Tag Archives: Leven Carrs

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

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

Whooper Swans return to High Eske NR

4/11 With the end of my 3 week holiday coinciding with end of British birding time and the added complication of major changes at work I found it impossible to get out after work last week. Fortunately Monday was a lighter day at work and mid afternoon found me at High Eske NR. Walking towards the pit I was sure I’d seen 2 White-fronted Geese dropping onto Molescroft Carr with Greylag. However with most of the geese obscured by the flood-bank and the position of the sun not helping I was unable to confirm. Reaching the pit I quickly located 14 adult Whooper Swans. One had a red leg but I was unable to read it today.

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Whooper Swans and Greylag Geese-High Eske NR

The geese flock flew in and I was able to confirm my sighting of 2 adult Eurasian Whitefronts as well as a juvenile Pinkfoot. Walked north to Leven Canal in the hope of Short-eared Owls or harriers but only had the regular pair of  Kestrels. Had a Grey Wagtail in the derelict lock on the way back south, Noticed a wake in the river. Too obvious for an Otter and no boats but then I saw the head of a large Common Seal swimming south, the first I’ve seen for a few years, since the end of  the invasion that had annoyed the anglers.

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Grey Wagtail-Leven Canal lock

Getting back to the pit, as the light was fading I located a Green Sandpiper, at the far end of the island. Also 5 Little Egrets had come in to roost in the south west corner.

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Whooper Swans at dusk-High Eske NR

5/11 Only managed a walk on Willerby Carrs on Tuesday. Had Common Buzzard flying west. My 3rd in Cottingham in the same number of weeks.

Hornsea Mere continues it’s purple patch. Check here for details.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Cottingham, High Eske NR, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire

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

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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