Tag Archives: Little Gull

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

Quieter day but a new moth.

16/10 Received news via NP that a Great Grey Shrike had been photographed on Wednesday from the disused railway south of Swine so headed that way with RL this morning. Fortunately met a dog walker along Hornsea Trail who had actually seen the photograph and was able to show us exactly where it had been seen. No sign this morning though. However still nice to see good numbers of Yellowhammers and Skylarks as well as Redwing sat out rather then just in flight.

Redwing Swine 161014a RL

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From there went to Hornsea NCBY, one of our migration hotspots. Plenty of Robins by the caravan park but the only obvious migrant was a Reed Warbler. Walking the ditch north of Atwick Gap RL flushed a micro moth. Got it in my bins but not immediately able to ID. Went for my camera but lost track of it. Didn’t need to worry though as we later flushed several more and managed to get a few shots good enough to ID. Looked to be one of the Udea genera and later confirmed as Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis , a common migrant particularly on the coast. New moth for me.

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Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis

I continued on the Atwick while RL drove round. Checked the fields to the north of Cliff Road where we used to get Jack Snipes before it had been “improved”. This field has always been good for Stonechat and didn’t let me down today with a nice male.

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male Stonechat-Atwick

Finished at another one of our hotspots, Atwick churchyard. On arrival it was obvious, as on the coast, that there were a lot of Goldcrest which gave hope for something better. However the only migrants found were a female Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. However the Chiffchaff looked very drab but didn’t get enough on it to confirm it as Siberian. The Willow Warbler was also quite grey suggesting a true northern migrant. Had a few fleeting glimpses of Yellow-browed Warbler-type bird but never confirmed.

Not surprisingly as elsewhere in the country the Grey Phalaropes had disappeared overnight at Hornsea Mere but the 3 Slavonian Grebes, Red-necked Grebe and a Little Gull were still off Kirkholme Point as well as a female Scaup which I’ve yet to connect with. The Velvet Scoter wasn’t reported which may suggest it wasn’t the returning bird from last winter although it did prove elusive earlier this year so my still be around. For more from Hornsea area check here.

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Filed under Atwick, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Hornsea Northcliff Boatyard, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Swine

A good day at Hornsea Mere

15/10 Went out with RL on Monday afternoon. Went first to Swine Moor, viewing as usual from Weel Road opposite Corporation Farm. On Sunday afternoon I had found a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper with Richard Jennings. Also had up 7 Ruff and 6 Dunlin along with the usual flock of Wigeon and Teal. Also that day had the 1st 10 returning Whooper Swans north of High Eske NR on Arram Carrs but didn’t see the Common Crane, Had hoped to get back to Swine Moor earlier but the weather on Monday and Tuesday had not encouraged me. However this afternoon the area was deserted with just the regular Little Egret of note.

Went to Hornsea Mere starting at Wassand Hide. Met MR on the way down. Had had the 2 Slavonian Grebes off Kirkholme Point and a 3rd bird towards the west end. Also found a Red-necked Grebe and had seen a dying Gannet on “tree island”. Not long after getting in the hide MR picked up a grebe which turned out to be the 3rd Slavonian Grebe presumably pushed into Decoy Bay by a boat.

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 One of the Slavonian Grebes from Wassand Hide-5/10/14 

Also a female Marsh Harrier still present.

Next went round to Kirkholme Point. Scanning the edge of 1st field, where the other 2 Slavonian Grebes had been seen, picked up a female Velvet Scoter, possibly the same bird seen over the previous 2 winters.

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 fem Velvet Scoter from last winter but likely the same bird as today

Scanning further east I picked up the 2 Slavonian Grebes, then the Red-necked Grebe.

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Red-necked Grebe

Moved to get closer t0 the latter and had a moment of self doubt when I picked up a Little Grebe. However scanning to the right picked up the Red-necked Grebe again. Also 3 Little Gulls, an adult and 2 1st winters. Had texted MR about the Velvet Scoter but before he got to us it was flushed by a boat and we lost track of it. MR had been delayed by a Yellow-browed Warbler calling unseen near Wassand Hall.

Finished the day in HVWG Hide. Had the Gannet on tree island.

Gannet and Juv Mute Hornsea Mere 151014 RL

 Moribund Gannet-RL

Didn’t look too fit but to quote John Cleese it hadn’t yet “fallen off it’s perch and joined the choir eternal”. Started checking the gulls roost and picked up 3 waders in flight. Pale grey with a strong white wing-bar and was thinking Sanderling or Dunlin when RL reminded me that several Grey Phalaropes had been reported by RBA today. The penny dropped and not long after they landed and there identity became obvious. Tried contacting MR but his phone wasn’t on. For the rest of the time we were in the hide they remained on the water mid-mere and with the fading light would have been very difficult to pick up if you weren’t sitting with us.

For more recent sighting in the Hornsea area check here.

Seems to be an influx of Jay at the moment with bird seen coming in on the coast and evidenced myself by Jays around Cottingham and Willerby this week. Seen at Hornsea Mere today but my been just resident birds.

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

12/5/14-Tophill Low NR

Went to Tophill Low NR with RL on Monday morning.

Started checking the trees by the houses for the Tawny Owl chicks seen over the weekend. Had an adult in flight and the Blackbirds could be heard mobbing but no sign of the chick although one was still present earlier.

Did D reservoir from car park hide. As expected at this time of year not much to look through with only a few ducks and gulls to check. Started scanning the sky for raptors. At least 3 Common Buzzards displaying. Found what I initially thought to be one of the resident pale buzzards above Lisset wind-farm, however on higher magnification it clearly wasn’t a pale rumped Common Buzzard but a ring-tail Hen Harrier. Unfortunately it was drifting north-east and was lost to view before RL could connect but while looking for it we had another raptor which was most likely a Goshawk but it too was heading north so we never confirmed the ID.

Headed to Watton NR. The pair of Garganey hadn’t been seen for a few days but we did have a Little Ringed Plover and Dunlin.

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Dunlin-Watton NRDSCN2901Little Ringed Plover-Watton NR

A few damselflies were flying around South Marsh West sump.

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immature Azure Damselfly

Had 5+ Great Crested Newts showing well in the pond by the path to the back-2-back hides.

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Great Crested Newt

Next South Marsh West. Didn’t hear the Cetti’s Warbler but had 7 Common Terns flying south and 1st summer Little Gull dropped in.

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1st summer Little Gull with Oystercatcher

A 1st summer Mediterranean Gull was in the Black-headed Gull colony on South Marsh East. Typical of it’s species it was determined to assert it’s authority over the Blackheads. Wearing a metal ring but too distant to read.

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1st summer Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed Gulls

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Little Grebe

Walking back I disturbed a moth by the old centre. Fortunately it only flew a short way and I was able to locate it on a nearby bush although to the naked eye it just look like a knot or patch of lichen.

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Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet 

The heavy rain this afternoon brought 3300 hirundines low over D reservoir consisting of 1600 Swift, 800 Sand Martin, 550 House Martin and 350 Swallow.

The Hoopoe that had entertained the crowds over the weekend at the Old Barn north of Beverley wasn’t seen this morning.

2 Avocet flew north-west at Hornsea Mere early morning.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Moths, 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.

Danish-ringed Black-headed Gull Hornsea Mere 141213a RL

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

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