Tag Archives: Red Fox

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


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

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.


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.


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.


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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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

A quiet week in Cornwall

The arrival of the Blackpoll Warbler on the Scillies was shortly followed by a call from Tony. Although neither of us needed it this was the indicator species he’d been waiting for that would herald the Yankee influx. Thus we headed for Cornwall over night on Thursday 18/10. First call Friday morning was Church Cove, The Lizard where a Paddyfield Warbler had been for a few days. One of my bogey birds but hadn’t fretted over it as I expected another twitchable one more locally in the near future. Fortunately a couple birders were already on site so we had no problem locating it and it showed well on and off in a small disused quarry all morning, although did disappear for a short while as is the pattern when a few more birders arrived.

Paddyfield Warbler-Church Cove,The Lizard.

After sorting out our caravan at Mounts Bay, Marazion. where we heard a Cetti’s Warbler, we headed to Cot Valley where we had a Firecrest but were beaten to a Yellow-browed Warbler by torrential rain.

Saturday morning we headed to St Levan Church which. due to last years Scarlet Tanager, Tony wanted to make our “patch” for the duration of our stay. There had been a Yellow-browed Warbler and some Firecrests but the best we could manage was a male Blackcap but did meet the finder of the Tanager. Also did Nanquidno where we had Green Woodpecker which was a Cornish tick at least, then Cot Valley were we heard the Yellow-browed Warbler.

Sunday morning again had a good look at the St Levan Church area with little to show. In the afternoon went looking for 4 Glossy Ibises near Sennen at Stewjack farm. Tony had seen them briefly from Trevilley so in the absence of any marked footpaths we headed off across the fields but finally gave up near Brew sewage works as we couldn’t get any further. As compensation had brilliant views of a fox.

Fox-Stewjack Farm.

Back at Mounts Bay again hear  Cetti’s.

Monday morning, having finally got directions for the Ibises headed to Sennen. Still wasn’t easy as the Cornish seem reluctant to sign their footpaths but eventually took what looked like a private access, which was blocked by a white van, but turned out to be the correct route. Good going apart from the last 200yds which were like the Somme but ended at a gate over which all 4 Glossies were visible.

4 Glossy Ibises near Brew Sewage Works.

This was only a few yards from where we’d given up yesterday! The local hunt was out and from talking to a few locals they thought themselves above the law so were worried for our friend from yesterday.

Did St Levan Church and Cot Valley again this afternoon. As luck would have it passing Stewjack Farm later a Glossy Ibis flew across the road and landed close to a field entrance. Of course I didn’t have my camera handy and by the time we’d pull up out of sight and got our gear out it had flown but did see it several time more in flight before dropping out of sight.

Tuesday morning again at St Levan Church.

Probably one the nicer days of the week and walked most of the way to Porthgwarra and were rewards with a Raven on the way back.

Red Admiral near St.Levan Church.

Speckled Wood near St.Levan Church.

Did Cot Valley and had a Firecrest, then Nanquidno,

Wednesday morning surprisingly had our sole Little Egret in flight near the caravan park. Very windy day and hard going at St Levan Church. A bit better at Cot Valley. Report of a immature Egyptian Vulture in north Norfolk caused excitement for a while but soon confirmed as a recent known escape with bells on its legs. Good number of Gannets moving over the sea from the bottom of the valley but little else moving.

Sea from bottom of Cot Valley.

Got in early because of the England/Poland match proposed from last night. Left Tony to it but didn’t miss much. Had a walk along the beach then around Marazion RSPB.

St Michael’s Mount.

On the outward journey the reserve path was a bit wet but passable but returning it was a river and ended up wading back. This was due to a combination of spring tide and the strong winds causing a tidal surge that flooded Looe. The road between the caravan and the site car park was also flooded which would have be fun if we’d returned at our usual time.

Thursday morning had a Lesser Whitethroat at St.Levan Church patch but too brief to see if it was an interesting race.

Friendly Robin-St.Levan Church area.

Saw 3 Glossy Ibises close to the road viewing from the Trevilley but had flown out of view by the time we got back to the road. Probably due to a birder in bright red jacket?

Went to Kenidjack Valley where a first winter Red-breasted Fly had been reported. Met Trevor Charlton there, the ex-warden at Bempton RSPB and a friend of many years standing. Despite the lack of birds and no obvious hope of anything he had come down for a few days from his current Suffolk base. Although elusive for a while eventually had several good views of the Fly and I was in the right place when a Yellow-browed Warbler was picked up.

Red-Breasted Flycatcher-Kenidjack Valley.

Also had a Bullfinch which I believe is good Cornish bird. Ended our trip with a quick look down Cot Valley.

As luck would have it a Yellow-browed Warbler and 4 Firecrests were in the St.Levan Church area when we were driving back on Friday but at least nothing mega has turned up and it sounds good for the Yorkshire coast this week.

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