest Merebirders blog confirms the ID]. Also had the drake Garganey although not reported yesterday. A Garganey seen in flight with Gadwall at Hornsea Mere yesterday may have been the same bird as it associates with Gadwall at Bewholme. Heavy drizzle prevented taking any pictures but Tony Dixon fared better a short while later.

American Wigeon

♂.American Wigeon-Bewholme Hall-Tony Dixon

JH had the birds late afternoon but no one reported yesterday’s Barnacle Geese or the Whooper Swan but a Bar-headed Goose was seen.

Went to Hornsea Mere with the large number of Common Swifts the only thing of note from HVWG Hide and Kirkholme Point.

Headed to Tophill Low NR. On the way had a Turtle Dove on the road at Whinnyforth Farm.

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Unusually I left my camera in the boot but managed to get it with out flushing the dove. However although close I could only shot through the wind screen so couldn’t get a usable picture. It then flew to wires. Too distant but RL got a few shots from the car.

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Turtle Dove-Whinnyforth Farm.

Then flew towards the farmyard and was lost. Funnily in the summer of 2007 a Turtle Dove was regularly with Collared Doves in a nearby field at Scurf Dyke Farm.

By the time we reached Tophill Low NR the weather had improved and the swifts had dispersed so a plan to find a rare one was off so we walked the south end instead. Informed by the bird-box crew there was a baby Tawny Owl at the entrance to the residences road. Got a few nice shots.

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Fledgling Tawny Owl

Later it or it’s sibling was perched by the owl box.

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Had the first Wall for the year by the lagoons and a second by O reservoir.

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Wall near lagoons.

Oddly the only other butterfly was a male Orange-tip by D reservoir.

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Canada Goose family on O reservoir banking.

Cuckoo calling in South Scrub.

The over summering, presumably unwell, drake Goldeneye was still on South Marsh West as well as the regular drake Red-crested Pochard although no sign of his partner, maybe finally sitting?

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Over-summering ♂.Goldeneye on South Marsh West

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♂.Red-crested Pochard-South Marsh West

Richard and his volunteers work over the recents years seems to have worked for breeding birds at least. A new ditch from the lagoons makes control of levels easier and should help with autumn passage. As expected the usual Black-headed Gull with at least six pair of Common Terns, although the latter aren’t on the raft on Watton NR yet. Also not unusual were a sitting Little Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher but a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls is a first for the reserve.

DSCN7130Little Ringed Plover-South Marsh East

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Nesting Oystercatcher and Black-headed Gull-South Marsh East

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sitting Lesser Black-backed Gull-South Marsh East

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Common Terns-South Marsh East 

Also found a first summer Little Gull. The Black-headed Gulls got up twice as though a predator was passing over. Saw nothing the first time but on the second occasion it was due to a blue kids balloon floating over!

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1st summer Little Gull with Common Gull-South Marsh East

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Dead Mole near lagoons

A male Montagu’s Harrier, likely the Blacktoft Sands RSPB bird, flew south over the Triton Inn in Brantingham this afternoon.

The moth traps out tonight but the wind doesn’t bode well for a good catch.

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Filed under Bewholme Hall, Birds in East Yorkshire, Butterflies, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

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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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

Crane in vain

17/10 Went to High Eske NR on Friday morning. Wildfowl number still low with only 2 Goldeneye new in since Sunday. The female present since late 2006 hasn’t been seen for a few week so must be assumed dead, but 8 years isn’t bad for a flightless bird. Hadn’t seen the Common Crane since last Thursday and no reports of it since Saturday. Walked south but no sign near Arram Grange. Walked round the back of the pit and was surprised to see the Terrapin hauled out on a dead tree in the pond in the north-west corner. An indication of how unseasonably mild it is.

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 Red-eyed Terrapin/Slider-High Eske NR 

Walking north along the river there were six Whooper Swans on Arram Carrs, presumably part of the flock from Sunday.

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Whooper Swans-Arram Carrs

After the recent rain there is a lot of water on Arram Carrs although not at 2012 level. However along with the Lapwing there were several Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and best of all 3 Pintail.

Walked as fair as Leven Carrs but still no sign of the Common Crane. If it has finally gone I wonder whether it has flew south or linked it with the flocks in the Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

Went to Hornsea Mere this afternoon. Started in HVWG Hide but saw nothing of interest. Moved to Kirkholme Point where a few other birders were viewing the grebes. The Red-necked Grebe was off the jetties but distance. Only 2 Slavonian Grebes were reported today and late afternoon they were close into the south side. Again didn’t see the female Scaup. Went to the south side and got reasonably close to to Slavs from the corner of 2nd field from where the Spotted Crake was viewed a year ago.

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 Slavonian Grebes-Hornsea Mere

Heard a Water Rail but the water level is too high this year to have a chance of seeing it. Walking back met a birder looking for the Red-necked Grebe with only a pair of compact Leica bins. Managed to showed him it through my scope although even through it it was very distant.

Had a quick look at Swine Moor at dusk but again barren.

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Filed under Arram Carrs, Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Swinemoor

Quieter day but a new moth.

16/10 Received news via NP that a Great Grey Shrike had been photographed on Wednesday from the disused railway south of Swine so headed that way with RL this morning. Fortunately met a dog walker along Hornsea Trail who had actually seen the photograph and was able to show us exactly where it had been seen. No sign this morning though. However still nice to see good numbers of Yellowhammers and Skylarks as well as Redwing sat out rather then just in flight.

Redwing Swine 161014a RL

Redwing-Swine-RL

From there went to Hornsea NCBY, one of our migration hotspots. Plenty of Robins by the caravan park but the only obvious migrant was a Reed Warbler. Walking the ditch north of Atwick Gap RL flushed a micro moth. Got it in my bins but not immediately able to ID. Went for my camera but lost track of it. Didn’t need to worry though as we later flushed several more and managed to get a few shots good enough to ID. Looked to be one of the Udea genera and later confirmed as Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis , a common migrant particularly on the coast. New moth for me.

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Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis

I continued on the Atwick while RL drove round. Checked the fields to the north of Cliff Road where we used to get Jack Snipes before it had been “improved”. This field has always been good for Stonechat and didn’t let me down today with a nice male.

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male Stonechat-Atwick

Finished at another one of our hotspots, Atwick churchyard. On arrival it was obvious, as on the coast, that there were a lot of Goldcrest which gave hope for something better. However the only migrants found were a female Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. However the Chiffchaff looked very drab but didn’t get enough on it to confirm it as Siberian. The Willow Warbler was also quite grey suggesting a true northern migrant. Had a few fleeting glimpses of Yellow-browed Warbler-type bird but never confirmed.

Not surprisingly as elsewhere in the country the Grey Phalaropes had disappeared overnight at Hornsea Mere but the 3 Slavonian Grebes, Red-necked Grebe and a Little Gull were still off Kirkholme Point as well as a female Scaup which I’ve yet to connect with. The Velvet Scoter wasn’t reported which may suggest it wasn’t the returning bird from last winter although it did prove elusive earlier this year so my still be around. For more from Hornsea area check here.

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Filed under Atwick, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Hornsea Northcliff Boatyard, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Swine

A good day at Hornsea Mere

15/10 Went out with RL on Monday afternoon. Went first to Swine Moor, viewing as usual from Weel Road opposite Corporation Farm. On Sunday afternoon I had found a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper with Richard Jennings. Also had up 7 Ruff and 6 Dunlin along with the usual flock of Wigeon and Teal. Also that day had the 1st 10 returning Whooper Swans north of High Eske NR on Arram Carrs but didn’t see the Common Crane, Had hoped to get back to Swine Moor earlier but the weather on Monday and Tuesday had not encouraged me. However this afternoon the area was deserted with just the regular Little Egret of note.

Went to Hornsea Mere starting at Wassand Hide. Met MR on the way down. Had had the 2 Slavonian Grebes off Kirkholme Point and a 3rd bird towards the west end. Also found a Red-necked Grebe and had seen a dying Gannet on “tree island”. Not long after getting in the hide MR picked up a grebe which turned out to be the 3rd Slavonian Grebe presumably pushed into Decoy Bay by a boat.

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 One of the Slavonian Grebes from Wassand Hide-5/10/14 

Also a female Marsh Harrier still present.

Next went round to Kirkholme Point. Scanning the edge of 1st field, where the other 2 Slavonian Grebes had been seen, picked up a female Velvet Scoter, possibly the same bird seen over the previous 2 winters.

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 fem Velvet Scoter from last winter but likely the same bird as today

Scanning further east I picked up the 2 Slavonian Grebes, then the Red-necked Grebe.

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Red-necked Grebe

Moved to get closer t0 the latter and had a moment of self doubt when I picked up a Little Grebe. However scanning to the right picked up the Red-necked Grebe again. Also 3 Little Gulls, an adult and 2 1st winters. Had texted MR about the Velvet Scoter but before he got to us it was flushed by a boat and we lost track of it. MR had been delayed by a Yellow-browed Warbler calling unseen near Wassand Hall.

Finished the day in HVWG Hide. Had the Gannet on tree island.

Gannet and Juv Mute Hornsea Mere 151014 RL

 Moribund Gannet-RL

Didn’t look too fit but to quote John Cleese it hadn’t yet “fallen off it’s perch and joined the choir eternal”. Started checking the gulls roost and picked up 3 waders in flight. Pale grey with a strong white wing-bar and was thinking Sanderling or Dunlin when RL reminded me that several Grey Phalaropes had been reported by RBA today. The penny dropped and not long after they landed and there identity became obvious. Tried contacting MR but his phone wasn’t on. For the rest of the time we were in the hide they remained on the water mid-mere and with the fading light would have been very difficult to pick up if you weren’t sitting with us.

For more recent sighting in the Hornsea area check here.

Seems to be an influx of Jay at the moment with bird seen coming in on the coast and evidenced myself by Jays around Cottingham and Willerby this week. Seen at Hornsea Mere today but my been just resident birds.

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Filed under Arram Carrs, Birds in East Yorkshire, Cottingham, High Eske NR, Hornsea Mere, Swinemoor

Two new birds for Paull

8/3 A juvenile Iceland Gull was found by Simon Brebner on Saturday morning at Paull Holme Strays.

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Iw Iceland Gull-Paull Holme Strays-Simon Brebner

RL and ML managed to twitch it that afternoon and interestingly had a second immature Iceland Gull flying over Hedon Road towards Alexander Dock on the way. Graham Catley had seen a first winter Iceland Gull at Hull Docks a few weeks back.

10/3 Went to Paull with RL on Monday afternoon. The Iceland Gull was still on the flats off the western inlet of the Strays [Paull tick no.1] . Was quite settled and we were able to creep to the end of the flood bank with out flushing it so getting some reasonable photos, despite my battery failing after a few shots.

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1w Iceland Gull-Paull Sands

However a non-birder oblivious to our mission brazenly walked past RL and flushed it. However it only flew a short distance onto the Strays proper.

Finished the day at Hornsea Mere where we had the nine Scaup again.

11/3 Went to High Eske NR on Tuesday afternoon. Highlights were a singing Chiffchaff, a drake Goosander at dusk and the regular Barn Owl over Pulfin NR. More of a ‘lowlight’ was two Mink that climbed out of the river and walked across the causeway in front of me, into the borrow pit. My first sighting for a few years and worrying for Richard Hampshire who seems to be controlling the species further up the river at Tophill Low NR.

Returned on Friday evening when I had a least nine Little Egrets flying in to roost. Again couldn’t locate the roost and have come to the conclusion that they must roost in trees out of sight west of pit. May have missed a few while looking for the roost including any coming from the south so the twelve reported a few week back may be regular.

12/3 Went to Welton Waters on Wednesday afternoon. Duck numbers were up with 47 Tufted Duck and 18 Goldeneye, split between Brough Angling Complex and “watersports pit”. No Chiffchaff along Common Lane but Pete Scott had two this Saturday. My habit of returning to Brough airfield marsh at dusk finally paid off with a close Short-eared Owl and a female Marsh Harrier coming in to roost.

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Short-eared Owl-Brough airfield marsh

15/3 Went to Hornsea Mere with ML and RL on Saturday afternoon. Nothing from HVWG hide except the assumed escaped Red-crested Pochard so went to Paull. Started at Saltend where Simon Brebner had seen 122 Avocets on Friday but none for us. However while counting the other waders and Shelduck a passing dog-walker called out “look behind you” and there was a very low Red Kite [Paull tick no.2]. RL and I fired off a few quick shots.

Red Kite Saltend  150314 RL+

Red Kite-Paull-RL

ML had stayed in his car but fortunately had seen it independently. Even tried whistling to get our attention despite the strong wind!

Went to the old lighthouses to count the waders on Paull Holme Strays and Sands. Totals were:- Turnstone 29, Bar-tailed Godwit 2, Shelduck 74, Ringed Plover 5,  Sanderling 17, Dunlin 620, Grey Plover 720, Oystercatcher 5, Golden Plover 1900, Avocet 9, Wigeon 53, Little Egret 2 and Curlew 27. I also had a Peregrine repeatedly putting up the waders on Paull Sands.

16/3 Again on Sunday morning had nothing from HVWG hide at Hornsea Mere except the Red-crested Pochard but Geoff Dobbs fared better from the south side starting with Cetti’s Warbler in 1st field then Long-tailed Duck, Black-necked Grebe and redhead Smew. The Velvet Scoter and 4 Scaup were seen in the afternoon. More from the mere here.

RL and I fared little better on the sea between Atwick and Barmston with only a few Red-throated Divers, Great Crested Grebes and Guillemots, although I did have a Kittiwake off Ulrome. Again no sign of the Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston but did have notable 50 Oystercatchers. Also had a Comma butterfly while looking for migrants at Atwick.

For my recent moth trapping in  Cottingham check here.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Paull, Paull Holme Strays, Ulrome, Welton Waters

Kumlien’s grip back at Tophill Low NR and other late February highlights

23/2 Started Sunday morning at Paull. Just as RL and I got into the “fisherman’s car park” Nick Morgan pulled up beside us. He was short of counters for the Estuary Counts so RL volunteered to do the section covering Paull Holme Strays. In fact this just meant forwarding numbers from the the count we planned to do anyway. Positioned ourselves behind the old lighthouse near the western inlet to the the Strays which provides surprisingly good shelter from the strong wind. Our counts were:- Teal 40, Golden Plover 6600, Wigeon 682, Shelduck 234, Grey Plover 37, Lapwing 930, Oystercatcher 3,  Bar-tailed Godwit 400, Redshank 52, Dunlin 892, Ringed Plover 20, Curlew 66 and Turnstone 5. More Paull area news here.

Went to meet JH at Hornsea Mere early afternoon. Had an adult Little Gull as well as the usual Scaup and female Velvet Scoter. Again no sign of any Great White Egrets. I’m not aware of any sighting for c2 weeks.

Went to Tophill Low NR with RL late afternoon to do the gull roost on D reservoir. For a change we had Middle Hide  to ourselves. RL picked a winter adult Mediterranean Gull, probably the same bird we had on Friday.

Med Gull adlt D res Tophill 230214 RL

Adult winter Mediterranean Gull-RL

While watching it RL called out an assumed Kumlien’s Gull. Only saw it briefly before it flew south and was only able it say it was an immature Iceland-type. Fortunately it only flew a short distance and it slowly drifted back north and closer to us over the next hour and a half and we were clearly able to tell it was a 2nd winter Kumlien’s Gull -although paler than the last time I’d seen it well- and most likely the Barmston bird. Most of the regulars on site managed to see it but only from Car Park Hide so didn’t get the close views we eventually got.

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2w Kumlien’s Gull

Having been seen late last year and then again on Monday we were relieved to grip it back. It eventually flew off near dark. While watching the Kumlien’s Gull I picked up a second, near summer plumaged, Mediterranean Gull. Also again had 2 Little Egrets flying south at dusk. For more Tophill Low NR news check here.

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Little Egrets flying south over D reservoir

25/2 On Tuesday afternoon went to Welton Waters. Again very little wildfowl with only 16 Tufted Duck and 11 Goldeneye on the 2 larger pits.  Presumably due to the mild winter. With few Smew in the area and the previously regular drake not at Far Ings it’s looking unlikely one will appear this winter. However with a Long-tailed Duck at Barton-on-Humber GPs there is still the possibly of something interesting before spring. As usual ended the day overlooking Brough airfield marsh. Yet again no Short-eared Owls but did have an immature male Marsh Harrier coming in to roost. 

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Roe Deer-floodback by Brough airfield marsh

27/2 Went to Hornsea Mere with ML and RL on Thursday morning. Again had 8 Scaup, including 2 drakes, and the female Velvet Scoter, all from the HVWG hide.

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Greater Scaup

Velvet Scoter female Hornsea Mere 270214 RL

Female Velvet Scoter-RL

Moved round to the Kirkholme Point where ML picked up the long staying Long-tailed Duck, feeding close to Swan Island. First time I’ve seen it this year but ML and RL had seen it on Saturday. For more news from Hornsea Mere check here.

Long-tailed Duck Hornsea Mere 270214a RL

Long-tailed Duck-RL

Went to High Eske NR late afternoon. Like Welton Waters, wildfowl numbers are well down here. Still c200 Wigeon but that’s low compared to previous years. No Tufted Duck. Great Crested Grebe had increased but still only 6. 13 Goldeneye was respectable but lower than in the past. Only 6 Gadwall and even Mallard numbers were low. The breeding pair of Oystercatcher have been back since the 17th with one on the 3rd. Walked to the north of the pit to look for swans. Had seen a juvenile Whooper Swan, presumably the bird from December, with Mute Swans and a Black Swan on Arram Carr twice last week [both bird in the top image but too distant for a better shot]  but today only had a few Mute Swans. Didn’t have time to do Leven Carr but had seen a male Hen Harrier on Monday, presumably the bird seen recently at Tophill Low NR  [see link above]. Usually had several Little Egret flying towards High Eske/Pulfin NR late afternoon, with 7 on Monday, but saw none today. Previous winters Little Egrets have roosted at the south end of High Eske NR but this winter I haven’t seen any actually roosting. Had a look at Pulfin NR where a regular Barn Owl was hunting but couldn’t get close enough for a picture. A Little Egret, the only one seen tonight, flew over from the south but I couldn’t relocate it roosting nearby. Walking south from Pulfin NR kept pushing a small bird which I assumed to be a Robin but when I finally got a clear view turned out to be a Stonechat, my first here for a few years. The light was fading but I had to try for a photo. Kept moving and was usually obscured but I fired off a few shots and miraculously got one reasonably clear shot.

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Stonechat

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Paull Holme Strays, Tophill Low NR, Welton Waters