Category Archives: Swinemoor

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

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

Red-breasted Flycatcher-Hornsea Northcliff Boatyard

18/9 On Thursday morning a juvenile Red-breasted Flycatcher was found by Lee Ives in bushes by the slipway at Hornsea Northcliff Boatyard [otherwise known as Atwick Gap]. Managed to get there mid afternoon with RL. Several Merebirders were there and had all had good views but it had been out of views for a while. Walked the bushes by the drain that runs north, flushing a warbler several times which eventually posed long enough to ID as a Garden Warbler [not a Barred!]. Back at the slipway had the Red-breasted Flycatcher in a bare bush long enough for RL to get a few pictures. It then disappeared again and although seen off and on for another hour never show well again partly due to been chased by a Robin but the human traffic didn’t help.

Red-breasted Flycatcher Atwick Gap 180914a RL

Juvenile Red-breasted Flycatcher-Hornsea-RL 

Red-breasted Flycatcher Atwick Gap 180914 RL

Also had a Chiffchaff.

This was a Hull Valley tick for RL and I. The only previous record we are aware of was one in Atwick churchyard c10 years ago. Found by Bill Curtiss it was suppressed because of a funeral service.

Had quick look around Atwick churchyard but had no migrants. Also did Bewholme Hall pond but again no waders.

31 Little Gulls were at Hornsea Mere early evening. Also 5 Red-crested Pochard including at least two juveniles and one bearing a non-BTO ring, believe to be from a local collection, and an un-ringed but approachable Mandarin at Kirkholme Point.

The 1st summer Common Crane was still lingering on Molescroft Carrs by Arram Grange on Tuesday and the female Scaup still on High Eske NR. To view the Crane walk the west bank of R.Hull north for c1ml. It flushes easily so don’t approach too close. Also seen on Swinemoor at least twice including at dusk last Saturday. No reports of it north of High Eske NR recently although has been seen flying over the nature reserve when flushed.

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Recent picture of 1s Common Crane near Arram Grange

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Female Scaup and Tufted Duck-High Eske NR

Also at dusk on Tuesday a Wood Sandpiper and 6 Ruff were on Swinemoor.

For recent sightings at Tophill Low NR check here.

A Nightjar was recently seen in West Hull. A Wryneck was also in Hull late August.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Hornsea Northcliff Boatyard, Molescroft Carrs, Nature in East Yorkshire, Swinemoor

Common Crane-now on Arram Carrs

6/7/14 Sunday afternoon with no further news on the Common Crane since Tuesday evening, when it was elusive due to disturbance from machinery working on Leven Carrs, I headed to High Eske. Had been threatening to rain all day and as I got onto Hull Bridge Road, Beverley recent heavy rain was apparent and beyond Swinemoor roundabout it started, getting progressively heavier, however it petered out shortly after reaching High Eske farm. At the nature reserve were a Little Egret and Common Tern again. On reaching Leven Canal started scanning the carrs. Not obvious so kept walking north to see if it was out of view along the northern edge where I’d last seen it. Also checked the newly excavated drain for waders. However a quick look to the west located the Common Crane on the opposite side of the river, near a flock of Greylag Geese, on Arram Carrs. Looked pretty settled so had a quick scan of Leven Carrs for raptors before heading back south. Had none but did have four Common Snipe in flight. Back at High Eske NR had several sighting of at least two Kingfishers. Also flushed several Snout moths.

7/7/14 Went to Tophill Low NR on Monday morning. Walked the full reserve but little of note, the best being Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper, both on South Marsh West. A Wigeon summering on Watton NR. Did have my first Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moths and as well a few Marbled White butterflies over North Scrub. DSCN3997

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet

Also several shield-bug on the outside of D res car park hide. DSCN3990

Forest Bug-Pentatoma rufipes

The Common Crane had already been seen in the general area I’d seen it last night so after consulting the OS map headed to Aike late afternoon. Had a Barn Owl hunting the verge just before the village. In Aike I took the footpath to the river bank where I joined Tim Cowley who was already watching the Common Crane along Mute Swans in a field west of Barmston Drain and further west than where it had been last night. Walked along the drain to get closer along what is marked as a footpath but hadn’t been walked recently. A tractor and trailer was working the far edge of the field and although not flushed it did cause to the Common Crane to walk north and closer to me.

DSCN4014  Common Crane-Arram Carrs-“shaken but not stirred” 

DSCN40161st summer Common Crane-Arram Carrs

Walking back I had a look from the river bank again. Wasn’t initially on view but walking south saw it again having walked to the north corner of the field. DSCN4025

Arram Carrs from R.Hull bank

Had a look at Swinemoor this evening where I had three Little Ringed Plover as well as two Little Egret roosting in a tree in the south-east corner. DSCN4030

Little Egrets roosting on Swinemoor

For more news from Swinemoor check Beverley Birding.

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

Common Crane on Leven Carrs

Early evening on the Sunday 22th I got a message from Richard Jennings that he’d just had a Common Crane fly from Leven Carrs across the R.Hull towards Arram. Had missed two over nearby High Eske NR a few years back because I was looking for waders at the time instead of the sky I judged it too late to try tonight particularly as Richard inferred it had flown out of view. A Common Crane over Watton NR at Tophill Low NR recently is likely the seem bird [see here]. I got up to High Eske after work on Monday. At High Eske NR the water level was low with the summer islands showing. On them were an adult Mediterranean Gull and Little Egret but no waders. Didn’t exactly rush to Leven Carrs as there were many Six-spot Burnets on the wing, my 1st this year, so lingered to get pictures. DSCN3666

Six-spot Burnet-High Eske NR

Also several Black-tailed Skimmers but couldn’t get one settled long enough for a capture, not helped by an uncontrolled dog. Finally made it to Leven Canal and scanned the carr from the riverbank. DSCN3811

Leven Carrs with Routh wind-farm in background

Bridget Jennings joined me shortly. She’d actually seen the Crane in flight on Friday but didn’t know what it was at the time. Also told me that it had been seen and photographed later on Sunday. Gave it c2 hours with out luck but then had it set off back. Got about half way back went I got a message from Richard that he’d seen the Crane again. Phoned him back and got directions. It was feeding on a cut area of grass by the first drain reached on walking the canal bank from the river. DSCN3679

First summer Common Crane-Leven Carrs

Close enough to get a few record shoots but then had to race back to High Eske Farm to avoid a repeat of the conflict I had in 2012 over leaving too late. However was delayed by my 1st Marbled Whites of the year, not an annual sighting at High Eske NR, then an obliging Brown Hare by the track to the farm. DSCN3838

Marbled White

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Brown Hare-High Eske Farm

Went back on Wednesday afternoon with the hope of a more relaxed afternoon with more time for a decent picture. However there was a lot plant on the carrs and although still present the Crane was sulking in tall vegetation.

DSCN3700 Sulking Common Crane-Leven Carrs

Didn’t see it worth hanging around until the work finished for the day so had a proper look around High Eske NR. The level was up but a Little Egret was again present as well as 6 Oystercatchers. Also found a Common Wave moth [for more moths check my Cottingham Moth Blog]. DSCN3713

Common Wave

Checked Swinemoor later but nothing of note. For regular news from Swinemoor check Beverley Birding blog. With no further news on the Crane I was back again on Saturday afternoon. After an horrific visit 3 weeks back when High Eske was more like a boating lake than nature reserve I had sworn to avoid the area on the weekend but today hoped the weather would put the undesirable off. Before I even started scanning I saw the Crane in flight as well a female Marsh Harrier . Don’t think I flushed the Crane, more likely due to mobbing by Carrion Crows, as was a long way from it. Appeared to drop by the wood to the north and quickly relocated it there feeding by a ditch. DSCN3812 Leven Carrs showing the area the Common Crane was today

Was again distant but this time I had more time to take enough shots to hope at least one was an improvement on Monday. DSCN3768 Common Crane-Leven Carrs

While watching the Crane a young Red Fox came out of cover and linger fairly close on the cut area. DSCN3788 Young Red Fox-Leven Carrs

Started raining and this convinced me not to attempt what would have been a long walk to get a bit closer. Walking back saw the new drain that the machinery seen on Monday had created. With the scrape created in early 2012, that had been good for passage waders, now overgrown this might provide a new wader magnet. DSCN3813

New excavation on Leven Carrs

Getting back to High Eske I had an Otter in the river. Although not great shots I managed better than I had previously. DSCN3815

Otter-R.Hull at High Eske NR

Despite working the area for over 25 years I’ve only seen Otter a handful of time.

Had time for a quick look round. Little of note bird wise but had a nice long-horned beetle. DSCN3832 Strangalia quadrifasciata DSCN3824

Singing Chiffchaff-High Eske NR

Despite disturbance and varying water levels 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebes were nesting on Saturday however on Tuesday 2 July all had gone although a pair were attempting to re-nest by the main island. DSCN3827

Nesting Great Crested Grebes-High Eske NR.

Common Terns are seen regularly feeding over the reserve, where fish fry are often seen in large schools, and I’ve seen them flying over Leven Carrs carrying small fish which are likely breeding birds taking a short cut to Tophill Low NR. For new from Tophill Low NR check the blog.

The  Crane was still present evening of 2nd July although elusive due to disturbance from heavy plant. On the bright side  this work is to turn the carrs into fenland, the sort of habitat that might attract breeding Common Cranes in future.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Butterflies, High Eske NR, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Swinemoor

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

Snow Buntings at Paull

24/11 Went to Paull with RL on Sunday morning.

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The Yorkshire Belle in Paull boatyard.

Had a quick look at Salt End to check the tide then moved to the riverside car park where we met Pete Martin on his way out. Had just had a Snow Bunting along the path toward the Strays. Had beed found yesterday. The cracking male was still present practically at the feet of Paul Martin. Got a few shots before it was flushed by an inconsiderate walker. Although we heard it call twice couldn’t relocated it.

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Male Snow Bunting

Roy and Paul were heading back to the car park when I re-found it a few yards further east. Was giving what sounded like a contact call and I wasn’t surprise to see a second drabber bird appear. Got some more pictures and this time they were more settled, only moving a short distance when flushed.

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Snow Buntings

Having filled our boots we headed for the old lighthouses to view the foreshore off the Strays. Bird totals were:- Wigeon 450, Dunlin 600, Black-tailed Godwit 10, Bar-tailed Godwit 4, Redshank 12, Turnstone 14, Ringed Plover 12, Golden Plover 8000, Grey Plover 6, Lapwing 200, a few Curlew and single Little Egret and  Knot.

Bar-tailed and Black-tailed  Godwits Near Paull Holme Strays 241113 RL

Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit-RL

The Snow Buntings were still present early afternoon.

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Male Snow Bunting

For more recent news from Paull check here.

Next went to Swinemoor. No sign of last Sunday’s 1500 Wigeon but a good number of Lapwing as well as 5 Dunlin, Common Snipe, 3 Redshank, Golden Plover, 5 Teal and 6 Greylag Geese.

Ended the day at Hornsea Mere. The inevitable Great White Egret was on “tree Island” but a distant male Red-breasted Merganser was new. Unfortunately not at the same range as the drabber bird last month [see here]!

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Paull Holme Strays, Swinemoor