Monday, 4 February 2019

Twenty, Nineteen, January, February

Fudge time. I'm pretending last weekend was January on the basis a) I couldn't make a visit in the actual calendar month of January and b) it's a cunning justification for another February visit.

Dominated by snow and cold it was a very wintery weekend. Lots of areas seemingly devoid of small birds (except gardens) Highlights were 5 Whooper Swan, Water Rail, Peregrine, Short-eared Owl.

One intriguing report has been of a possible Nuthatch visiting gardens up and down Great Kelk. At least three people have heard it and described the call (Nuthatch was my suggestion, not theirs) but as yet it hasn't been seen enough to describe it, beyond 'a small bird'.

Hopefully it will reveal itself before it disappears. I spent a while on Sunday morning looking but to no avail. To make matters worse it had put in a brief appearance 'half an hour ago'. Nooo!

EDIT (6-feb): Nuthatch turned out to be an odd-sounding Great Tit.
 

Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd February

Mute Swan - 5
Whooper Swan - 5
Greylag Goose - 175
Wigeon - 150
Teal - 60
Mallard - 50
Red-legged Partridge - 12
Grey Partridge - 4
Cormorant - 2
Little Egret - 3
Grey Heron - 2
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 12
Kestrel - 7
Peregrine - 1
Lapwing - 60 (50+10)
Snipe - 1
Woodcock - 2
Green Sandpiper - 3
Stock Dove - flock of 21
Barn Owl - 2
Short-eared Owl - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3
Meadow Pipit - 3
Fieldfare - 80
Redwing - 1
Mistle Thrush - 7
Coal Tit - 1
Jay - 2
Corvid - 3000+ flying to roost
(~500 Jackdaw/2500 Rook)

Roe Deer - 17
Grey Squirrel - 1 roadkill


Four of the five Whoopers. Very unusual for mid-winter, most of the recent sightings have been of birds returning north in March/April.
















Terrible shot of a Barn Owl. You get the idea though.
















Blackbird coming to bird feed in a garden.
















Best way to find a Buzzard in winter? Look at all the lone trees.















Fly-by Mute Swans on their way to join the Whoopers.
















A strong start to the year list with a total of 64, and that doesn't include several obvious birds like Skylark and Coot.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Dec End

Quick review for December. It was generally very quiet and didn't feel very wintery at all. Either birds haven't fully arrived yet or they've left, or a bit of both. The main highlight was the brief appearance of a Great White Egret, for the fourth winter in a row. I wonder if the second one is hiding out there... maybe 2019 will reveal!


29-30th December 

Mute Swan - 7
Greylag Goose - 120
Teal - 120
Mallard - 50
Red-legged Partridge - 60
Grey Partridge - 28
Little Grebe - 1
Cormorant - 4
Great White Egret - 1 btw Foston/Wansford
Little Egret - 5
Grey Heron - 2
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 10
Kestrel - 10
Lapwing - 30
Snipe - 2
Green Sandpiper - 3
Great Black-backed Gull - 4
Barn Owl - 2
Meadow Pipit - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2
Fieldfare - 170
Redwing - 1
Jay - 1

Roe Deer - 19

No new species so the year list stalls and finishes at 113. Not bad.

A few piccies...

1. Roe Deer. An impressive total of 19 seen over the weekend.















2. Mute Swans enjoying a small flood patch.















3. No one told these ladybirds that it's winter, at Lowthorpe Church.















4. Important egret-heron business to be discussed.















5. More egret pictures. I can't get tired of the wee beauties!















Happy 2019!


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

Also...

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.

Wow.

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.