Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Not A Lot Nov

My penultimate visit for 2018 was last weekend. Moderately quiet for birds, but the mild weather certainly made life easy for me.

Highlight was 2 Whooper Swans flying south. Also Treecreeper for the year list, 3 egrets back for the winter, 4 Green Sandpipers, and plenty of winter Thrushes.

Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th November

Mute Swan - 3
Whooper Swan - 2 adult flew south on Sunday
Greylag Goose -70
Canada Goose - 90
Wigeon - 1
Teal - 80
Mallard - 30
Red-legged Partridge - 28
Grey Partridge - 2
Cormorant - 1
Little Egret - 3
Grey Heron - 10
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 17
Kestrel - 6
Golden Plover - 8
Lapwing - 130 in 3 flocks
Green Sandpiper - 4
Herring Gull - 28
Great Black-backed Gull - 1 adult
Kingfisher - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3
Skylark - 80+ in loose flock
Meadow Pipit - 3
Grey Wagtail - 2
Fieldfare - 320
Redwing - 140
Mistle Thrush - 1
Coal Tit - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Jay - 1
Tree Sparrow - 50 in two flocks (30+20)
Linnet - 30
Bullfinch - 3
Yellowhammer - 20
Reed Bunting - 6

Also noted...

Roe Deer - 20 in groups of 2-5
Peacock - 1 at Kelk Beck on Sunday, is very late for any butterfly!

1. Common Buzzard. This was after sunset hence the camera struggling to focus. This one was particularly dark (not just my perception in the disappearing light!) and should be distinctive if it hangs around.

2. Autumn leaves at Lowthorpe church.

3. Redwing. Part of a 100+ flock and a very good weekend for them. Several recent autumns have been pretty poor for winter thrushes, especially Redwing.

4. Roe Deer. A quite incredible total of 20 over the weekend gives some idea how many there are out and about.

5. Sunset. Yikes!

Two additions to the year list, then

112 Treecreeper
113 Whooper Swan

Thursday, 25 October 2018

October Chat

Report from last weekend. Highlight was obviously the Raven but other decent finds included a Stonechat, two Brambling, a Peregrine and a Water Rail (dead, unfortunately).

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st October

Mute Swan - 8
Canada Goose - 166 (previous record count 53, last month!)
Teal - 100+
Mallard - 40+
Tufted Duck - 3
Red-legged Partridge - 20
Grey Partridge - 9
Pheasant - 80 flushed by beaters from a small piece of cover.
Little Grebe - 3
Cormorant - 7
Egret - none!
Heron - 7
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 15
Kestrel - 11
Peregrine - adult west over Gransmoor
Water Rail - 1 dead on roadside btw Brigham-Wansford
Golden Plover - 100+
Lapwing - 360 in 3 flocks (80+80+200)
Green Sandpiper - 1
Great Black-backed Gull - 3
Barn Owl - 2
Kingfisher - 2
Grey Wagtail - 3
Stonechat - 1
Fieldfare - 8
Redwing - 7
Mistle Thrush - 2
Jay - 4
Corvid - 2500 rosting, approx 2k Rook, 500 Jackdaw
Raven - 1
Brambling - 2 at Kelk


Stoat - 1
Squirrel - 1

Red Admiral - 1
Small Tort - 1
'Whites' - 5

Common Darter - 1
Migrant Hawker - 1

Buzzard in flight.

Aftermath of a Sparrowhawk attack.

Gulls following seed drill.

Stonechat. This is the best view I've had of one locally. For some reason they have all been quite distant before. Still quite scarce here, it's only the fifth bird I've recorded over the last decade. All have been in autumn.

Water Rail as roadkill. Not a species I've ever seen dead before. They are very small, roughly Blackbird sized. Given the fresh condition I'd guess it was less than a day dead.

Two additions to the yearlist. Shaping up nicely with two visits left.

110 - Brambling
111 - Stonechat

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Raven's Return

East Yorkshire has a resident RAVEN. The one I saw in September was in Kelk again last weekend.

Bonus: this time with photo evidence!

Also bonus: it was close enough to hear its croaking calls.

In the previous post I noted: "Earlier in September one went through Tophill Low and High Eske / Leven, and it's possible (most likely?) the same one roaming around. If it is the same I wouldn't bet against it reappearing."

Photos from Tophill & HE/Leven show a damaged right-wing feather which can be seen in the photos below. It *IS* the same bird *AND* it reappeared!

The views last month were distant. Not this time. On Saturday morning I caught sight of it moving east over Little Kelk then it appeared to drop down on to fields out of sight. When I got back to where it came down it had just lifted, did three loops around overhead before heading out of sight north over the wood.

On Sunday, in the afternoon, I encountered it again a mile or so to the south. This time it surprised me by emerging from a tree canopy pretty much as I was directly below. Again it circled about for a bit, made a lot of noise, before heading off purposefully south-east toward Foston.


EDIT: the following is a summary of E.Yorks Raven reports published in Yorkshire Bird Reports 2005-2014. All seem to be fly-over reports with none hanging around, although some of the 2008 birds might have been the same individual wanderer.

2005: none
2006: Spurn (Nov)
2007: Flamborough (Jul & Oct), North Cave (Nov)
2008: Nafferton (Feb), 7 records along the coast during the year
2009: Flamborough (2 together, Oct)
2010: North Cave (Apr & 2 together May)
2011: North Cave (Feb)
2012: none
2013: none
2014: none

KROAK! Look at that monster beak!

Profile shot.

And up...

Head/throat and tail shape are distinctive.

A review of the rest of the weekend to follow soon.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Quoth the Raven "Kelk and more"

Autumn birding can be hit and miss. By the very nature of migration the landscape is both emptying of spring migrants and filling up with autumn ones. The 'miss' days are when everything has left and nothing is arriving. You feel like you've seen it all before. The 'hit' days are unique, you never know what's coming and these really are the best.

Last weekend wasn't quite a classic but there were enough surprises it will stick with me for a while. The total star of the show was my first RAVEN for the area.

I initially picked it up circling over Little Kelk and watched it for over 10 minutes. Distant to begin with I was far from certain it was a Raven and would have been mightily frustrated if it disappeared quickly. Fortunately it swirled a bit closer and even had a Buzzard and Carrion Crow for company at one point - mucho helpful! Eventually it drifted off north toward Burton Agnes. Alas it was never close enough to hear it call. What a beast though.

Ravens are scarce but slowly increasing in Yorkshire, though still very hard to find in the east. Earlier in September one went through Tophill Low and High Eske / Leven, and it's possible (most likely?) the same one roaming around. If it is the same I wouldn't bet against it reappearing.

Supporting case were a female Scaup (first for many years), Merlin, adult Med Gull following cultivation with other small gulls, lots of Golden Plover, a movement of Pink-feet and four Jays. An all-white Woodpigeon had me scratching my head for a moment... not something I've ever encountered before!

29-30th September

Mute Swan - 6
Pink-footed Goose - 218
Canada Goose - 53
Teal - 250
Mallard - 180
Tufted Duck - 4
Scaup - 1 female
Red-legged Partridge - 15
Grey Partridge - 9
Little Grebe - 3
Cormorant - 5
Little Egret - 1
Heron - 12
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 19
Kestrel - 9
Merlin - 1
Golden Plover - 420
Lapwing - 200
Mediterranean Gull - 1 adult
Great Black-backed Gull - 11
Woodpigeon - 1 completely white bird!?!
Kingfisher - 2
Swallow - 27
House Martin - c20
Meadow Pipit - 9
Grey Wagtail - 1
Chiffchaff / Blackcap - several
Coal Tit - 2
Jay - 4
RAVEN - 1 north over Kelk. First record.
Starling - flocks of 350 + 250
Linnet - 150

Juvenile Buzzard learning how to feed itself. I don't see them on the ground so often but this fella was relatively approachable.

Canada flock. From where I do not know. Double figures is unusual enough but there were 53 in this flock.

Golden Plover circling. They are very jumpy birds, once they get spooked and lift as one flock it can take many minutes for them to feel safe enough to come back down again. p.s. I don't think it was me that spooked them!

Gulls. Huge clouds of them. Erk!

Skein of Pinkfeet moving south. They don't half make a noise and so perfectly wild.

The yearlist lept over the 2017 total of 106... and still 3 visits to come!

105 Pink-footed Goose
106 Merlin
107 Mediterranean Gull
108 Scaup
109 Raven

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

August Dash

September report in press! A couple of blinders to report.

But first the report from August has finally got over the leaves on the track or whatever caused the delay... *cough*

29th - 31st August.

Gadwall - 4
Teal - 5
Mallard - 130
Tufted Duck - 9
Red-legged Partridge - 9
Little Grebe - 12
Cormorant - 11
Little Egret - 3
Heron - 13
Sparrowhawk - 4
Buzzard - 26
Kestrel - 10
Curlew - 2
Green Sandpiper - 6
Common Sandpiper - 1 at Wansford
Herring Gull - 280+
Kingfisher - 1
House Martin / Swallow - low treble figures
Yellow Wagtail - family of 4 together
Sedge Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Coal Tit - 5
Goldfinch - 250 in one flock. A record count.
Linnet - 90
Yellowhammer - 10
Corn Bunting - 1 at Gransmoor

As noted previously, the yearlist ended August at 104.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

August Dart

I managed to squeeze a visit in at the end of August last week. Update to follow but the highlights were the first Common Sandpiper in four years and first Greenshank for three.

A few non-bird sights in photos...

1. Common Blue. By no means easy to find locally but there were several together at the edge of this field at Foston.

2. Common Darter. By far the most widespread of the dragonflies they are quite common along hedgerows.

3. The new view from Lowthorpe Bridge following heavy cut back of the bushes on the right hand side of the beck.

4. Ruddy Darter. At least I think it is. This one was along a track in Kelk.

5. Scary big 'shroom. No idea what. Found at the base of a big Beech tree. There was a few of them in a cluster together.

Yearlist climbed by a modest, but quality 3, to 104

102 Greenshank
103 Common Sandpiper
104 Corn Bunting

Monday, 16 July 2018

Flycatcher, spotted

Hot action!

Exhausting work for little birding reward. Luckily a Spotted Flycatcher was on hand at Harpham to save the weekend. My first locally since spring 2015. There were two other year ticks in the form of Great Black-backed Gull and Hobby.

14th-15th July

Mute Swan - pair with 1 'mid-sized' cygnet
Greylags - 40+
Canada Goose - 18
Gadwall - 2, unusual in summer (poss breeding?)
Tufted Duck - 1
Heron - 5
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 10
Kestrel - 3
Hobby - 1
Oystercatcher - 2
Lapwing - flock of 40
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Stock Dove - flock of 10
Swift - flock of 300+ over Wansford
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
'hirundines' - increased since May but still low nos
Yellow Wagtail - proven breeding at Kelk. 2 others noted.
Mistle Thrush - 1
Sedge Warbler - 5
Spotted Flycatcher - 1 at Harpham
Bullfinch - 1
Reed Bunting - several

Lots of butterflies around, including an abundance of whites (300+), plenty of Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock (double figures of each), also 1 Red Admiral, 2 Painted Lady, 1 Comma.

A Black-tailed Skimmer at Gembling is possible a new species locally for me (need to check!). A Common Darter was along Kelk Beck and several Hawkers (probably Migrant Hawkers but I'm not entirely sure) were seen. My recording of dragonflies is intermittent at best - must try harder.

1. Meadow Brown. A very common and widespread hedgerow butterfly.

2. Ringlet. Much as above although especially in July when they can be abundant.

3. Small White. In my notes I lazily write 'white sp' against counts of the three white butterfly species. I have never got the hang of quickly identifying them without peering closely and so it would take forever to sort them all out. I think all three are abundant but not sure which is the most so.

4. Yellow Wagtail. This male was food carrying and there was at least two others calling nearby. There's probably 3-5 pairs across the area, though this is the only proven one so far this summer.

5. Buzzard. Not the best month for seeing them but the weather seemed to encourage having a good old soar about, mostly very high up, though this one obliged lower-down enough for a photo.


099 Spotted Flycatcher
100 Great Black-backed Gull
101 Hobby