Tag Archives: Whooper Swan

Crazy last day of May 2015

31/5/15 After a hard week at work I was happy that it looked like I’d be on my own on Sunday and with rain forecast in the morning I’d have no urge to venture out too early. Under no pressure I approached the moth trap more relaxed than often is the case. This year has so far been very poor but this morning although no great shakes compared to past years saw for the first time this year double figures. Least Black Arches was the best catch with my first ever only a week ago.

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Least Black Arches

Brimstone added some colour and with Common Swift and Mottled Pug firsts for the year.

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Brimstone Moth

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♂.Common Swift

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Mottled Pug

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Not forgetting the regular Cockchafer.

With the rain almost over by late morning I planned an early lunch then off to Tophill Low NR for some shelter incase of further rain. This planned was solidified by the finding of a female Red-necked Phalarope by a visitor on D reservoir. This also got RL to change his plans so early afternoon we were on site. No sign from car park hide so moved to middle hide where fortunately the finder, among others, had it on view. Took a while to get on but once found was fairly easily relocated although it was fairly distant in the middle of the choppy reservoir. Both of us went for our cameras where the best method was just to fire away and hope to catch it above the waves.DSCN7037

♀.Red-necked Phalarope from D reservoir middle hide

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Flew short distances, often when disturbed by a gull, but about c13.45, coinciding with the arrival of a flock of mainly Common Gulls, it flew again and this time couldn’t be relocate. Give it half an hour then went to check O reservoir. The wind made checking the reservoir unpleasant and decided against checking the rest of the site. Wasn’t seen again. Ironically one regular had visited early morning with the hope of finding a phalarope and had to make a return visit, while another long-time regular arrived too late. Fortunately with several previous records, the most recent being 12 June 2011, none of the top site listers  needed it.

For more from Tophill Low NR, including the Lesser Scaup that almost went unnoticed, check here.

Getting in late afternoon went for a walk up Priory Road with Holly. A few Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the paddocks. Started down Woods Lane but only get a short way before receiving a message that Lee Ives had found a pair of American Wigeon along with drake Garganey by Bewholme Hall pond. Thus a brisk walk back, not easy with an obese mockweller, to await RL’s  arrival.

Arrived at Bewholme Hall to have the place to ourselves but I quickly picked up the Garganey by the pond then the first winter drake American Wigeon just left of the pond quickly joined by a female Eurasian Wigeon. A drake American Wigeon flew south at Spurn Point this morning however a drake was at Saltfleetby St.Clement this afternoon just a short jump across the Humber. Unless this drake then went back north we appear to be looking at two drake only a few tens of miles apart. Again apparently paired with a Eurasian Wigeon.

Garganey right Bewholme 310515

♂.Garganey-Bewholme Hall-RL

American Wigeon Pair Bewholme 310515a

Drake American Wigeon with female Eurasian Wigeon-Bewlholme Hall.

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Also interesting that a pair were seen at Tophill Low NR 4 years almost to the day.

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pair of American Wigeon at Tophill Low NR-1/6/11

A pair of Shelduck had 6 small ducklings on the the pond. The drake was constantly chasing off the others ducks, giving good flight views of the Garganey but unfortunately not of the American Wigeon. Despite it’s aggression a Carrion Crow managed to take a chick although did get chased off when it was too late.

Actually weren’t alone as two Merebirders were out of sight at the top of the farm dive. Later found the Whooper Swans with the Canada Geese, which had recently been seen  at Grimston. Birders are asked to view only from the road and not go beyond the farm entrance.

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Over summering Whooper Swan-Bewholme Hall-RL

For more recent news from Hornsea Mere [including more of the above] check here.

Also check here for sightings from Paull Holme Strays.

1/6/15 Drake American Wigeon still at Bewholme Hall today but the female considered Eurasian. Also 3 Barnacle Geese with the Canada Geese this evening. Interestingly a drake American Wigeon was again at Kilnsea. With no sign of any American Wigeons at Saltfleetby St.Clement this morning it looks likely that there are two drakes, but females probably all Eurasians.

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Filed under Bewholme Hall, Birds in East Yorkshire, Cottingham, Moths, Tophill Low NR

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

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

Solitary Whooper Swan at High Eske NR

Following the presence of Whooper Swans and wild geese at High Eske NR on 4/11 things looked good for another interesting winter this has so far turn out to be a false hope. I hadn’t been up there for a month but Eric Clubley had and conformed that the Whooper Swan hadn’t stay on.

14/12 RL and ML visited High Eske NR on Saturday and did find a lone juvenile Whooper Swan and juvenile Pink-footed Goose.

They also visited Hornsea Mere where the Grey Phalarope was again showing well from Kirkholme. Also both Great White Egrets, 2 Egyptian Geese and a Danish-ringed Black-headed Gull.

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

Danish ringed Black-headed Gull-RL

RL and I had also seen the Long-tailed Duck and female Velvet Scoter on Friday as well as a very showy Peregrine, repeatedly harassing Carrion Crow on Swan Island. I also managed a distant view of the Grey Phalarope.

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Female Velvet Scoter-RL

Also earlier we had another Peregrine at Swinemoor as well as  410 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 11 Shoveler, 200 Lapwing, 15 Redshank, 2 Dunlin and 5 Golden Plover.

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Peregrine-Swinemoor-RL

A 2nd winter Iceland Gull was seen at Tophill Low NR on Saturday afternoon as well as the regular female Scaup. A Galloway and 2 Belted Galloways are now grazing South Scrub. Told one of the Belted Galloways is very friendly. Unfortunately they seem to prefer to defecate on the footpath!

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Galloway and Belted Galloways

A Black-throated Diver was off Barmston but no recent news on the Kumlien’s Gull.

15/12 I made it to High Eske NR on Sunday morning. Unaware of my friends’ previous visit had the pleasure of finding the Whooper with the Mute Swans and the Pinkfoot with the regular Greylag flock at High Eske farm.

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Juvenile Whooper and Mute Swan.

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Juvenile Pink-footed Goose with Greylag

The lack of Great Crested Grebes was of interest, in fact wildfowl hasn’t reached usual winter numbers yet with only Wigeon approaching them. Had a look at Leven Carrs. A cracking male Marsh Harrier flying west over the river was nice but otherwise only a Kestrel and Common Buzzard.

Did some more birding this afternoon. See here.

The Grey Phalarope at Hornsea Mere was only seen distantly off the Cormorant Trees today. Dave Bryan noticed a growth on the phalarope’s face but I’ve yet to check RL’s photos for it. Nothing else reported.

No bird reports but Welton Waters was hit hard by the recent floods with detritus including an old frig washed into Brough Angling Complex.

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Filed under Barmston, Birds in East Yorkshire, High Eske NR, Hornsea Mere, Nature in East Yorkshire, Swinemoor, Tophill Low NR, Welton Waters

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

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Solitary Mute Swan on D res

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Wigeon on D res 

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Common Buzzard struggling with the gale

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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

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

Insects taking over?

28/5 Went to High Eske last Tuesday. As expected at this time of year it was pretty quiet but good to see the Oystercatchers with 2 robust chicks and a pair of Common Terns were nesting on the main island. A Little Ringed Plover was still hanging around although no sign of any breeding activity. Didn’t do Swinemoor as Roy and Martin L had already been where they had 3 Tundra Ringed Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 4 Redshank. At Bewholme Hall they had 2 Little Ringed Plover. 30/5 On Thursday had a good walk round the Drewton Estate. Best thing was a Red Kite low over Keeper’s Lodge although didn’t hang around long enough for me to get the camera out. Also at least 4 Common Buzzards although the small stuff wasn’t too apparent. DSCN7329

Male Grey Wagtail-Weedley Springs

31/5 Went to Paull with Roy and Martin L on Friday morning. Unfortunalely missed the tide but had c45 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin on Paull Sands. DSCN7516

Ringed Plover and Dunlin-Paull Sands

Also 2 Little Egrets in flight over the Strays. Went round to the Strays car park. Surprised to see a Whooper Swan in the fence off area [John Ward had 3 fly from Sunk Island to Paull late Monday evening]. Image

Whooper Swan-Paull Holme Strays-R.Lyon

Also a Whimbel. Image 1

Four Spotted Chaser-Paull Holme Strays

Late afternoon had a walk in Cottingham to Oppy Wood. Little of significance bird wise although good to hear several Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Also a Sedge Warbler singing in a ditch off Dunswell Road. However with the temperture well up I had plenty of insects including micro moths. DSCN7589 Helophilus pendulus-Cottingham.

1/6 Back at High Eske NR on Saturday afternoon. Good to see the Common Tern still sitting and a least one Oystercatcher chick. The resident female Goldeneye still had an escort.

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Goldeneye-High Eske NR

A pair of Marsh Harriers were displaying over Pulfin NR. At least 3 male and one female Cuckoo in the area. DSCN7620

Leucozona leucorum-High Eske NR

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Azure Damselfly-High Eske NR

DSCN7633   2/6 Went to Paull with Roy on Sunday morning. Started at Saltend. Tide still well out so very few waders but had a Peregrine over. The Whooper Swan was still on the Strays and on Paull Sands were 2 Little Egrets, Bar-tailed Godwit and Avocet as well as good numbers of Curlew and Shelduck. Went to Swinemoor to see a drake Garganey reported to me by Richard Jennings then on to Bewholme Hall where we had 2 Ringed Plover and an Oystercatcher. DSCN7664

Drake Garganey-Swinemoor

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Reed Bunting-Swinemoor

Finished the day with a sea-watch off Atwick. Highlight was a Great Skua. Also 8 Sandwich Terns, 8 Fulmar, numerous Kittiwake and 5 Common Scoter drifting north close inshore. Sand Martin Atwick 020613 Leo

Sand Martin-Atwick-R.Lyon

3/6 Went to Tophill Low NR on Monday afternoon. DSCN7684

Celypha lacunana-Tophill Low NR

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Chrysolina polita-Tophill Low NR

Had 2 of 3 Little Egrets lingering on Watton NR. DSCN7696

Little Egret-Watton NR

Also a pair of Common Terns lingering but no sign yet of nesting. One Little Ringed Plover there with 3 on South Marsh East but again no sign of nesting. A few Marsh Harriers still around the site. The best thing was my [and likely the sites] first Wall Brown for the year, at East Pond. DSCN7706

Wall Brown-Tophill Low NR

Getting in found a male Golden Oriole had been present on in Burton Bushes on Beverley Westwood for 2 days. Found by Ivan Nethercote and confirmed by Geoff Dobbs this evening. Unfortunately it stopped singing as soon as the news got out. Spend an hour forlornly listening with Roy, Stuart Griffiths and Lee Johnson, joined by Stuart Noble and Steve Webb as we were giving up. Again saw no Spotted Flycatchers but at least one pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker and a pair of Mistle Thrush in the area.

4/6 Burton Bushes checked with out luck by at least Roy and Richard Willison early Wednesday morning. A Great White Egret spent the morning at Hornsea Mere in a tree viewable from Kirkholme Point. Stayed long enough for Roy and Martin L but flew toward the west end early afternoon. As I’ve seen 2 there already I wasn’t tempted to go looking for it. Richard Jennings had the drake Garganey on Swinemoor again this evening.

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