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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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RIP Hull Valley Wildlife Group

As of 28/6/15 the Hull Valley wildlife Group is no more. The demise was probably inevitable from the date that Tophill Low Wildlife Group was asked by Yorkshire Water, the owners of the reserve, to stop using the reserve name followed later by Richard Hampshire taking on the issuing of permits for the reserve. As the main reason for joining the group was to obtain a permits to the the reserve this obviously had a a serious effect on the group. Another selling point later was access to the old hide at Hornsea Mere but this never had the draw of a Tophill Low permit. For the last few years our out goings exceeded our income and with declining interest and no fresh blood to invigorate the group it eventually was a matter of pulling the plug or waiting for the bank accounts to empty.

The demise now leaves the status of the old hide at Hornsea Mere in limbo. The Wassand Estate who own the hide have been informed and we have previously talked with George Bennet, the Wassand Hide warden, about including access to the this hide with the permit for Wassand Hide. For now I would suggest no-one who previously didn’t us the hide use it. It’s possible that the Estate may actually have already come along and put a big padlock on it but I hope to be informed of any developments.

The next issue is what happens to all the social media “sites” in the HVWG name. The website will no doubt have no closed. The blog, twitter account and facebook page were never official group sites and all set up and administered by me. Therefore it’s up to me what to do. I can’t see any point in continuing as though nothing has happened so I’ll not us this site anymore and will now blog on my other site from now on. I have mostly birded etc at sites with in the defunct recording area so the content will change little, it’ll just mean all my activities will be in one area. One exception will be moths in Cottingham. I’m aware that moths, particularly in one {very large] village, are a specialist topic so if I do blog on this subject it’ll be back on the Cottingham moth blog. Another difference will be I’ll no-longer record all the news and only link to other blogs when they directly link to my personal birding.

The facebook page, never a great success, will be not be added to by me at least.

Finally the twitter account. This is the most difficult one. It has allowed me to bring together all the tweeters I’m aware of who tweet on subjects in the HVWG recording area. As I said above, group or not these remain my main birding etc area and following a smaller number on there than my personal account makes it easier to keep informed. Therefore as long as it has followers I’ll keep the account up and will continue to retweet anything I consider relevant. The only change is I’m not going to post information from RareBirdAlert etc. I was informed recently that had much of the information on the account is “duff”. I’m more aware of what’s going on in the whole of the recording area that my informant but the need to give validation to say a Honey Buzzard over Tophill Low NR that will never be submitted is a burden I’m happy to discard.

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Velvet Scoter and Otter at Tophill Low NR

A female Velvet Scoter was found by Lee Johnson on D reservoir at Tophill Low NR on 23/12/14 [see here]. Not a site tick for me having seen one in the 90’s but the first since then. First tried for it late on Christmas Eve with RL but couldn’t see it. RL caught up with it on Christmas day but was never there when I looked for it including on New Years Day [see here] when with just missed and again on the 4th when I played it too cool and did D reservoir while ML and RL were relocating back on O reservoir and it flew, probably flushed by a light aircraft, before I got there.

So when I arrived at Tophill Low NR with JH on the morning of the 11th, seeing as it hadn’t been seen for a few days, I again went to car park hide first to have a hot drink and look over D reservoir. Quickly had the drake Red-crested Pochard.

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Drake Red-crested Pochard-Tophill Low NR on D res-RL

Thought it best to go south next and check O reservoir. No sign from the viewing screen so I headed for L-shaped hide while JH headed to Watton NR where Otter had been giving a good show in recent days [but not for us!]. The problem with L-shaped hide is that O reservoir is currently low so a large area of the water is hidden behind the reservoir wall and thus many birds are out of view. Therefore I didn’t have much faith as I started scanning. The birds were very flighty usually for no reason but on one occasion due to a low Common Buzzard. Maybe because of this a few more ducks became visible and amount the Tufties was a larger big billed brown diving duck. Rigging up my scope I confirmed it as the Velvet Scoter. Texted JH but he was enjoying an Otter [site tick for him] so after filling my boots went round to Watton NR where the Otter was still showing well before swimming out of view into the northern corner of the pit.

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Otter-Tophill Low on Watton NR

Went back to L-shaped hide but couldn’t see the Velvet Scoter but found it again from the viewing screen providing a 2nd site tick for JH.

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Female Velvet Scoter-Tophill Low NR on O res

Had received a text from RL that a mutual friend and long term Tophill Low birder had just had a large red-billed tern, consider a Caspian, with Black-headed Gulls in a field near Bielby but it had flown. Thought our best chance to get it on site was car park hide. Was a bit early for gulls so after lunch I headed north. Had several brown tits on the feeders, likely of both species, but only was certain of Marsh.

Returning to car park hide late mid afternoon the gulls were starting to arrive on  D reservoir but it wasn’t a big night with under 4000 gulls but including 2 Meds.

Mediterranean Gull D res Roost Tophill Low 050115 RL

 

Adult winter Mediterranean-Tophill Low NR-D res-RL

Did manage to re-find the long staying female Scaup though.

Slavonian Grebe and two Bittern seen at Hornsea Mere today. For more recent news check here.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR, Uncategorized

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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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.

DSCN0402Jack Snipe

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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“This week I am mostly” doing Tophill Low NR.

24/5 Only managed a walk in Cottingham on Friday but had an interesting record of a Goldcrest singing in St.Mary’s churchyard.

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Goldcrest-Cottingham

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Grey Squirrel-Cottingham

25/5 Went to Tophill Low NR on Saturday afternoon. Started in car park hide over looking D reservoir. The Ring-necked Duck hadn’t been seen since Thursday but still at least 2 1st summer Little Gulls.

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Marsh Frog-Tophill Low NR

Did the north end first so ended up viewing Watton NR early evening so looking into the low sun. However still managed the Temminck’s Stint as well as a tundrae Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and at least one Common Sandpiper. The pair of Little Ringed Plover were still on South Marsh East and at least one Marsh Harrier still lingering in the area.

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Common Carpet-Tophill Low NR

26/5 Went to Swinemoor with John on Sunday morning but no sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper seen yesterday evening. Went on to Tophill Low NR. Went straight to Watton NR as John had dipped the Temminck’s Stint on Thursday. Unfortunately no sign but still both “ringed plover” species providing a useful lesson for some of Sunday regulars. Also 3 first summer Little Gulls, which were also seen off and on on D reservoir. Had a Kingfisher flying along Barmston Drain on the way out.

27/5 Went to Kiplingcotes Station with John on Monday morning and walked to Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit.  Turtle Doves had been seen recently but no sign for us but not helped by the wind. This also kept the butterflies down with only a few Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tips and Large Whites as well as a presumed Common Carpet moth. Did a bit better in the Chalk Pit with brief views of a Green Woodpecker and Mother Shipton moth hanging around long enough to photograph, a 1st for me.

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Mother Shipton-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

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Yellowhammer-Kiplingcotes Station

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. Walked the north end.

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Speckled Wood-Tophill Low NR

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Large Red Damselfly-Tophill Low NR

Four-spotted Chaser

Four-spotted Chaser-Tophill Low NR

Had a Hobby with a large flock of Swifts over D reservoir late afternoon and 2 1st summer Little Gulls dropped in just before with left. No news from the south end.

For more from the reserve check here and here

For my moth trapping this month check here.

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May 27, 2013 · 6:59 pm