Tuesday, 12 September 2017

White-rumped Sandpiper & Mig Fest Highs,Saturday And Sunday 9th & 10th September 2017.

Saturday 9th September

With the smart adult White-rumped Sandpiper still in residence on the Yacht Club Pools at Humberston and for it's 11th day,i decided to pop in along with Mrs R after a visit to Grim sby on a shopping trip.
 On arrival and after setting the scope up the bird was seen straight away feeding alongside a small flock of Dunlin giving some lovely views through the scope.Unfortunately it kept trying to rain and the light was pretty dire,but i managed a few record shots of this cracking wader all the same.This is my sixth sighting of this amercan wader species with previous birds being seen at Blacktoft Sands RSPB,South Ferriby,Titchwell RSPB & 2 birds at Frampton Marsh RSPB.Unfortunately i have never seen a juvenile,with all my records being of adult birds.

Sunday 10th September

With the Migfest at Spurn in it's second day and thoughts of all the car parks being jammed full,i got over to Spurn for first light and used Kilnsea Wetlands as a base.
 Fortunately it wasn't long before i was watching the previous days cracking juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher  from the Wetlands hide as it fed in amongst the roosting Redshank flock at high tide.What a smart bird and my fourth sighting of the species and my second in Yorkshire.Also on the Wetlands in amongst the growing numbers of wading birds were singles of Spotted Redshank,Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint,the Spotshank and Stint being year ticks.
 This year the wetlands has been exceptional and with a bit of luck it will turn something else up before the year is out.
 A message over the radio as i scanned the fields near Beacon Ponds saw me connecting with a juvenile Caspian Gull as it made it's way onto the wetlands for a wash and brush up,another nice addition to the day list.
 Bird of the day was seen next as i went to look for the previous days Wryneck along the cliff in front of Sandy Beaches caravan park and it showed brilliantly as it showed some interesting feeding behaviour.It was watched climbing the stems of Corn Sowthistle and licking Aphids from the stems and flower heads an amazing sight to watch and just goes to show bird species can exploit food sources on migration.Another fantastic sight was watching our premier bird artist Darren Woodhead along with his son Corin as they both painted the Wryneck,just amazing talent and it looks like Corin will be following in his dads footsteps in becoming a top artist.
 A few other notables were seen near to where the Wryneck was being watched and included a scruffy female/immature Black Redstart and a Wheatear along the beach and overhead a steady stream of Mips,Hirundines and a juvenile Cuckoo just showed what an amazing place this really is!.
Adult White-rumped Sandpiper,Humberston Yacht Club Pools,Lincolnshire.

Adult White-rumped Sandpiper,Humberston Yacht Club Pools,Lincolnshire.

Kilnsea Wetlands Sunrise.

Swallows At Holderness Field.

Wryneck,Sandy Beaches.

Wryneck,Sandy Beaches,Showing How The Species Gets Its Name.






Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Spurn Highlights,Sunday 3rd September 2017.

A bright and early start today saw me heading over to Spurn and meeting up with Tim.
 The forecast was a pretty good one with a south to south easterly airflow,but on arrival it was apparent it was going to be difficult to look for passerines in the fairly strong breeze.
 We started proceedings at Numpties and to start with just after dawn on the dropping tide there were a few birds to keep us entertained which included a couple of hundred Common Terns moving out of the Humber,along with a handfull of Gannets and a Fulmar.Some great views of the massing wader flocks included the usual clouds of Knot and some gorgeous Grey Plovers still in their summer finery.
 A Peregrine scattered the feeding flocks as it made its way south along the peninsula and near to where we stood a lovely juvenile Whinchat and a single Wheatear sallied after their flying prey.
 We decided to then have a look for the Purple Sandpiper which Andy Hanby had found close to the Breach the previous evening and along with a few others enjoyed some fantastic close views of this cracking little wader.They always make for a superb photo subject,being generally so confiding and not afraid of humans,what a great bird.
 On returning to Numpties we decided to have a walk about and try and find some birds,the Canal area held a few migrants with several juvvie Willow Warbler and a Whitethroat and Reed Warbler and some south bound flocks of Swallows wheeled about preparing for their long journeys south.
 A quick look in the Crown & Anchor car park revealed very little and Kilnsea Churchyard likewise so we headed on up to the wetlands.
 A concerted effort here paid dividends with the best period of birding during the day.Highlights included the Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper that had been present for several days,at least 10 Ruff,a lovely Juv. Curlew Sandpiper which showed nicely in front of the hide,Common Sandpiper,Greenshank,a Drake Pintail and a scattering of Med Gulls.
 A few passerines around included 2 Juvenile Wheatear.
We walked back along Beacon Lane,with again not much to show for our efforts and as we neared the Bluebell we decided to call it a day and i headed off home.Not a classic Spurn day,but an enjoyable one all the same.
Purple Sandpiper At The Breach.


Purple Sandpiper At The Breach.

Purple Sandpiper At The Breach.

Juvenile Goldfinch,Canal Bushes.

Juvenile Goldfinch,Canal Bushes.

Juvenile Swallow,Canal Bushes.

Juvenile Swallow,Canal Bushes.

Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper,Kilnsea Wetlands.

Redshank,Ruff And Pectoral Sandpiper,Kilnsea Wetlands.

Drake Pintail,Kilnsea Wetlands.

Ruff,Kilnsea Wetlands.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper,Kilnsea Wetlands.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper,Kilnsea Wetlands.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper,Kilnsea Wetlands.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Scarborough Seabird Bonanza & Wykeham Raptors,Sunday 27th August 2017.

With a good forecast,albeit not really conducive for any seabird movements,or so we thought,Tim and myself headed for Scarborough bright and early today to join the Scarborough lads for another adventure out on the high seas to look for seabirds.
 As i mentioned,the weather forecast wasn't ideal today,with south westerly winds,but we all boarded the Queensferry again in the hope of something special and today we hit the jackpot.
 To start with only a few birds were seen and included a juvenile Puffin,several groups of Gannets,Guillemots and 3 Common Scoter as we steamed out.But after an hour or so we came across the first of a few feeding flock's of Auks and Kittiwakes which had thankfully drawn in other notable species.This included a fairly showy Manx Shearwater,which after being buzzed by the boat a few times made it's way south towards Filey,we then saw a smart intermediate juvenile Arctic Skua which harried a group of Common Terns around the boat giving point blank views overhead.Bird of the day was seen next as Micky spotted another Shearwater sat on the sea ahead of us,a Balearic!!!.It took off initially,but we managed to get fairly close towards it getting some views of it on the sea,before it flew again,this time it looped around and flew past relatively close allowing me and others aboard to take some pleasing shots of this globally endangered species and certainly the best views i have ever had of one.It then landed on the sea again further away and again then flew heading north towards Long Nab.
 The final goodie was a cracking Bonxie which flew in and buzzed the boat,allowing for some photos,before settling further away on the edge of the feeding flock and then also headed south as all the other species had.
 What a great spell of activity and the best we have seen on these trips out with the lads,some of the trippers even took part in a spot of Mackerel fishing while we drifted and caught several,with Pollack and Whiting being caught as well.
 So what a brilliant trip today and we all headed for a celebratory brekkie in the Harbour View cafe before heading our separate ways.
 After leaving the cafe,all the local gulls just scattered and i looked up to see a Red Kite heading south over the seafront,quickly followed by a Common Buzzard,what a great day!.
 Tim and myself then decided to head over to Wykeham and it was great to see Tony and John at the viewpoint already watching.No Honey Buzzards today unfortunately,but some great views as always of Goshawks,with at least 4 different birds seen,which included a juv. female which flew out of the forest behind where we where stood.A distant Hobby and at least 15 Common Buzzards were also logged as well as a couple of Crossbill.
 So what a brilliant day today,the journey through the Sunday traffic being not so bad with another cracking visit to the Scarborough area.
Scarborough Harbour.


Juvenile Puffin.

One Of Many Stunning Fulmars Seen On The Trip.

Fulmar.

Razorbills And Guillemots.

Manx Shearwater And Juvenile Kittiwake.

Manx Shearwater Lift Off.

Juvenile Arctic Skua.

Juvenile Arctic Skua.

Juvenile Arctic Skua Heading South.

A Brute Of A Great black-backed Gull.

The First Views Of The Balearic Shearwater,With The Castle & Marine Drive In The Background.

Balearic Shearwater.

Balearic Shearwater.

Balearic Shearwater,Note The Dusky Head,Neck & Vent Accentuating The Pale Belly Patch,More Pot Bellied,With A Shorter Tail Than Manx,With The Toes Extending Beyond The Tail.

2nd Calendar Year Bonxie,Told By The Heavy Moult & Bi-Coloured Bill.

2nd Calendar Year Bonxie.

2nd Calendar Year Bonxie.

1st Calendar Year Great black-backed Gull.

Tim Patiently Searching For The Albert.

Herring Gulls.

Herring Gull Mellee.

What A Stunning Coastline!.

A Distant Red Kite Over The Town.

The Superb View From The Wykeham Raptor Viewpoint.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Stunning Mustelid & Mini-Larids......Tophill Low,Sunday 20th August 2017.

I have been visiting Tophill Low,the Yorkshire Water owned complex to north of Beverley since at least the early 90's and have always had a great visit,from seeing Long-billed Dowitcher & Blue-winged Teal on the same day to the eh hem...Amur Falcon,but today's visit goes down as one of my most enjoyable,this is what i saw.
 I arrived at 6.15 to the sight of 4 lovely Brown hare along the approach road before paying for my day permit.
 I got the gear together and headed for the new entrance/visitor centre,watching 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers on the feeders before a quick scan over the D res saw a juv. Peregrine causing mayhem as they often do,as it chased gulls over the res and was mobbed by an adult and juv. Arctic Tern before they rapidly headed south overhead....what a start i thought!.
 As i walked through D woods a Tawny Owl hooted is if to call an end to the night shift and i entered North Marsh hide to a lovely still scene.

 I sat here for a while in the hope an Otter would splash into view,as has happened in the past,but only 1 of 5 Kingfishers observed during my visit made an appearance.
 A Cetti's Warbler sang briefly as i passed through the remainder of D woods at the northern end of North Marsh,my only sight and sound of the species during the day.
 As i reached the northern end of D res i spent some time watching and enjoyed some great views of loafing gulls on the reservoir wall and overhead and feeding over the reservoir itself 4 Little Gulls,5 Common Tern and at least 17 Swift kept me entertained along with some photo opportunities with the local gulls.
 After enjoying the above species i carried on towards Hempholme Lock seeing a lovely doe Roe Deer and her fairly well grown fawn and i grabbed a few shots before they both caught a sight of me and promptly disappeared.
 I carried on and arrived at Hempholme Lock,my fave area on the Tophill complex and settled down to take some landscape shots with the new phone and to scan the river and surrounding fields for anything of interest.
 While scanning north along the river,i saw something briefly which looked like the back of an Otter as it dived and i watched and watched for about ten minutes and began to doubt myself when all of a sudden a huge dog Otter surfaced right in front of me,about 50 feet away....bloody hell!.I tried to get as many shots of it as i could,before it disappeared again,but it didn't seem that bothered by my presence and casually moved away feeding all the time.
 It was interesting to see what it was eating and seemed to be fresh water snails as i have seen the animals i have encountered at Messingham sand Quarries in North Linc's eating,what a fantastic experience to see and i was just on a high as i left him to carry on feeding.
 As i walked back along the western wall towards the car park and visitor centre there were a few gulls perched up and these included several Little Gulls.I steadily made my way nearer and managed to get some pleasing shots before they flew off and began to feed over the reservoir.
 Also along here a juvenile Wheatear put in an appearance,but i never got that close to it before it flew past me to northern end of the res.
 Back to the car and a some food and shedding of clothing as it was pleasantly warm now,i headed off to cover the southern section of the recording area.
 North Lagoon was my first stop,with only 3 Green Sandpipers to see,but always a favourite sighting and i love this Scandinavian waders 'Kleert weet weet' call as they always head skywards like a giant House Martin.
 Nothing too exciting on and over O reservoir apart from a couple of Common Terns and i then headed over to South Marsh.
 A watch from here for about 40 minutes revealed a good mix of species which included 7 Little Egret,4 Green Sandpiper and 3 Little Gulls,but no Garganey unfortunately,but the hard work from the habitat management team certainly is looking good and the area looks perfect for a rare wader or a crake!.
 The final area i checked was Watton Nature Reserve,where birds are always a bit more distant,but it can be pretty productive,particularly for Smew in the colder months.
 Today another sawbill species was evident,as the long staying Redhead Goosander was watched as it loafed about on the bank side an unseasonal addition to the days sightings.
 I walked back through the remainder of the reserve slightly weary from the night before after another superb visit to this cracking area,one of which i always enjoy and look forward to my next here in the near future.
North Marsh.
1st Calendar Year Black-headed Gull,D Reservoir.


1st Calendar Year Common Gull,D Reservoir.

1st Calendar Year Common Gull,D Reservoir.

Common Swift Feeding Over D Reservoir.

2nd Calendar Year Little Gulls,Flying Onto D Reservoir.

Adult Common Tern,D Reservoir.

Roe Deer At The Side Of D reservoir.


Hempholme Lock.

Hempholme Lock.

The River Hull,Looking North From Hempholme Lock.

Swallow,Hempholme Lock.

Dog Otter,Hempholme Lock.

Dog Otter,Hempholme Lock.

Dog Otter,Hempholme Lock.

Dog Otter,Hempholme Lock.

Dog Otter,Hempholme Lock.

A Really Close Encounter With This Superb Animal.

2nd Calendar Year Little Gulls,D Reservoir.

2nd Calendar Year Little Gulls,D Reservoir.

2nd Calendar Year Little Gull Feeding Over D Reservoir.

Adult Common Tern,D Reservoir.

Wheatear,D Reservoir.