Tag Archives: Slavonian Grebe

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.

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 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.

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 Little Auk-Barmston

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

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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.

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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.

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Willow Tit-Tophill Low D wood feeders 

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

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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

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

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

Redwing-Swine-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.

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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

Black Redstart at Barmston

JH wasn’t with me when I had the returning Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston 3 weeks ago, so on Sunday morning we head up there. Unfortunately it had been seen flying south earlier so satisfied ourselves with a showy Black Redstart on the cliff face below the car park.
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Black Redstart

Came onto the cliff top but was seen off by a Robin and moved out of view.

Went to Hornsea Mere, starting at Kirkholme Point. Not surprisingly with the Ivory Gull still at Patrington Haven there were a few unfamiliar faces. Unfortunately the Grey Phalarope was distant again. Kirkholme Point seems to be the coldest place in East Yorkshire so quickly moved to the relative shelter of the hide. I found the Velvet Scoter, as before spending most of it’s time between us and Swan Island so tricky to see from Kirkholme Point or the south fields.

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Female Velvet Scoter

Later JH picked up 7 Scaup which had moved into our bay unseen. The Grey Phalarope was visible briefly late afternoon from the hide, near tree island. Both Great White Egrets had been seen earlier but we only had one hidden in the reeds distantly in Decoy Bay. Also seen by others today were the Long-tailed Duck, a female Common Scoter and a Slavonian Grebe, the latter 2 new for today. Also frustratingly a 2nd winter Caspian Gull was seen after we left.

Steve Routledge covered the same ground. Check here for his finds.

For more recent sightings from the mere check here.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire

Spotted Crake at Hornsea Mere-updated version.

22/10 On Tuesday afternoon went to Hornsea Mere with RL to put another coat of wood stain on the HVWG hide.

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RL putting another coat on the HVWG hide.

The juvenile Red-breasted Merganser and Black-necked Grebe were still present but no seen from the hide but we had three Egyptian Geese  around “tree island”.

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Fungus

24/10 On Thursday the forecast was the best for nearly two week so decided to make the most of it. Started at Welton Water. The distinctive Marsh Harrier was again over the airfield marsh. A very rufous bird, from some angle looking almost like a Red Kite. The only other birds on the airfield were a few Curlew and Lapwing. This was surprising as the tide was well up. Could make out a few Avocets on the Lincolnshire shore. Again plenty of waterfowl on Brough Angling Complex but only a family party of Mute Swans on “watersports” pit. As I started to walk north up Common Lane I got news of a Spotted Crake at Hornsea Mere. Hadn’t seen one since September 2004 at Tophill Low NR and never seen one at the Mere so, although I took it easy, decided to head back to my bike. Hasn’t been a twitchable one there for thirty years although one was hear calling in the early nineties. The message had said south-east corner which should have made it opposite Kirkholme point, but also said from 2nd field. Also reported were the Long-necked Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe and Scaup. Anyway started at Kirkholme Point. Met John Brattan there. The Red-breasted Merganser was still there at bull hole so had a quick look then started scanning the muddy edges on the south shore.

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Juvenile Red-breasted Merganser

However a few birders were in 2nd field so went round to the south side. The Spotted Crake had been seen again recently but wasn’t currently on view.  Slavonian Grebe was showing well so had a look at that. Haven’t been noted previously but may have been present for a few days but overlooked.

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Slavonian Grebe

The Spotted Crake showed up again along the edge of 1st field and although very mobile, was seen well several time over the next hour by the bulk of the “Merebirder”. Also up to three Water Rails.

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“Record shot” of Spotted Crake

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Barnacle Geese

Late afternoon the edge became more shaded so to went around to the hide were I a had female Scaup but missed twenty-seven Whooper Swans flying south, there had been a few moving today.

25/10  On Friday after the weather had improved went back to Hornsea Mere with RL and JH early afternoon. Checked the Red-breasted Merganser was still off Kirkholme Point as JH hadn’t seen it then went round to the south side. The rain had reduced the muddy edges and the Spotted Crake had become very elusive so didn’t stay long. It’s seen well early evening though including by Tony Martin, who couldn’t make it at Thursday. Now six Egyptian Geese but none of the other interesting were on show.

26/10 Back again to Hornsea Mere with RL and ML. Started in the hide but saw nothing from there. Next to Kirkholme Point where an interesting female aythya-type was showing. This turn out to be a Red-crested Pochard-like hybrid,  similar to a bird seen as few weeks again there.

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Hybrid seen 23/8/13

The Red-breasted Merganser was still present. Also six Egyptian Geese were on Swan Island. They have left North Cave Wetland so may be the same birds.


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Egyptian Geese on Swan Island-Hornsea Mere 

Went round to the south side where the Spotted Crake was still showing. Not currently on show but gave those waiting the opportunity to find a male and two female-type Greater Scaup and the Long-tailed Duck.

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Male and female-type Greater Scaup with Coot. 

Didn’t see any small grebes. But Geoff Dobbs had two Slavonian Grebes late afternoon, adult and juvenile. Black-necked Grebe and four Whooper Swans had been reported this morning.

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