Saturday 16th April
Harpham-Lowthorpe: 2 Greylags, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 14 Lapwing, 6 Stock Dove, 1 Tawny Owl (calling), 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 8 Swallow, 20 singing Blackcap (also 3+ females), 9 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Tree Sparrow, 110 Linnet (2 flocks; 70+40), 1 Bullfinch.
Gembling-Foston-Wansford: 24 Greylags, 2 Canada Goose, 2 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 10 Mallard, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Grey Partridge, 6 Little Grebe, 12 Coot, 1 Oystercatcher, 2 Green Sandpiper, 30 Sand Martin, 5 Swallow, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Pied Wagtail, 4 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 15 Tree Sparrow, 30 Linnet, 1 Reed Bunting. Activity at the heronry is in full swing at one point a pickup drove along the track next to the wood and put up the adults - 32 in total wheeling about above the heronry at once!
Green Lane-Kelk Lake: 2 Mute Swan, 3 Shelduck, 7 Grey Partridge, 1 Coot, 1 Barn Owl, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Blackcap.
Sunday 17th April
Kelk Beck: 2 Mute Swan, 2 Greylags, 1 Canada Goose, 2 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 10 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 3 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 3 Coot, 10 Lapwing, 1 Curlew flying north, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Tawny Owl (flushed from hedgerow!), 2 Sand Martin, 10 Swallow, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 1 Sedge Warbler (heard since 14th - earliest ever record), 3 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 8 Willow Warbler, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 30 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting.
Green Lane-Barf Hill: 2 Greylags, 5 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 8 Mallard, 4 Sparrowhawk, 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 15 Herring Gull, 21 Yellow Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, 2 Blackcap, 1 Common Whitethroat (earliest record), 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Tree Sparrow.
Kelk Lake at dusk: 2 Whimbrel flying east were a huge surprise - the first for many years and only my fifth record. Also seen 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 30+ Sand Martin, 10+ Swallow, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Long-tailed Tit.
An exceptional movement of gulls was noted - 1540 Common, 3 Herring and 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. In winter such a number of Common Gulls would be expected but they typically become scarce by April. Around 90% were immature (2CY/1st summer) birds which is not surprising. Not a single Black-headed Gull could be picked out. Where these birds are feeding during the day is a mystery but presumably they went to roost in the bay, as they do in autumn. How long these flights have been taking place is also unknown - could they have been preparing to leave for northern Europe?
Monday 18th April
A third day gave me the chance whizz around the best bits one more time. Not as successful as hoped but I did find a pair of Kestrels mating at Harpham plus a Sedge Warbler nearby. On the Yellow Wagtail hotspot the numbers had fallen to 12 but there was also 5 Golden Plover, 22 Lapwing, and 1 Wheatear (another year tick!). 1 Lesser Whitethroat at Gembling and a second Common Whitethroat of the weekend, this one near Kelk Lake. 2 Bullfinch in Little Kelk and, finally, a singing Corn Bunting. The latter was a most welcome year tick, shockingly there was only one bird noted in the whole of 2010.
A few more photos...
Plenty of butterflies have emerged including this fresh Speckled Wood at Barf Hill.
Wheatear in Little Kelk. I failed to find one at all last year so this is very pleasing. I've never had one at this location either, and Spring birds tend to appear on bare & freshly prepared spring crops.
One of the Yellow Wagtails. As above these birds often appear on bare fields in Spring but these were all in the pasture - some even feeding around the feet of cows! In addition to the 21 in this field a further 6 were found. Quite exceptional numbers.
Two of the five Shelduck seemingly resident this Spring. One of the pairs has even been found prospecting for nest sites at a farmyard!
Finally - a Grass Snake, deceased. Not clear what killed it, certainly not a road kill. Fully stretched out it was about 3 feet long.
As mentioned earlier a good number of butterflies were on the wing including; 3 Holly Blue, 4 Orange Tip, 29 Peacock, 19 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Speckled Wood, 28 'White' sp
Other sightings were the dead snake, a dead Mole, 4 Roe Deer and 1 Water Vole.
So where does all that leave us? Additions to the year list were, in order of appearance:
080 Sand Martin
082 Willow Warbler
083 Yellow Wagtail
084 Sedge Warbler
085 Little Ringed Plover
086 Common Whitethroat
088 Lesser Black-backed Gull
089 Lesser Whitethroat
090 Corn Bunting
In addition to these House Martin has been seen, and Cuckoo put in an appearance on Tuesday 19th - yet another earliest record!
092 House Martin
The Whimbrel are the 135th species since I started the 'once a month' survey in January 2007.