Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Tophill Low....Another Great Day Out....Sunday 18th January 2015.

Greylag Geese,D'Res.

Merlin,Hempholme Lock.

The River Hull,taken from Hempholme Lock.

Bittern,Watton Nature Reserve.

Split Porecrust.

Scarlet Elf Cup.

Candle Snuff Fungi.

Drake Red-crested Pochard,D-Res.

With the prospect of a full day out today as Trace was sleeping after her nightshift,i decided to head over into the home county again and pay the excellent Tophill Low a visit.It was a tad frosty as i made my journey over the bridge and through Beverley and as i arrived at the car park at Tophill the car thermometer read a bone numbing -5.
 Plenty of layers on and the kit together,i planned to do my routine as i always do when visiting,by heading around the edge of D'res,into D'woods and up to North Marsh hide.
 This first section of the walk saw a few nice sightings being seen and included a drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker and 6 Siskin in the car park area and 2 lovely Marsh Tit near to North Marsh hide.
 A very brief visit to North Marsh saw it being frozen solid and it was far too cold to hang about in their anyway and i carried on towards Hempholme Lock and the River Hull.
 As i quietly watched from the lock,a single Kingfisher patiently fished from its riverside perch and 2 Grey Heron fished from the riverbank.A few Tufted Duck and Goldeneye were seen on the river itself along with 7 Little Grebe and while scanning the adjacent area the best bird of the day was seen hunting the fields,a cracking Merlin.The Merlin briefly perched on a nearby hedgerow before carrying on its hunting sortie,a great record for the reserve recording area and the first i have seen here.
 A few mammals were noted in this area also and included 4 Roe Deer and a couple of Grey Squirrel.
 After spending some time in this excellent area i wandered back in the direction of the car park and down the side of D'res adding only the superb resident white morph Common Buzzard along the way.
 A quick stop for a bite to eat at the car saw me then carrying on to the southern areas of the reserve.A Grey Wagtail around North Lagoon was a nice sighting to add to the days list of birds.
 A search of 'O' res for the long staying Velvet Scoter drew a blank and it must have moved on,but a good mix of Wigeon,Teal,Tufties and Goldeneye had 3 female Pintail in amongst the flocks.
 After a tip off that the Bittern which had been present for a short while was still present on Watton Nature Reserve,it was a sad sight to see the bird with an injured leg,hopefully it will survive the winter,but it doesn't bode too well sadly for a bird that relies on stealth as its hunting strategy.
 Heading back to the car again to meet up with Tophill stalwart Martin Hodges,we changed tack and went in the search of winter Fungi.Some interesting species were found and included the striking Scarlet-elf Cups,Candle-snuff Fungi and the coral-like patterned Split Porecrust.This latter species was a new one for both of us and belongs to the Hyphodermataceae,this particular one being found on the dead wood of an array of deciduous trees.
 As the day wore on it was time to take part in the bum numbing pastime of watching the gull roost.As we waited for the numbers of gulls to begin to arrive the reported drake Red-crested Pochard from earlier in the week,positively glowed in the afternoon sun.
 After scrutinising the arriving flocks,no rares or scarcities were found,but a stunning leucisitic Black-headed Gull certainly made up for it....what a beauty!!.
 As the sun went down to the amazing sound of hundreds of chattering Common Gulls it brought to an end another cracking visit to this brilliant little site in rural East Yorkshire.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Review Of The Year......2014.

2014 was a pretty special year on the whole,with some impressive birding highlights which included myself being involved in the finding of a 3rd for Britain...the widely apreciated Juvenile Masked Shrike at Kilnsea near Spurn.
 Other birding highlights came in the form of Crag Martin at Flamborough...Short-toed Eagle in Sussex...Eastern-crowned Warbler in North Yorkshire...an interesting Citrine Wagtail at Flamborough and the year rounded off with the biggest surprise of the year for most,the Juvenile Little Bustard at Fraisthorpe.
 Some fantastic places were visited by both myself and Trace through the year also and included visits to the Yorkshire Dales,Derbyshire,South Devon and Wales.
 Non bird highlights included the beautiful Red Squirrels in the Yorkshire Dales and a stunning White-beaked Dolphin off Filey Brigg in North Yorkshire.
 The following are a selection of photos from the year:
The beautiful Yorkshire Dales,near Hawes.

A chance find at Barnetby In April.

A stunning female Adder at Hatfield Moor NNR.

The corking Short-toed Eagle at Gills Lap in Sussex.

A supremely beautiful Arctic Tern on Inner farne.

One of the beautiful residents at Bempton RSPB.

'Blue' Fulmar,Scarborough Birders Pelagic,North Yorkshire.

Adult White-rumped Sandpiper,Frampton Marsh RSPB,Lincolnshire.

Juvenile Cuckoo,Donna Nook NNR,Lincolnshire.

Mute Swan,Windermere,Cumbria.

A beautifully wild place,Wast Water,Cumbria.

Llyn Cwellyn,Snowdonia National Park,Gwynedd,Wales.

Wheatear,Spurn,East Yorkshire.

Find of the year....and the rest is history.

Woodcock,Flamborough,East Yorkshire.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Headless chicken routine ensued after hearing the reported Little Bustard had been nailed down in a Oil seed rape field at Fraisthorpe after being initially seen at nearby Wilsthorpe by local birder Kev Barnard.So it was grab the gear,dinner in the microwave and drive to the area as quick as possible.Some slow drivers and usual obstacles were met on the way,but thankfully after parking at the birds chosen field it was soon apparent this Yorkshire Mega was still present.
 The bird was watched at first resting in its chosen field,but it did have several bouts of feeding also,when it was watched eating the Oil seed rape leaves.It was also seen in flight on one occasion,when the striking black and white wing pattern was seen giving the bird an unmistakeable appearance.
 It's plumage features gave it a fairly cryptic look about it when sat in the field,but when feeding it was rather long legged and a blackish base colour was noted on the neck.This latter feature probably indicating the bird to be a Juvenile male.
 After getting my fill of superb views of this cracking and totally unexpected find,it was a relaxed steady drive home instead of the manic one on the way and a fantastic end to some superb birding in the home county this year.
Juvenile male Little Bustard.

Juvenile male Little Bustard. 

Record shot in flight,showing the striking wing pattern.