Tag Archives: Great White Egret

7/2/14 Hornsea Mere + the coast

Went to Hornsea Mere on Friday morning with RL. Started at Kirkholme Point. Brian Wilson had just had the Great White Egret but it appeared to have walked into the reeds. Went round to the hide. Eight Scaup were close, but the no sign of the ninth.

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Greater Scaup [male+2 females]

The drake Red-crested Pochard was also close in but like the rest of the ducks was having an early afternoon siesta. Four female Pintail were new in, a scarce bird this mild winter.

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Didn’t see the female Velvet Scoter but Mark Robinson had it later. The Red-necked Grebe was seen again at the west end on Tuesday. More news from the mere here.

Went to Barmston early this afternoon. Had the Kumlien’s Gull in flight distantly to the north of the caravan park. In common with the rest of  our coastline today only a few Red-throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes on the sea. At our next spot, Ulrome, RL picked up an immature Shag, a rare sight south of Flamborough Head. Also I had a few Guillemots flying north off Atwick as well as five Sanderling on the beach.

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The regular Far Grange hybrid goose with Mallards

Three Pink-footed Geese and a Barnacle Goose were with the Greylags by the pond at Skirlington.

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Pink-footed Goose

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Barnacle Goose [of unknown origin]

A male Hen Harrier was seen over Tophill Low NR late afternoon.

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

19/1/14 Hornsea Mere and Tophill Low NR

Sunday found me in what is becoming my second home, with RL and JH, in Hornsea Mere HVWG hide. Again it was raining heavily so there wasn’t much alternative. For a change all the female Greater Scaup were fairly close, in front the hide, although the two drakes remained distant, to the east of the hide. This gave us the chance of getting better photos although the light wasn’t good.

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Female Greater Scaup

Managed nine birds in total, equalling the maximum seen so far this winter. Also had a Great White Egret flying from Kirkholme Point towards Decoy Bay. Only one has been seen recently and even it has often been elusive [see here]. The missing bird may have gone on tour {see here}. No sign of the regular Velvet Scoter or more elusive Long-tailed Duck although both were reported yesterday. Went round to Kirkholme Point but only added the resident and very pushy Black Swan.

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Black Swan

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. Checked Fosse Hill Pond on the way but no gulls due to a jet-ski.

At Tophill Low NR headed to D Wood feeders for brown tits but only had Marsh for definite but had the bonus of a Lesser Redpoll feeding for several minutes on seed-heads by the pond.

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Lesser Redpoll

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Great Spotted Woodpecker

Moved on to Hempholme Meadows for the Eurasian White-fronted Goose.

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Eurasian White-fronted Goose

Ended the day in D reservoir middle hide but, probably due the settled weather, the gulls were disappointing with no white-winger, not even Mediterranean Gull [see here].

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

Hornsea Mere and the coast


On Sunday morning went to Hornsea Mere with ML and RL. JH had seen nothing of note from the hide so went straight to Kirkholme Point. Immediately saw a Great White Egret sat in a tree north of the car park with several Grey Herons.

Great White Egret + Grey Heron

Great White Egret with Grey Heron off Kirkholme Point

The second Egret was more distance in Decoy Bay. Also heard, then saw 39 Pink-footed Geese flying south. The Danish ringed Black-headed Gull was again around the parked cars.

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Danish ringed Black-headed Gull

Moved to Barmston. Tide well out and a lot of people on the beach. No sign of the Kumlien’s Gull there or in the fields north of the caravan park. Later found the Kumlien’s was on Bridlington North beach all day. Interestingly it had been seen there this time last year. Also at Barmston 7 Little Gulls and 35 Snow Buntings had been seen this morning.

Did a sea watch off Ulrome early afternoon. The highlight was at least 4 adult Gulls as well as a drake Goosander, 6 Red-throated Diver, 12 Guillemots, 4 Goldeneye, 12 Shelduck and a Pink-footed Goose that flew north overhead.

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Erosion at Ulrome caravan park

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Failed coastal defences at Ulrome [Man Proposes, God Disposes-Landseer]. 

Finished the day in the Hornsea Mere hide. Again no interesting gulls but had the female Velvet Scoter and a least 7 Scaup. Saw one of the Great White Egrets flying west to roost late afternoon.

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Female Velvet Scoter

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Greater Scaup with Coot and Wigeon-RL

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Ulrome

Getting the year started

2014 started much as 2013 ended with strong wind and heavy rain. With this in mind RL and I started out in Hornsea Mere hide. With the gate at Kirkholme Point shut and the weather too much for even the Merebirder diehards we had the place to ourselves. Had both Great White Egrets distantly by Kirkholme Point. Went to Barmston. The tide was well up and there was no sign of the Kumlien’s Gull on the beach and it was too foul to look for it in the fields north of the caravan park. Last reported on the 28/12/13. Had a drive round the caravan incase the recent Black Redstart was still around

Went on to Ulrome where we could sea-watch from the car. Managed 5 Common Scoters, 17 Fulmar, 1+ Kittiwake, Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Teal, 3 Shoveler and a Red-throated Diver. The coast had suffered badly from last years tidal surge.

On a whim we decided to finished the day back at the mere hide. Just north of Hornsea we had a flock of 117 Greylag Geese with one Pink-footed Goose. Back at Hornsea Mere our decision paid off when I located the female Velvet Scoter, as usual between us and Swan Island. We also managed 4 little Gulls. Could have been more but all the small gulls roosted close in to the south side and were difficult to differentiate in the conditions. Leaving we had both Great White Egrets roosting at the bottom of the cormorant trees close to Seaton Road.

Thursday by contrast was like a spring day. Started at Welton Waters. This area had been badly effected by flooding from the Humber before Christmas. A lot of debris but no sign of any serious damage. Presumably all the fridges etc that had reportedly been floating in the pits had been removed. Wildfowl numbers were low for this time of year. Whether this was a consequence of the flooding I don’t know. However a total of 8 Little Grebes was better than recent winters. On a positive note, although we didn’t see one, an Otter had preformed well on watersports pit earlier. The first report since the herbicide treatment which seems to have put off the birds. Continued to the airfield. A section of the flood bank just west of Brough Angling Complex had been scoured out by the floods.

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Brough airfield marsh

As expected the water level was up on airfield marsh but again little wildfowl although 4 Pochard was new for the day. Scanning the marsh I saw a large brown bird flying from Brough Angling Complex. Common Buzzard and Short-eared Owl were eliminated and I realised it was a Bittern. RL get on it before it dropped into the marsh. Had a few previous records but not an easy bird anywhere.

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Some of the detritus removed from Brough airfield

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Debris on Brough foreshore

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The recent flood defence improvements appear to have saved BAE

Continuing on to the Haven I had 100+ Teal. Checked through them but the Green-winged Teal was still at North Cave Wetlands so didn’t have much optimism. Also had a female Marsh Harrier to the west.

Went on to Tophill Low NR. I had a quick look round the south end, with only a Barn Owl behind Watton NR of note, then joined RL in D reservoir middle hide. RL found an adult Mediterranean Gull. I had a frustrating egret flying south near dusk. Looked too big for a Little but couldn’t clinch it as a Great White. Disappeared over trees before anyone else could get on it. One that got away but neither species is a big deal nowadays. For yesterday on the reserve check here,

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D reservoir at dusk 

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR, Welton Waters

Black Redstart at Barmston

JH wasn’t with me when I had the returning Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston 3 weeks ago, so on Sunday morning we head up there. Unfortunately it had been seen flying south earlier so satisfied ourselves with a showy Black Redstart on the cliff face below the car park.
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Black Redstart

Came onto the cliff top but was seen off by a Robin and moved out of view.

Went to Hornsea Mere, starting at Kirkholme Point. Not surprisingly with the Ivory Gull still at Patrington Haven there were a few unfamiliar faces. Unfortunately the Grey Phalarope was distant again. Kirkholme Point seems to be the coldest place in East Yorkshire so quickly moved to the relative shelter of the hide. I found the Velvet Scoter, as before spending most of it’s time between us and Swan Island so tricky to see from Kirkholme Point or the south fields.

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Female Velvet Scoter

Later JH picked up 7 Scaup which had moved into our bay unseen. The Grey Phalarope was visible briefly late afternoon from the hide, near tree island. Both Great White Egrets had been seen earlier but we only had one hidden in the reeds distantly in Decoy Bay. Also seen by others today were the Long-tailed Duck, a female Common Scoter and a Slavonian Grebe, the latter 2 new for today. Also frustratingly a 2nd winter Caspian Gull was seen after we left.

Steve Routledge covered the same ground. Check here for his finds.

For more recent sightings from the mere check here.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire

Hornsea Mere-Grey Phalarope and Great White Egrets.

After “tick and running” the Ivory Gull at Patrington Haven with ML and RL on Saturday morning spent the afternoon in Hornsea Mere hide. The Grey Phalarope was still present but again distant, feeding along the edge east of “tree island”.

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The Grey Phalarope was seen in the area to the left

Both Great White Egrets were still around, seen several times in flight above the trees opposite Kirkholme Point then flying to the west end, again taking a route that passed close in front of the hide.

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Great White Egret

One returned to Kirkholme Point, feeding in the north east corner. The second bird could be seen roosting low in the Cormorant trees from Seaton Road as we drove home. The Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck were seen in the morning but didn’t show for us.

The Kumlien’s Gull was still at Barmston on Monday.

2 1st winter Mediterranean Gulls at Tophill Low NR this afternoon. For more news see here.


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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.

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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