Friday, 4 August 2017

Reboot

I wasn't able to visit in June due to work, but I just squeezed in a July visit last weekend. July can be a frustrating month for birding. Breeding is mostly over and birds generally go quiet and/or hide in the excessive undergrowth. Birds find little need to fly about much and flocking behaviour hasn't really kicked in.

Still, it was nice to be back and there were a few highlights - a calling Quail in Kelk on Sunday evening, my first Hobby of the year, and a surprise 4 Little Egrets. Three in a field at Gransmoor and one at Wansford. I commented in May it was the first for that month so this presumably being the same bird and present throughout would be the first to spend the summer here. Also this is the first time I've seen more than one in a day outside of winter. Rapid change!

29th-30th July

Mute Swan - 6
Greylag Goose - 120+
Canada Goose - 18 
Shoveler - 2
Grey Partridge - 10 a family party
Quail - 1 calling at dusk
Little Grebe - 3
Cormorant - 12
Little Egret - 4
Grey Heron - 27
Sparrowhawk - 4
Buzzard - 20+
Kestrel - 8
Hobby - 1
Lapwing - 170+
Green Sandpiper - 2
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Swift - 150+
Kingfisher - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 2

British summer weather. Bright sunshine followed by black clouds.












Two year list additions...

102 Hobby
103 Quail

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Cetti Inevitable

Until a few years ago Cetti's Warbler were rare visitors to Yorkshire. They first bred in the UK as recently as the early-70s and have slowly spread north ever since. If I remember correctly the first Yorkshire breeding record was at Tophill Low in the last decade.

In the last couple of breeding seasons there appears to have been a mini-explosion in E.Yorks with multiple singing birds at Hornsea Mere and around Tophill Low plus sites along the Humber. The other Yorkshire 'zone' is the established wetland reserves in West/South Yorkshire.To the north they are still rare.

Cetti's Warblers are notoriously hard to see but fortunately their call is loud and distinctive. Here's a YouTube video of one at Tophill Low last year.

Their habitat choice appears to be similar to Sedge/Reed Warbler and as such most of the reports come from reserves with abundance of this restricted habitat, and where birders hang about most often. While early colonisers are likely to find the best habitat on such reserves as they spread it's inevitable they will find smaller chunks of habitat to their liking.

With a small number of Sedge Warbler, mostly along Kelk Beck, and a smaller number of Reed Warblers, it has been on my mind to listen out for Cetti's for a while now.

Inevitable.

Sure enough a Cetti's Warbler singing on my patch this month! To be honest I thought it would take a few more years but I'm not complaining! Sadly, yet equally inevitable, I failed to actually see the bird, only to hear its song.

And on that note, here's a summary of what was otherwise a relatively unremarkable May weekend.


Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st May

Mute Swan - 6 adults incl. pair with 4 cygnets
Canada Goose - 4 adults incl. pair with 3 goslings
Gadwall - 8
Tufted Duck - 12
Little Grebe - 2
Little Egret - 1 at Wansford
Heron - 7
Buzzard - 12
Kestrel - 2
Oystercatcher - 3
Lapwing - 18
Common Gull - 120+
Lesser Black-backed Gull -5
Cuckoo - 3 calling males
Swift - 30+
'Hirundines' - still more to come
Meadow Pipit - 3
Yellow Wagtail - 5
CETTI'S WARBLER - 1 in song
Sedge Warbler - 9
Reed Warbler - 2
Garden Warbler - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 4
Whitethroat - 21
Bullfinch - 2 males

A couple of photos. This Little Egret was at Wansford. I had my first April record last year, and this one represents my first May record. How times change!














Sedge Warbler being relatively showy, helped by the low level of plant growth. They get a lot harder to see from now on.














Year list additions...

096 Cuckoo
097 Swift
098 Garden Warbler
099 Reed Warbler
100 Tawny Owl
101 Cetti's Warbler

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

April belatedly

Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd April

A whizz of a summary before my upcoming visit for May. While there had been a modest arrival of spring migrants, there was a long way to go.

Gadwall - 10
Teal - 1
Tufted Duck - 4
Marsh Harrier - 1 'creamcrown'
Buzzard - 20+
Kestrel - 7
Water Rail - 1 is the latest spring record

Oystercatcher - 2
Little Ringed Plover - 1 is the first for 5 years!

Snipe - 1
Common Gull - 740 flying to roost
Little Owl - 1
Kingfisher - 1
Sand Martin - 30+
Swallow - 40+

House Martin - 20+
Yellow Wagtail - 3
Wheatear - 1
Sedge Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 17
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Whitethroat - 1
Chiffchaff - 20+
Willow Warbler - 14
Linnet - 80+


Also a few butterflies

Peacock - 10+
Small Tort - 20+
White sp. - 4
Holly Blue - 1. These are fairly uncommon locally.

Here's the Little Ringed Plover. The dry winter left almost no wet patches in the fields. This remnant being the most likely to hold a spring wader... and sure enough.













A good few additions to the year list (90 at the same stage last year):

083 Swallow
084 Yellow Wagtail
085 Blackcap
086 Willow Warbler
087 House Martin
088 Little Owl
089 Sand Martin
090 Marsh Harrier
091 Little Ringed Plover
092 Sedge Warbler
093 Lesser Whitethroat
094 Whitethroat
095 Wheatear

Thursday, 27 April 2017

March Catch-up

April is nearly over. There's a cold northerly wind and hail. Sounds about right. But before I gather notes from last weekend and dream of nice weather, I should write up March's visit.

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th March

Mute Swan - 40 incl 26 together at Foston
Greylag Goose - 72 in several groups
Canada Goose - 4
Wigeon - 90+
Gadwall - 8
Teal - 20
Mallard - 30+
Shoveler - 6
Red-legged Partridge - 4
Grey Partridge - 7
Cormorant - 5
Little Egret - 1 at Wansford
Grey Heron - 25
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 35+ easily the highest spring count
Kestrel - 10
Peregrine - 1 probably an immature bird
Oystercatcher - 4
Golden Plover - 140 near Harpham
Snipe - 10+
Redshank - 1 at Wansford
Green Sandpiper - 2 both wintering birds still present
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Kingfisher - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3
Fieldfare - 280 in one flock in Kelk
Redwing - 14
Chiffchaff - 24
Jay - 1

First butterflies of the year - 17 Small Tortoiseshells.

This Oystercatcher has ring on its leg. It's always interesting to speculate where visiting birds have come from. My bet would be this bird was born in Holderness, perhaps here even, and wintered on the Humber or Wash, and that that's where it was ringed. Prove me wrong!













Frog spawn in a woodland pool.













Four further March additions to the yearlist...

079 Chiffchaff
080 Oystercatcher
081 Lesser Black-backed Gull
082 Peregrine

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Mini March Update

A pair of Shelduck together in a field (11th March) and a Red Kite drifted over Kelk (14th March). I will tot up the number of kite sightings but it must be getting close to double figures now. The split is roughly 2/3 spring and 1/3 autumn. None in winter...yet.

Along with the Whoopers mentioned in the previous post that's 3 new birds for the year.

076 Whooper Swan
077 Shelduck
078 Red Kite

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Whoop North

A neat line of 20 Whooper Swan flew north last Friday (3rd Mar). That's the biggest flock I've recorded for the area, though the timing is entirely typical.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Febshank

Unseasonably warmth. 12 whopping degrees C of it. Shame about the stiff breeze. But I digress, as usual.

My February visit was pretty successful. A couple of Redshank at Wansford were the highlight. Having failed to find a single one through 2016 this was both a surprise and a relief. Egrets are still seemingly everywhere but will likely depart in March.

18th - 19th February

Mute Swan - 14
Pink-footed Goose - 1
Greylag - 220; flocks of 160 at Wansford and 60 at Kelk
Canada Goose - 6
Wigeon - 160+
Gadwall - 2
Teal - 48
Mallard - 40+
Shoveler - 3 males at Wansford
Tufted Duck - 32
Red-legged Partridge - 4
Grey Partridge - 8
Little Grebe - 4
Cormorant - 5
Little Egret - at least 6, but possibly 8
Great White Egret - 1 still present
Grey Heron - 16
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 30+ perhaps as many as 35 individuals!
Kestrel - 5
Golden Plover - 50 at Harpham
Lapwing - 140 in three flocks
Snipe - 3
Woodcock - 1
Redshank - 2 at Wansford
Green Sandpiper - 3
Kingfisher - 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3
Meadow Pipit - 4
Grey Wagtail - 2
Fieldfare - 70 in two flocks
Redwing - 12
Mistle Thrush - 6
Coal Tit - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Jay - 1
Linnet - 56 in two flocks

And now, some photos...

A Buzzard on the deck. I don't see them standing around very often though it's by no means an unusual behaviour. The warm sunny weather encouraged our Buzzards to make territorial displays on Sunday when they seemed to be everywhere.














Greylag flock at Wansford. There's two 'farmyard' white birds among them.














You've always wondered how big a Little Egret is compared to a Common Gull, right? The answer is  'about the same size'.














The water table is low at the moment and virtually no fields have wet patches - this one at Millingdale being an exception to the rule. Clearly the drains must be blocked as the channel is in fine condition. A Green Sandpiper had flushed just before I took this photo.














Lone Pink-foot. Unusual to see them on the ground. They're usually such sociable birds I can't help thinking this chap must be either lost or poorly.














The rather high January total of 69 species meant there wasn't to be a dramatic rise this month, just six.

070 Treecreeper
071 Gadwall
072 Kingfisher
073 Redshank
074 Pink-footed Goose
075 Golden Plover