Saturday 28th April
Harpham: a bit slow going with the poor weather but some birds noted; 4 Greylag Goose, 11 Mallard, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Buzzard, 10 Lapwing, 7 Herring Gull, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, several Skylark, several Swallow, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Willow Warber, several Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Bullfinch. A Jackdaw looking somewhat like the continental subspecies was at Harpham - see photo below.
Kelk Lake / Little Kelk: 2 Mute Swan, 2 Shelduck, 2 Gadwall, 1 Kestrel, 1 Cormorant, 5 Coot, 1 Sand Martin, 15+ Swallow, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Bullfinch, 19 Linnet, 16 Yellowhammer.
Gembling / Foston / Wansford: 1 Mute Swan, 5 Greylags, 2 Canada Goose, 6 Shelduck, 8 Gadwall, 2 Pochard, 24 Tufted Duck, 6 Little Grebe, 1 Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Coot, 3 Oystercatcher, 44 Herring Gull, 1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8+ Swallow, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Whitethroat, 12+ Tree Sparrow.
Sunday 29th April
What an absolutely rubbish day - rain from early morning until 6pm. We managed a couple of hours as soon as it stopped. A brisk walk around Gransmoor Lane revealed 8 Grey Partridge, 1 Cormorant, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 16 Herring Gull, 1 Barn Owl, 9 Swallow and a Yellow Wagtail.
Monday 30th April
Bright sunshine... hard to believe after the previous day.
Kelk Beck / Little Kelk: 2 Mute Swan, 2 Greylags, 2 Gadwall, 12 Mallard, 6 Grey Partridge, 2 Cormorant, 1 Heron, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 4 Buzzard, 6 Coot, 1 Oystercatcher, 26 Lapwing, 15 Herring Gulls, 2 Cuckoo - including one flying overhead, 18+ Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler, 11 Goldfinch, 14 Linnet, 4 male Reed Buntings singing. Also noted were the first butterflies of the visit; 2 whites and 3 Peacock.
Gembling: 2 Pochard, 1 Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 140+ Herring Gulls, 2 Tawny Owls calling to each other, 3 Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warbler. Another 3 Peackock butterflies were noted.
Last effort for the weekend was a quick dash on the bike to Harpham and back which added 1 Swift, 1 Kingfisher, 2 House Martin and a Speckled Wood butterfly. Best of the lot was an excellent view of a Hobby - my first record for April.
A male Yellowhammer in Little Kelk. My first sighting of one of these beauties as a young lad was part reason for getting me into birdwatching.
Linnets on barbed wires. The males a relatively understated for a finch but no less lovely for it.
You're going to have to trust me but this is a Willow Warbler. This view was looking toward sun - though you'd be forgiven for thinking it was dusk! I love the somewhat chilled out vibe to their song.
Gadwall seem to pass through the area regularly every spring, mostly at regular spots like Brigham Quarry or along Kelk Beck, unlike this pair which were at Lowthorpe Bridge - my first record for that spot.
Finally - the odd looking Jackdaw at Harpham, possibly a continental bird. The resident birds typically have a less contrasting pattern around the head and the almost white collar-line is thought to be consistent in continental birds. Popular thinking is that the overlap between the subspecies/races makes safe identification in the field near impossible. And then there's the problem of subspecies hybrids and intergrades. On the positive side, small numbers of continental Jackdaws must, surely, occur in the area, even if we can't properly identify the buggers. Whatever, this was a really striking little chap compared to more drab normal ones.
Additions to the yearlist...
085 Cuckoo086 Swallow
089 Willow Warbler
090 Yellow Wagtail
091 House Martin
092 Sedge Warbler
093 Lesser Whitethroat