Tag Archives: birding in East Yorkshire

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

Crazy last day of May 2015

31/5/15 After a hard week at work I was happy that it looked like I’d be on my own on Sunday and with rain forecast in the morning I’d have no urge to venture out too early. Under no pressure I approached the moth trap more relaxed than often is the case. This year has so far been very poor but this morning although no great shakes compared to past years saw for the first time this year double figures. Least Black Arches was the best catch with my first ever only a week ago.

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Least Black Arches

Brimstone added some colour and with Common Swift and Mottled Pug firsts for the year.

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Brimstone Moth

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♂.Common Swift

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Mottled Pug

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Not forgetting the regular Cockchafer.

With the rain almost over by late morning I planned an early lunch then off to Tophill Low NR for some shelter incase of further rain. This planned was solidified by the finding of a female Red-necked Phalarope by a visitor on D reservoir. This also got RL to change his plans so early afternoon we were on site. No sign from car park hide so moved to middle hide where fortunately the finder, among others, had it on view. Took a while to get on but once found was fairly easily relocated although it was fairly distant in the middle of the choppy reservoir. Both of us went for our cameras where the best method was just to fire away and hope to catch it above the waves.DSCN7037

♀.Red-necked Phalarope from D reservoir middle hide

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Flew short distances, often when disturbed by a gull, but about c13.45, coinciding with the arrival of a flock of mainly Common Gulls, it flew again and this time couldn’t be relocate. Give it half an hour then went to check O reservoir. The wind made checking the reservoir unpleasant and decided against checking the rest of the site. Wasn’t seen again. Ironically one regular had visited early morning with the hope of finding a phalarope and had to make a return visit, while another long-time regular arrived too late. Fortunately with several previous records, the most recent being 12 June 2011, none of the top site listers  needed it.

For more from Tophill Low NR, including the Lesser Scaup that almost went unnoticed, check here.

Getting in late afternoon went for a walk up Priory Road with Holly. A few Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the paddocks. Started down Woods Lane but only get a short way before receiving a message that Lee Ives had found a pair of American Wigeon along with drake Garganey by Bewholme Hall pond. Thus a brisk walk back, not easy with an obese mockweller, to await RL’s  arrival.

Arrived at Bewholme Hall to have the place to ourselves but I quickly picked up the Garganey by the pond then the first winter drake American Wigeon just left of the pond quickly joined by a female Eurasian Wigeon. A drake American Wigeon flew south at Spurn Point this morning however a drake was at Saltfleetby St.Clement this afternoon just a short jump across the Humber. Unless this drake then went back north we appear to be looking at two drake only a few tens of miles apart. Again apparently paired with a Eurasian Wigeon.

Garganey right Bewholme 310515

♂.Garganey-Bewholme Hall-RL

American Wigeon Pair Bewholme 310515a

Drake American Wigeon with female Eurasian Wigeon-Bewlholme Hall.

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Also interesting that a pair were seen at Tophill Low NR 4 years almost to the day.

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pair of American Wigeon at Tophill Low NR-1/6/11

A pair of Shelduck had 6 small ducklings on the the pond. The drake was constantly chasing off the others ducks, giving good flight views of the Garganey but unfortunately not of the American Wigeon. Despite it’s aggression a Carrion Crow managed to take a chick although did get chased off when it was too late.

Actually weren’t alone as two Merebirders were out of sight at the top of the farm dive. Later found the Whooper Swans with the Canada Geese, which had recently been seen  at Grimston. Birders are asked to view only from the road and not go beyond the farm entrance.

Whooper Swan Bewholme 310515

Over summering Whooper Swan-Bewholme Hall-RL

For more recent news from Hornsea Mere [including more of the above] check here.

Also check here for sightings from Paull Holme Strays.

1/6/15 Drake American Wigeon still at Bewholme Hall today but the female considered Eurasian. Also 3 Barnacle Geese with the Canada Geese this evening. Interestingly a drake American Wigeon was again at Kilnsea. With no sign of any American Wigeons at Saltfleetby St.Clement this morning it looks likely that there are two drakes, but females probably all Eurasians.

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Filed under Bewholme Hall, Birds in East Yorkshire, Cottingham, Moths, Tophill Low NR

Volunteers day.

16/4/15 Haven’t done any volunteer conservation work at Tophill Low NR for quite a while. One of the main reasons recently is that my current work rota means I can’t make the main weekday volunteers day on Thursday. However I ‘m off work this week and with Richard scheduling work on Watton NR I agreed to join RL to work on what has been his baby for decades. No work has been done there for two years due to uncertainty over it’s status since the Environment Agency has been forced to attempt to sell off much of it’s holdings. Led to believe a sale is near although on terms that will guarantee it remains a wildlife sanctuary. Whether despite the imminent sale or as part of the terms of this sale, Richard had obtained permission to do the work necessary to maintain it’s nature reserve status.

RL and I took on the task of clearing brambles obstructing view from the public hide accessible from the footpath to the west of Watton NR. This hide gets little traffic, seemingly largely used by Tony McLean to take photographs in peace.

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Before.

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After.

We also chopped down any willows that had grown since our last visit to prevent the reserve becoming willow scrub. Lukas finished off our task using a petrol “brush-basher.” having already cleared other areas of the reserve.

Other work undertaken included harrowing to recreate the bare areas favoured by ground nesting birds. In the past we have used herbicide to keep these area largely free of vegetation. Before the new harrow was risked on it’s first job volunteers walked the area and picked up any larger stones. These stones will be added to the gravel areas previously created for nesting Little Ringed Plover.DSCN6382

Stone collecting.

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Pete Drury having a “harrowing” time.

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The end result. May look like a ploughed field but great for ground nesting birds.

The tern rafts were also floated out for the first time in two years.

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Richard Hampshire commanding his volunteer raft launchers.

Inevitably a large amount of dead wood was generate which as seems the current practise was burned on site. Rl and I prefer to “incorporate” our pile into the remaining scrub.

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There is always plenty of fuel for Cliff Teal’s fire.

However today wasn’t just work as we heard our first Willow Warblers walking to the job along Watton Beck as well as several Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Later had the first Sedge Warbler singing at the back of Watton NR, close to where we were working.

The pair of Black-necked Grebes were still on D reservoir, present since Saturday.

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Black-necked Grebes-Tophill Low NR-12/4/15

Although it’s been a slow spring so far, common migrant are now appearing in good numbers. Also Little Gulls are starting to be seen in small numbers at Hornsea Mere including an adult today. On the warmer days butterflies including Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Brimstone are now on the wing. 
Anyone who follows this blog will note this is my first posting for several weeks. This is down to several reasons including lack of time and energy due to work pressures. Also I just not been inspired by what has been a fairly quiet year so far with most of the interesting stuff covered by Tophill Low and Merebirders blogs anyway. Whether this posting is just a flash in the pan or a restart we’ll just have to wait and see.







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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Conservation volunteering., Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

Great, Small and micro

5/6 Had a good walk round the Drewton Estate on Wednesday afternoon. The plan had been to look for butterflies and moths but the low cloud that plagued the east coast recently hadn’t burnt off so ended up seeing, apart from the ever present Nettle-taps, one moth but this was a new one for me, a Cork Moth. A really nice looking micro.

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Cork Moth-Drewton Estate

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View from Drewton Estate.

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Black Swan-Drewton Manor

6/6 Went to look for Dragonflies at Fountain Farm, Watton with Roy and Martin L on Thursday afternoon. Only managed 6 Azure Damselflies but a few other interesting insects.

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Alder Fly-Watton

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Nettle Weevils-Watton

With the Great White Egret reported again this afternoon at Tophill Low NR went to get a site tick for Martin after adding it to his Yorkshire List on Tuesday.

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Sand Martin-Tophill Low NR

Had been seen recently at Struncheon Hill Pond but no sign of it there late afternoon. Split up and Roy and Martin checked the ditches around Hempholme Meadow whilst I checked the area west of Barmston Drain. Shortly got a call from Martin that Roy had seen it dropped onto Hempholme Meadow. We then viewed it from Barmston Drain bank for a few minute before it took off and flew strongly east.

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Great White Egret-Hempholme Meadow

Did return as Lee Johnson had it in the evening from North Marsh. This is the 3rd record for the site [check here]. All seen by Roy and I. More here.

Great White Egret-Tophill Low NR-June 1997-1st record.

Ring-necked Duck had been reported again for the last two days but no sign for us early evening or other regulars earlier.

7/6 The Great White Egret was again at the north end of Tophill Low NR on Friday. Went to High Eske late afternoon. The Oystercatcher still had one very large chick but the Common Terns had abandoned their nest but were still present so could sit again.

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Common Tern-High Eske NR

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Chimney Sweeper-Pulfin NR

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Azure Damselfly-High Eske NR

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Blue-tailed Damselfly-High Eske NR

Had a few Lapwing chicks on Leven Carrs. Good numbers of odonata along Leven Canal earlier but too cold later but I had a few damselflies behind High Eske pit. 3 Ringed Plover were on the temporary Islands when I returned to the NR.

8/6 Went to Swinemoor with Roy and Martin L on Saturday afternoon. I picked out the now tatty drake Garganey. Also 2 Ringed Plover and 4 Little Ringed Plover. Had a look at Bewholme Hall then check the sea between Atwick and Barmston. Had a few Puffin, a Manx Shearwater off Ulrome and a female Eider off Barmston.

9/6 Went to Tophill Low NR with Roy on Sunday morning. Jeff Barker had the Great White Egret on Hempholme Meadow early morning but no further sign although we had it’s smaller cousin flying north from North Marsh, causing some confusion at Hempholme Meadow. We went to Kiplingcotes with John this afternoon. Hoped for the recently seen Turtle Doves but missed out along with several others. Although not exactly warm it was brighter than at Tophill Low NR and we managed a good list of insects. In some way the less perfect weather can help with butterflies and moths as although harder to find are less mobile when located which helped with Dingy Skipper which can be difficult to photograph.

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Cocksfoot Moth-Hudson WayDSCN7895Cinnabar Moth-Kiplingcotes Chalk pit

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Dingy Skipper-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

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Green-legged Sawfly

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Common Blue Butterfly-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

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Small Heath-Hudson Way

Speckled WoodSpeckled Wood-Hudson Way

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Tenthredo livida

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Nettle-tap-Hudson Way

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For more from Kiplingcotes check here

10/6 Monday afternoon checked out a site at North Newbald. Looked good for Banded Demoiselle but too cold today. Had my first orchids of the year.

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Southern Marsh Orchid-N.Newbald

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

Winter again?

11/5 Only managed an hour at nearby Woodland Trust site Nut Wood and Wauldby Sprogs on Saturday evening. I’ve visited this area since I was a child and it was one of my first birding sites. The main interest is a few breeding Marsh Tits but also over the years have seen other interesting birds including Green Woodpecker, Brambling  and Hobby. However it can be hard work and today was no exception.

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Nut Wood

Like a lot of sites this years Blackcaps were very common but I had little else and it became more of a botanical trip.

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Lords-and-ladies
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Ramsons

12/5 Did Swinemoor from Weel Road with John on Sunday morning. Only found 3 Wood Sandpipers and no Little Ringed Plovers.

Went to Tophill Low NR. The Ring-necked Duck was still on D reservoir, initially a the north end but close from the car park hide later.

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Ring-necked Duck

I picked up a first winter Mediterranean Gull with a few Common and Black-headed Gulls. Also 2 Common Terns.

Walked south this afternoon. Had 2 Marsh Harrier and the 2 Little Ringed Plovers were still on the nearly dry South Marsh East. Retreated to the car park hide mid afternoon as the weather deteriorated. Nothing new and with the rain not yet set in I headed north. Met up with Martin H and I joined him looking for Large Red Damselfly exuviae.

Large Red Damselfly exuvia

Large Red Damselfly exuvia

Had c50, all new from yesterday and I had my first Large Red for the year.

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Large Red Damselfly

Also had a Drinker caterpillar.

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Drinker caterpillar

Rain set in and we retreated to the car park hide but nothing new so didn’t stay much longer.

For recent Hornsea Mere sighting check here.

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

Early May

6/5 Did Hornsea Mere from the hide on Monday morning with Martin L, Roy and John. Highlights were a Black-tailed Godwit flying west and a Cuckoo.

John had 2 Avocets at Bewholme Hall.

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. Ring-necked Duck still on D reservoir.

DSCN7053Pair of Little Ringed Plover-Tophill Low NR

Went to catch the tide at Paull Holme Strays late afternoon. Had 10 Whimbrel, 14 Shelduck, 400 Dunlin, 49 Ringed Plover [mostly tundra], 4 Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, 10 Avocet, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and Greenshank.

DSCN7056Paull Holme Strays

Nathan Pickering had a Wood Sandpiper on Swinemoor this morning.

7/5 My first Swifts over Cottingham on Tuesday morning,

Did Swinemoor from Weel Road. Quickly picked up 3 Wood Sandpiper [4 later]. Also 3 Little Ringed Plover and 4 Redshank but most of the wildfowl had moved on.

Went on to High Eske. The resident female Goldeneye was still holding onto a male. Walked north. No waders on Leven Carrs scrape or raptors over but heard a Cuckoo. Returning to the NR had my first Orange-tips. Little Ringed Plover and Wood Sandpiper on the “scrape” but flushed by a Fox.

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Red Fox-High Eske NR

A Common Tern flew in.

Went to look for migrants in Cottingham early evening. Common Whitethroat in fields off Dunswell Road and Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcaps in Oppy Wood. The highlight though was a very approachable Water Vole in a rubbish filled drain at the latter site.

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Water Vole-Oppy Wood-Cottingham

For my recent moth trapping click here.

8/5 2 Arctic Terns at Hornsea Mere on Wednesday

9/5 Osprey over Tophill Low NR late Thursday morning.

Kumlien’s Gull still on Barmston beach.

10/5 Went to Swinemoor with Roy and Martin L on Friday afternoon. Had the 6 Wood Sandpiper reported yesterday [9 reported by Nathan Pickering later]. Also 7 Redshank and 3 Little Ringed Plover.

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Wood Sandpipers-Swinemoor

Went to Tophill Low NR. Had time to day tick the Ring-necked Duck on D reservoir as well as 800+ Swift over before heading to High Eske to collect the 2 tern rafts. Have mixed feelings about this. Managed to get them on High Eske NR 2 years ago when a pair each of Common Tern and Black-headed Gull breed. However they broke free in the winter and we didn’t manage to put them out again last year, probably a good thing as the high water levels during the summer would have been a problem. This year with South Marsh East drained and the logistics of using them again at High Eske NR beyond us they will be put on Watton NR [hopefully very soon!] to  with luck attract any displaced terns.

Moving the tern rafts

Loading the tern rafts at High Eske NR

For recent Tophill Low NR news click here and here.

Drake Garganey at Hornsea Mere early morning.

11/5 First summer Little Gull and 2 Arctic Terns at Hornsea Mere on Saturday.

6 Wood Sandpiper and 3 Whimbrel on Swinemoor.

Ring-necked Duck still at Tophill Low NR as well as drake Garganey and first summer Little Gull. 
For recent new from Barmston click here.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR