Tag Archives: Scaup

Little Auk at Barmston

18/11/14 Went to Hornsea Mere with RL on Tuesday morning. Started in HVWG Hide. Had 2 Slavonian Grebes in the middle of the lake west of the hide and a more distance bird close to Kirkholme Point. Went round to Kirkholme Point to get some pictures.


 Slavonian Grebe-Hornsea Mere

Told a 4th Slavonian Grebe was again off the jetties but couldn’t locate it although we were looking into the sun. Went round to Wassand Hide but added nothing to the day list.

Went to Barmston this afternoon. Had been a good movement of Little Auk recently but the winds had gone east today and judging from the small numbers record so far today didn’t look too promising for us. The easterlies also meant it felt cold, a rare thing so far this autumn. Also the sea rough and only found 3 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver on it. Also little moving. Started looking further afield. RL picked up a dark object bobbing off the outfall marker. We both thought Little Auk, but was it alive? RL saw it put it’s head up so at least still breathing so a year tick. Walked south to get parallel then followed it as it drifted north with tide.


 Little Auk-Barmston

Although not 100% was still fit enough to dive ahead of the bigger waves and occasionally flapped it’s wings.


Little Auk showing signs of life-Barmston

Followed it to the north of the caravan park where I got down onto the beach to get closer. The usual fate of flightless Little Auks is to be taken by a large gull but this one was lucky to go unnoticed while we were there at least. With the tide up there were few waders just a small mobile flock containing 4 Sanderling, 10 Ringed Plover and a Turnstone.

Went to Tophill Low NR late afternoon to do the gull roost on D reservoir. Nothing unusual but numbers were decent with:-

Black-headed Gull 14000

Common Gull 21840

Great Black-backed Gull 570

Herring Gull 310

The nest box team had seen the regular Scaup but not the Grey Phalarope. Later found a BTO worker, looking for signs of bird flu, had seen the phalarope but not logged it. Fortunately didn’t see any sickly wildfowl! Check here for more on bird flu.

19/11/14 At least one Slavonian Grebe was still at Hornsea Mere on Wednesday morning. The Grey Phalarope was at Tophill Low still in the south west corner of the D reservoir. Also the first bittern of the winter was picked up coming in to roost at Watton NR in the afternoon and couple of jays were seen. For recent news from Tophill Low NR check here. Two Little Auks were on the sea off Barmston caravan park early afternoonGrey Phalarope in fog D res Tophill Low 151114a RLGrey Phalarope-Tophill Low NR-RL


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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

11/11/14 A phalarope was found by the nest box team at Tophill Low NR late Tuesday morning. RL went to check it out and not surprisingly, considering the number of recent sightings, it was a Grey. However it was at the north end of D reservoir and viewing was difficult.

Grey Phalarope Tophill Low D res 111114c RL

 Grey Phalarope-Tophill Low NR D Reservoir-RL

Didn’t need it for the site or even the year [see here] so didn’t consider it worth the trip that late in the day. Did Welton Waters instead. Again some ducks on the watersports pit but nothing on Brough Angling Complex due to dye used to suppress weed growth which also seems to discourage ducks. A pair of Marsh Harriers roosted on Brough airfield marsh, presumably the pair that I consider to have bred there this year.

14/11/14 Despite no reports between times the Grey Phalarope was seen again by Lee Johnson on Friday afternoon. However may not have been looked for since, not helped by heavy rain on Thursday. Also had a 3rd winter Caspian Gull briefly.

15/11/14 Heavy fog on Saturday meant relocating the Grey Phalarope in the morning was very difficult. It was finally found against the wall below North Hide by RL, much to the relief of a group of hopefuls in the hide and at least one regular who had missed the last one.

Also a Scaup on the reservoir.
Scaup female in fog front ctr D res Tophill Low 151114 RL
Scaup-Tophill Low NR D res-RL

16/11/14 On Sunday finally had enough time to make a trip to Tophill Low NR. Fortunately the Phalarope had already been located by the time I got there. Spend all day feeding either side of middle hide but as it stayed close to the reservoir wall was only viewable from car park or north hide and therefore distant.


Grey Phalarope-Tophill Low NR D reservoir

Watched it from the car park hide for a while then went to check D wood feeders. Heard and saw several Willow and Marsh Tits.


Willow Tit-Tophill Low D wood feeders 

Also had a Chiffchaff. Not a drab bird so likely a wintering bird from the near continent.


Grey Squirrel-Tophill Low NR D wood

Checked D reservoir again from middle hide. The Phalarope wasn’t visible but had a immature drake Scaup.

Report of a Jack Snipe on South Marsh West early afternoon but didn’t show in my two visits but did have a male Marsh Harrier over. Also a large flock of Fieldfare on the river bank from South Marsh East hide.

Up to 3 Slavonian Grebes still seen regularly at Hornsea Mere from Kirkholme Point with 4 reported this morning.

Slavonian Grebe Hornsea Mere 151114a RL

Slavonian-Hornsea Mere-RL

For more from Hornsea Mere see here.

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Tophill Low NR, Welton Waters

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


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.


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.


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

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.


Recent picture of 1s Common Crane near Arram Grange


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

Blow wind blow.

5/12 On Thursday morning went to Tophill Low NR with RL. A female Scaup had been present on D reservoir since Tuesday, likely the same bird I found on 25/11, and with the strong wind pushing the ducks under the car park hide I was easily able to locate it.

Greater Scaup-Tophill Low NR

Female-type Greater Scaup on D res


Solitary Mute Swan on D res


Wigeon on D res 


Common Buzzard struggling with the gale


Rough weather on D res

Walking south had a Little Egret over North Lagoon.

Went to Barmston this afternoon for a quick look for the Kumlien’s Gull. Had been seen on Wednesday but no sign today. Several Turnstone again showing well on the cliff-top.

Finished at Hornsea Mere. Mark Robinson had had the Kumlien’s Gull in Wednesday‘s roost but didn’t come in today. However with had several distant views of a Great White Egret, which again was feeding at times in the north-east corner of Kirkholme Point, before flying west to roost. It passed close to the hide but too dark to photograph. Also near dusk RL found a Whooper Swan and me a juvenile Velvet Scoter and redhead Goosander.

6/12 The 2nd winter Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston was seen by Martin Garner on Friday.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

“Colder than a well digger’s ass”

Having spent 5 days in Northern Spain where although not hot was better than at home it was no surprise to get home and find winter was returning again. Intend blogging the trip soon but as I currently can’t upload my pictures will have to put this on hold for now. For the same reason I’ll have to depend on friend’s pictures for local stuff for now. Don’t seem to have missed much with the only news I’m currently aware of is that the Ring-necked Duck seems to have taken up residence at Normandy Barracks although has also been seen on a pond at New Arram and the “Kumlien’s” Gull is still on Barmston beach.

5/5 Tuesday, my first day back at work, started foggy but had cleared by early afternoon and as this might be the last mild day for a while thought I better head for High Eske in case the Ring-necked Duck dropped in. Walked round the borrow pit and counted c1000 Wigeon spread between High Eske NR and Pulfin NR. Also a drake Pintail on both sites. Heading north along the river there was no obvious sign of any swans but had 9 Little Egrets. Had a look over Leven Carrs for raptors and had 5 Pintail on the scrape. Unfortunately the fog rolled in again putting an early end to the day.

6/3 Had a sub-adult Gannet over Southwood Road, Cottingham on Wednesday morning. Robert Jaques also had one [or the same?] over Hull University.

7/3 Had my first moth of the year Thursday morning when I found a Hebrew Character on a door on Southwood Road, Cottingham. Unfortunately the day got colder and didn’t bother putting the trap out.

8/3 Went to Welton Waters with Roy and Martin L midday on Friday. Had a drake Smew again on Brough Angling Complex and a distant Otter on “watersports pit”.

Went to Tophill Low NR later but because of the weather only did D reservoir. Had 3 drake and a redhead Goosander. The redhead Smew had be seen recently on Watton NR. More recent news here and here.

10/3 Went to Hornsea Mere with Roy on Sunday morning. Started in the hide where Roy found a probable 2nd winter Caspian Gull on Swan Island [also seen independently by Mark Robinson] Went round to Kirkholme point. Had a Water Rail again with Moorhen in the wet field by the entrance but couldn’t find the Bittern. However found 2 ringed Black-headed Gulls.

Danish-ringed Black-headed Gull Hornsea Mere 100313a Leo

Ringed Black-headed Gull-Hornsea Mere-R.Lyon

For more recent news check here.

Went to look for geese in the Skipsea area. None at Skirlington but the usual flock of feral birds was at The Lakes at Far Grange. Also 4 “pinkfeet” including 2 larger looking birds. Kept them under observation and eventually they hauled out on the far bank.  One had bright orange legs and it’s identification as a Tundra Bean Goose was confirmed when it flew low with a Pink-footed Goose showing a darker upperwing.

Bean Goose front with Pink-foot Skipsea Lakes 100313 Leo

Tundra Bean Goose [front] and Pink-footed Goose-The Lakes at Far Grange-R.Lyon

Pink-foot left with Bean Goose right in Flight Skipsea Lakes 100313 Leo

Tundra Bean Goose [right] and Pink-footed Goose-The Lakes at Far Grange-R.Lyon

Also did Bewholme Hall, Leven bypass and Heron Lakes before for ending up at Tophill Low NR. Again only had a look over D reservoir. 8 Goosander, 4 drakes and 4 redhead, and a male Scaup had been seen earlier. More on here.


Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Moths, Nature in East Yorkshire, Welton Waters

Hornsea Mere and High Eske NR

11/2 On Monday Stuart Griffiths fail to see the Ring-necked Duck at Tophill Low NR but saw the 1st winter drake Scaup and 2 aythya hybrids.
12/2 Went to Hornsea Mere with Martin L and Roy late Monday morning. Started at Kirkholme point for another look at the Water Rails in the wet field by the gate. Had at least 3.


Water Rail-Hornsea Mere

Again no sign of the Bittern that had shown well last week in the north east corner but seen later by Stuart Griffiths as well as 5 Water Rails.

Went round to the hide where I picked out a Black-necked Grebe close to the south shore. This meant driving round to Mere View Avenue then a tramp through the “Somme”. Fortunately the grebe was still close in from the 2nd field.


Black-necked Grebe-Hornsea Mere

Also there were 68 Barnacle Geese, spoiling their claim of wildness by being a bit too approachable.


Barnacle Geese-Hornsea Mere

Went to High Eske this afternoon. Had a Little Egret flying along the river to the south. 2 drake Pintail on the NR with c1000 Wigeon and small numbers of Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and Mallard. Walking north the swans were showing well on Arram Carrs with 8 Bewick’s and 12 Whoopers again. Barn Owls feeding over Arram and Leven Carrs. Walking back had the 5 Eurasian White-fronted Geese and a Pink-footed Goose with Greylags at High Eske Farm.


Eurasian White-fronted Geese-High Eske Farm.

The Kumlien’s Gull was again at Barmston.


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