Tag Archives: Watton NR

Volunteers day.

16/4/15 Haven’t done any volunteer conservation work at Tophill Low NR for quite a while. One of the main reasons recently is that my current work rota means I can’t make the main weekday volunteers day on Thursday. However I ‘m off work this week and with Richard scheduling work on Watton NR I agreed to join RL to work on what has been his baby for decades. No work has been done there for two years due to uncertainty over it’s status since the Environment Agency has been forced to attempt to sell off much of it’s holdings. Led to believe a sale is near although on terms that will guarantee it remains a wildlife sanctuary. Whether despite the imminent sale or as part of the terms of this sale, Richard had obtained permission to do the work necessary to maintain it’s nature reserve status.

RL and I took on the task of clearing brambles obstructing view from the public hide accessible from the footpath to the west of Watton NR. This hide gets little traffic, seemingly largely used by Tony McLean to take photographs in peace.

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Before.

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After.

We also chopped down any willows that had grown since our last visit to prevent the reserve becoming willow scrub. Lukas finished off our task using a petrol “brush-basher.” having already cleared other areas of the reserve.

Other work undertaken included harrowing to recreate the bare areas favoured by ground nesting birds. In the past we have used herbicide to keep these area largely free of vegetation. Before the new harrow was risked on it’s first job volunteers walked the area and picked up any larger stones. These stones will be added to the gravel areas previously created for nesting Little Ringed Plover.DSCN6382

Stone collecting.

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Pete Drury having a “harrowing” time.

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The end result. May look like a ploughed field but great for ground nesting birds.

The tern rafts were also floated out for the first time in two years.

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Richard Hampshire commanding his volunteer raft launchers.

Inevitably a large amount of dead wood was generate which as seems the current practise was burned on site. Rl and I prefer to “incorporate” our pile into the remaining scrub.

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There is always plenty of fuel for Cliff Teal’s fire.

However today wasn’t just work as we heard our first Willow Warblers walking to the job along Watton Beck as well as several Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Later had the first Sedge Warbler singing at the back of Watton NR, close to where we were working.

The pair of Black-necked Grebes were still on D reservoir, present since Saturday.

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Black-necked Grebes-Tophill Low NR-12/4/15

Although it’s been a slow spring so far, common migrant are now appearing in good numbers. Also Little Gulls are starting to be seen in small numbers at Hornsea Mere including an adult today. On the warmer days butterflies including Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Brimstone are now on the wing. 
Anyone who follows this blog will note this is my first posting for several weeks. This is down to several reasons including lack of time and energy due to work pressures. Also I just not been inspired by what has been a fairly quiet year so far with most of the interesting stuff covered by Tophill Low and Merebirders blogs anyway. Whether this posting is just a flash in the pan or a restart we’ll just have to wait and see.







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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Conservation volunteering., Nature in East Yorkshire, Tophill Low NR

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

“This week I am mostly” doing Tophill Low NR.

24/5 Only managed a walk in Cottingham on Friday but had an interesting record of a Goldcrest singing in St.Mary’s churchyard.

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Goldcrest-Cottingham

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Grey Squirrel-Cottingham

25/5 Went to Tophill Low NR on Saturday afternoon. Started in car park hide over looking D reservoir. The Ring-necked Duck hadn’t been seen since Thursday but still at least 2 1st summer Little Gulls.

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Marsh Frog-Tophill Low NR

Did the north end first so ended up viewing Watton NR early evening so looking into the low sun. However still managed the Temminck’s Stint as well as a tundrae Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and at least one Common Sandpiper. The pair of Little Ringed Plover were still on South Marsh East and at least one Marsh Harrier still lingering in the area.

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Common Carpet-Tophill Low NR

26/5 Went to Swinemoor with John on Sunday morning but no sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper seen yesterday evening. Went on to Tophill Low NR. Went straight to Watton NR as John had dipped the Temminck’s Stint on Thursday. Unfortunately no sign but still both “ringed plover” species providing a useful lesson for some of Sunday regulars. Also 3 first summer Little Gulls, which were also seen off and on on D reservoir. Had a Kingfisher flying along Barmston Drain on the way out.

27/5 Went to Kiplingcotes Station with John on Monday morning and walked to Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit.  Turtle Doves had been seen recently but no sign for us but not helped by the wind. This also kept the butterflies down with only a few Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tips and Large Whites as well as a presumed Common Carpet moth. Did a bit better in the Chalk Pit with brief views of a Green Woodpecker and Mother Shipton moth hanging around long enough to photograph, a 1st for me.

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Mother Shipton-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

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Yellowhammer-Kiplingcotes Station

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. Walked the north end.

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Speckled Wood-Tophill Low NR

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Large Red Damselfly-Tophill Low NR

Four-spotted Chaser

Four-spotted Chaser-Tophill Low NR

Had a Hobby with a large flock of Swifts over D reservoir late afternoon and 2 1st summer Little Gulls dropped in just before with left. No news from the south end.

For more from the reserve check here and here

For my moth trapping this month check here.

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May 27, 2013 · 6:59 pm

Year ticking tiny Temminck’s at Tophill Low NR

22/5 Having missed two on Saturday [see here and here] I was glad to get a message of a Temminck’s Stint on at Tophill Low NR on Watton NR on Wednesday morning. Getting there late afternoon it was still present but distant and often difficult to pick out when static. Also a Wood Sandpiper, a tundrae Ringed  Plover, both new for the site year list, Common Sandpiper and 2 1st summer Little Gulls.

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Wood Sandpiper-Watton NR

Little Gull

Little Gull-Tophill Low NR

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Common Tern-Watton NR

Several Marsh Harriers still being seen and the Osprey was over again early morning.

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Marsh Harrier-Tophill Low NR

Checked out the ever present Ring-necked Duck on the way out.

Roy and Martin L went to Paull and had off Saltend 68 Shelduck, 23 Curlew and  4 Oystercatcher. 20 Ringed Plover on Paull Holme Strays and on Paull Sands 55 Ringed Plover, 42 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling, 35 Turnstone,  720 Grey Plover, 113 Bar-tailed  Godwit, 230 Knot, 5 Avocet, c30 Shelduck, c60 Curlew and 11 Whimbrel. Also a Common Buzzard over.

23/5 Had look round Burton Bushes near Beverley on Thursday morning but no sign of any Spotted Flycatchers.

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Burton Bushes

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Fungi-Burton Bushes

Did Swinemoor this afternoon but no sign of the Ruff seen on Monday but still 2 Little Ringed Plover.

Did Tophill Low NR with Roy. The Temminck’s Stint was still on Watton NR. Also Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 1st summer Little Gulls dropped in again.

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Common Sandpiper-Watton NR

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Little Ringed Plover-Tophill Low NR

The pair of Little Ringed Plover were still on South Marsh East. The Ring-necked Duck was still on D reservoir.

For last weekend at Kelk check here.

For news from Risby Estate nr Skidby check here.

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April 7 at Tophill Low NR

7/4 Went to Tophill Low NR with Roy on Sunday morning. Started in D reservoir car park hide. No sign of the Black-necked or any Goosander.

The Red-necked Grebe was still on O reservoir.

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Red-necked Grebe-Tophill Low NR

The Pink-footed Goose and a pair of Little Ringed Plover were still on Watton NR.

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Pink-footed Goose-Watton NR

A few Chiffchaffs now singing.

There were a few Redwing in the works compound possibly part of the big movement on the coast.

Had a Peacock butterfly from South Marsh East no.2 hide.

Checked the D wood feeders this afternoon. At least 2 Willow Tits and a Marsh Tit but no sign of the Nuthatch reported earlier. Also a Blackcap sang briefly.

2 Otters had been seen on North Marsh late morning. Gave it a few minutes but no repeat performance.

For more from Tophill Low NR check here.

Did Swinemoor from Weel Road early evening. Much as yesterday but the pair of Pintail were back and finally caught up with a pair of Little Ringed Plover.

Kumlien’s Gull still at Barmston.

For more sightings in the Hull Valley check here.

Despite the cold Africa Gomez had some insect sightings today.

Weather like, a bit of a false promises day. Started out wearing coat but no hat, by lunchtime had got rid of the coat, however by early evening at Swinemoor it was coat and hat. Forecast is currently colder again first half then possibly milder but with more chance of rain second half. We’ll see.

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April 7, 2013 · 6:37 pm

Spring!

3/4 Went to Welton Waters with Roy on Wednesday morning. Distinctly more spring like today, at least out of the wind. The drake Smew was still on Brough Angling Complex. Initially distant but swam towards us on the river bank and eventually came pretty close though the trees.

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Smew-Welton Waters

Wildfowl was generally down with only 50 Gadwall, 50 Tufted Duck and 40 Wigeon.

Went to Tophill Low NR with Martin this afternoon. Roy almost immediately picked up the Black-necked Grebe on D reservoir despite no reports yesterday. The Red-necked Grebe was still on O reservoir but for us distant from both the screen and L-shaped hide. Finally caught up with a pair of Little Ringed Plover on Watton NR as well as a Pink-footed Goose.

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Little Ringed Plover-Watton NR

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Pink-footed Goose-Watton NR 

Chiffchaff singing and seen by South Marsh West.

Spring at last?

Kumlien’s Gull still at Barmston.

For recent news from Figham Common check here.

For new from Hornsea Mere check here.

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Still freezing but hotting up at Tophill Low NR

1/4 Checked Swinemoor with Roy and Martin L on Monday morning. The wildfowl was up with 500 Teal, 110 Wigeon, a few Gadwall and the pair of Pintail. However the waders were down with fewer Golden Plover and no Snipe or Dunlin seen. Compared with yesterday it was arctic!

On the way to Tophill Low NR had a good number of birds by Watton chicken farm including 190 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing and 20 Reed Buntings. Assured by Keith Rotherham and Mike Bayldon that the Red-necked Grebe was showing well from the O reservoir viewing screen. However no sign of it when we got there. Went round to L-shaped hide for a look from another angle. Still no sign. but as is my habit, I took to checking a recently arrived flock of Teal and picked out a Green-winged Teal. Martin got on it but Roy struggled, so as it would be closer we went back round to the viewing screen. We all managed to see it from there including Martin H [who had just happened to be passing and wasn’t at all interested] and John.

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Green-winged Teal O res Tophill Low 010413 Leo

Green-winged Teal-Tophill Low-R.Lyon the top picture showing the female accompanying it.

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Green-winged Teal-Tophill Low NR-M.Lonsdale 

Martin picked up the Red-necked Grebe at last.

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Red-necked Grebe-Tophill Low NR

Went to D reservoir for lunch and to see a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe which Martin H had picked up earlier [of course I wasn’t really interested having found one at Hornsea Mere recently?!]. As it was closer to Middle hide we all went round to get some shots.

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Black-necked Grebe-Tophill Low NR

On the way back we had a classic White Wagtail on the reservoir wall.

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White Wagtail-Tophill Low NR

Went round to Watton NR but again no sign of any Little Ringed Plover and there were several Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits but nothing better among them.

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Hedgehog-Tophill Low NR

Checked O reservoir again but Teal flock had left and we couldn’t find the Red-necked Grebe. The grebe was seen again and photographed by Andy Nunn in the evening.

For more on today at Tophill Low NR check here.

2/4 On Tuesday, continuing Monday’s theme, the Ring-necked Duck, still at New Arram yesterday, turned up on at Tophill Low NR on Watton NR but only the Red-necked Grebe remain from yesterday.

For today at Barmston check here. Also the male Long-tailed Duck is still at Hornsea Mere. Drake Smew still at Welton Waters on Brough Angling Complex.

Forecast to get warmer next week [although ‘more unsettled”] and actually felt more spring like today. With migrant queuing up in southern European could witness a rapid arrival soon?

 

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Filed under Birds in East Yorkshire, Nature in East Yorkshire, Welton Waters