Tag Archives: High Eske NR

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

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-still north of Beverley but mobile.

8/7/14 After performing for at least a few birders on Arram Carrs on Monday the Common Crane was a no show for Geoff Dobbs early on Tuesday but was seen again early evening in the same area as yesterday.

9/7/14 The Common Crane remained on Arram Carrs until at least late morning on Wednesday.

Went to High Eske late afternoon with the intention of checking for the Common Crane from the other side of the river for friends heading for it in the evening. Had a good look at the nature reserve below heading north. Three Little Egrets were showing well.

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 Little Egret-High Eske NR

Also a Little Ringed Plover on the east shore. Flushed a small wader. which didn’t fly like a plover and wasn’t surprised on ‘scoping it in the north-west corner that it was a Common Sandpiper. Also at least two Common Terns were still feeding on the reserve then flying north, possibly to Tophill Low NR. Three pairs of Great Crested Grebes were again attempting to nest on the same mounds they had been washed off last week.

Couldn’t see the Common Crane in the usual fields with the Mute Swans but there are at lot of hedges it could hide behind. Thought I had it the next field south but on closer view it was a Grey Heron! However on reaching Leven Canal had the Common Crane back on Leven Carrs. Very close to the path by Leven Canal so walked towards it keeping low. Got as close as I dared then took a few picture although the tall vegetation got in the way.

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First summer Common Crane-Leven Carrs

Retreated again keeping low to avoid flushing it [although some might have thanked me if it returned to the west of the river]. Met Richard Jennings and walked back south together. Had a tatty cream-crown Marsh Harrier over the river and a Kingfisher over the nature reserve.

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Filed under Arram Carrs, Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Leven Carrs, Nature in East Yorkshire

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

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.

Med Gull adlt D res Tophill 230214 RL

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

Velvet Scoter female Hornsea Mere 270214 RL

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.

Long-tailed Duck Hornsea Mere 270214a RL

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