Tag Archives: Greater Scaup

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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

2/2/14 Paull and Hornsea Mere

A Firecrest was found by the Martin brothers near Fort Paull on Saturday morning. RL and ML looked for it early afternoon with out success but it was found again after they left showing well along the moat on the south side of the fort. I went back with RL but by then the wind had become too strong and we couldn’t relocate it.

Went back to Paull with RL and ML on Sunday morning and joined JH, the Martin brothers and Pete Scott looking for the Firecrest. Wind much lower and we could actually hear birds calling. Shortly RL located it at the top of a tree west of Fort Paull. Unfortunately flew but I relocated it just a few metres away and eventually everyone was happy with their views.

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Firecrest near Fort Paull-RL

For more news from the Paull area check here.

Went to Hornsea Mere this afternoon. Mike Jackson was already in the hide and had located the Scaup flock. The full nine present including the two drakes.

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Pair of Greater Scaup with Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Wigeon

While watching them I found a nice drake Red-crested Pochard, the first for a few months.

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Drake Red-crested Pochard

Also had the female Velvet Scoter.

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Female Greater Scaup and Velvet Scoter-RL

Mike had had the Great White Egret yesterday [see here]. With the unusually bright conditions compared with the recent times and with the bird quite close we got some of our best pictures [I hope!] for a while.

Had a walk past Wassand Hall later but a Jay was the only bird of interest.

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Looking over Hornsea Mere from near Wassand Hall.

A lot of trees have been felled at the west end of the mere but many saplings have also been planted

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Recently felled timber

Check here for last week at Tophill Low NR including a Bittern on North Marsh.

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

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.

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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

Scaups and Coot Hornsea Mere 050114 RL

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

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