Wednesday, 4 December 2013

November pictures

And finally...

This was the write up from, ooh, only last week: Winter Corn

1.Great Spotted Woodpecker at Harpham - the woods around there are pretty reliable for this species but they can be tricky to see in the canopy. Probably the best views are had privately from kitchen windows as they will visit bird tables. The lack of red on the head/neck says this is an adult female.

2. Heron from Lowthorpe bridge. This one kindly posed for a while.

3. Snipe. No, really! I couldn't find another pic so this might be the first one I've ever snapped. Typically the birds I see are odd ones flushed from field drains or seen distantly on wet areas. The last couple of years have been very poor for Snipe locally.

4. Corn Buntings in Kelk. Although the plumage is difficult to determine from this poor record shor the outline shape and pose is fairly characteristic of this species. There were a total of 9 in the flock, which is exceptional compared to recent years. One of them even burst into song.

5. Autumn leaves - Field Maple. Not a common tree locally but there are a fair few scattered among hedgerows and they're especially distinctive at this stage.

Let normal service resume... er, hopefully that doesn't mean 'as late as normal'.

Monday, 2 December 2013

October pictures

Five from October. Here was the write-up: "September and October"

1. Long-tailed Duck at Kelk Lake. A complete surprise

2. Slightly better shot of the Long-tailed Duck. Possibly an immature female bird.

3. Part of a large flock of Golden Plover. Autumn is the main time to see this species locally, with a shorter and less predictable passage in spring. They're not a bird you expect to see much of in winter around here.

4. Common Gull in its least familiar '2nd Winter' plumage, showing the characteristic 'smudging' across the outer wing, almost like they could be oil stains. Only a small percentage of birds are in this plumage, most individuals are (long-lived) adults and because mortality rate is high in young birds the majority of immature birds are '1st Winter'.

5. Cock Pheasant. Nothing much to note. October is a Pheasanty kind of month, locally released birds are everywhere before the main shoots have taken place.

Friday, 29 November 2013

August & September pics

Another day another step closer... here's some hot wader action to get your weekend going.

1. Spotted Redshank. Only the second one in recent years. I think all previous records have been juveniles in Aug/Sep, though I'd need to check. Strangely, Common Redshank hasn't made it on the year list yet - there can't be many birders who are in that situation! Also - spot the Green Sandpiper in the background.

2. Slightly better shot of the 'spotshank' - you can see the eye stripe better here. This was taken at the same time, in August, though amazingly this bird (or another?) was present in September.

3. Juvenile Black-tailed Godwit. Rarer than the bird above - this is only my second ever in the area (the other was also an autumn juvenile). This looks like it's of the 'islandica' race that breeds mostly in Iceland. The other race that occurs in UK is 'limosa' which breeds across northern Europe. Either way, cracking birds.

4. One picture is never enough for a bird like this. Just look at it. Stonking.

5. None of other birds from Aug/Sep were going to compete with those two so here's a flying non-bird. It's a Common Darter, which are the most numerous 'dragonfly' in the area.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

July pictures #2

Not only pictures but now with added... birds!
Here's the write-up from June and July

1. Corn Bunting singing from a pea field in Kelk. A presumed family of birds were present.

2. Juvenile Starling. This must have been at dusk judging by the lighting. In July whole flocks of juveniles suddenly appear as if from nowhere and roam the local area, long before most other species are flocking together.

3. Juvenile Yellow Wagtail. The area around Kelk is pretty good for this species and they don't seem to mind wheat and other crops here - many people wrongly assume they're a wetland species. I see juveniles every year but I think this is the first I've snapped.

4. Uh-oh. One of the commonest farmland birds, one of the few that is truly abundant.

5. Swifts. Have you ever tried taking pictures of Swifts? No? Then shut up - it's ruddy impossible!

Stay tuned for August & September

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

July pictures #1

Woot! Pictures at last! From last summer!

1. Station Road, Lowthorpe
2. New Road, Harpham

3. Footpath of Gransmoor Lane, Kelk

4. Lowthorpe

5. New Road, Harpham

6. New Road, Harpham


Winter Corn

Moving closer to being back on track. At least we're in the right month now. Still no photos but I'm working on it.

Saturday 16th / Sunday 17th November

Not a particularly eventful weekend considering it's November with only small numbers of wildfowl. I was particularly puzzled by the lack of Fieldfare and Redwing especially as there seemed to be lots of Blackbirds. But that's the mystery of migration, I guess. For once it was left to the resident farmland birds to provide the highlights - a very large count of 180+ Linnet and 9 Corn Bunting. These latter follow on from the best summer in recent years when at least 4 males were heard 'jangling their keys' in song, and then what was presumably a family party seen in Kelk in July.

Mute Swan - 2
Greylag Goose - 3
Canada Goose - 10. These are the first since March.
Wigeon - 4
Teal - 35+
Mallard - 60+
Tufted Duck - 1
Grey Partridge - 20+
Cormorant - 2
Grey Heron - 5
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 6
Kestrel - 3
Golden Plover - 11
Lapwing - 300+. A very good count this late in autumn.
Snipe - 1
Woodcock - 2
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Kingfisher - 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3
Skylark - 20+
Meadow Pipit - 2
Blackbird - "plenty", including 80+ around Kelk on 17th.
Fieldfare - zero!
Redwing - 2
Coal Tit - 1
'Corvid' - 1000+ in pre-roost flight
Chaffinch - 30+. Largest flock noted this year.
Siskin - 11
Linnet - 180+. A very high count for November.
Yellowhammer - 20+
Reed Bunting - 4+
Corn Bunting - 9. A flock perched together on wires in Kelk.

Nothing new for the year-list this time.. stuck on 109 with one month to go!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

September and October

Despite good intentions here we are two months later. Another short interim report, I'm afraid. There's been some good birds around though!


Weekend of 21st-22nd, plus Saturday 28th.

Pink-footed Goose - 38 flew south
Wigeon - 2
Teal - 120+
Grey Partridge - 15
Cormorant - 2
Sparrowhawk - 6+
Buzzard - 10+
Kestrel - 4
Peregrine - 1 immature chasing Golden Plovers
Water Rail - 1 at Lowthorpe Bridge (earliest autumn record!)
Golden Plover - 72
Lapwing - 245+
Snipe - 2
Green Sandpiper - 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 3
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Kingfisher - 3
Meadow Pipit - 4 (surprisingly scarce!)
Yellow Wagtail - 14 (surprisingly many!)
Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest - 1 each
Treecreeper - 2

The best birds of the weekend were the surprising continued appearance of the Spotted Redshank at Gembling noted in August, which had been joined by a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit first seen on 21st and still present on 28th. This is only my second local record, the previous being a brief fly-over at Kelk.

A Red Kite was seen watching ploughing from the safety of a tree in Kelk at the beginning of September. All previous records have been either March/April or August/September.


Weekend of 19th-21st.

Gadwall - 1
Teal - 40+
Mallard - 80+
Grey Partridge - 13
Cormorant - 4
Grey Heron - 6
Sparrowhawk - 4
Buzzard - 8
Kestrel - 5
Golden Plover - 330+
Lapwing - 280+
Snipe - 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Kingfisher - 2
Skylark - 100+ (in loose flocks 70, 20, 10)
Meadow Pipit - 4
Grey Wagtail - 2
Fieldfare - 45+
Redwing - 70+
Coal Tit - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Brambling - 1
Linnet - 170+ (two flocks 90+80)

October's star bird was an immature Long-tailed Duck at Kelk Lake. Considering how few birds are using the lake now this is an incredible record - clearly a very lost individual. My only previous record was also a young bird, a long-stayer in winter 1990/91.

A Wheatear was seen in Kelk on 8th October.

Six species were added to the year list during the two months.

104 Pink-footed Goose
105 Peregrine
106 Black-tailed Godwit
107 Water Rail
108 Long-tailed Duck
109 Brambling

Friday, 20 September 2013

Anyone remember the summer?

Oh is it September? I hadn't noticed. Honest. I took a long weekend visit 22-25th August, but it's been hectic ever since. Very quick summary here and I promise to dig out some photos soon.

Greylag Goose - 175 flying around over BarfHill/Gembling on 23rd.
Gadwall - 3 off Kelk Beck
Teal - total of 45 at several sites
Shoveler - 1 with Teal off Kelk Beck (year tick!)
Grey Partridge - four family parties totalling 27 noted
Marsh Harrier - female between Kelk-Gembling
Buzzard - probably a min of 10 birds seen
Hobby - 1 at Harpham on 23rd
Snipe - 1 at Cattleholmes on 23rd
Green Sandpiper - 8 birds (7 Gembling + 1 Cattleholmes)
Common Sandpiper - flock of 10 at dusk at Kelk Lake
Common/Black-headed Gulls - 2k+ gulls (mostly Common) to roost in evening of 22nd
Swift - ZERO!
Kingfisher - 1 at Kelk Lake
Yellow Wagtail - 3 noted
Sedge Warbler - 1 Kelk Beck
Lesser Whitethroat - 1 Lowthorpe
Common Whitethroat - 2 noted
Chiffchaff/Willow Warbler - still plenty about

The best bird of what was a slow-going visit was a juvenile Spotted Redshank at Gembling on 25th.

Yearlist up 3 with...

101 Shoveler
102 Common Sandpiper
103 Spotted Redshank

Quite how I'm going to get to 110 is anyone's guess. September & October had better produce something pretty spectacular!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

June and July

A filler post. Been busy and without laptop at home. Excuses etc...


Had one afternoon visit, Sunday 2nd. Nothing much to report but a couple of new Lesser Whitethroats - bringing the spring total in the area to a healthy eight. There was still a Cuckoo calling around Kelk. A Little Owl (year tick) was also at Kelk and has been seen fairly regularly all summer by various people. Such activity is a reasonable indication of nearby breeding.


A visit over the weekend of 13-14th produced a few goodies including a surprise year tick of a Common Tern heading south along the beck. These are scarce in the area with only one other record since 2007.

Also seen were 3 Cormorant, a Marsh Harrier, a Hobby, a juvenile Oystercatcher with the local pair, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Barn Owls, a Kingfisher, several young Yellow Wagtails, and 3 or 4 different Corn Buntings in the same field (possibly 1-2 young birds).

Butterflies were more visible than previous months, the majority being Ringlet (200+), Meadow Brown (40+), Small Tortoiseshell (30+), whites (20+) and Small Skipper (15+). A single Large Skipper was the only other species seen.

Year list lands at 100. Will add some pictures later.

099 Little Owl
100 Common Tern

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Review for t'other weekend... I nearly forgot (excuses excuses).

Saturday 18th May

Harpham-Lowthorpe: 2 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Grey Partridge, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Common Buzzard, 10 Lapwing (looks like a poor spring locally), 8 Lesser Black-backed and 35 Herring Gulls, 6 Stock Dove, 1 Cuckoo, 120+ Swift, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20+ House Martin, 'not many' Swallows, 1 Meadow Pipit, 4 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 4 Bullfinch, and 1 Corn Bunting.

Kelk: 3 Shelduck, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Oystercatcher, 10 Lapwing, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Tawny Owl, 4 Yellow Wagtail (including the Blue-headed bird reported in the previous post), 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat.

Sunday 19th May

Gembling/Foston: 4 Mute Swan, 11 Greylags, 2 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Heron, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat.

Kelk Beck: 6 Gadwall, 2 Teal (unseasonal), 20+ Mallard, 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Grey Partridge, 3 Common Buzzard, 1 Hobby, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Sedge Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 14 Whitethroat, 2 Corn Bunting singing.

Harpham, late afternoon: female Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 4 Lesser Black-backed and 90+ Herring Gull (following cultivation), 90+ Swift, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, and 1 Goldcrest.

A very poor weekend for butterflies although the sunshine on Sunday did bring a few out: 1 Brimstone, 2 Orange Tip, 6 Peacock, 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood, 18 'whites'.

For once I managed a few half-just-about-nearly-ok photos. First up the Marsh Harrier heading north from Kelk toward Harpham. Always a pleasure to see one of these beauties.

One of the Sedge Warblers along Kelk Beck. Numbers have been stable in recent years at 15-20 pairs across the area, but remain scarce away from the beck.

One of three Corn Buntings seen during the weekend. Remarkable considering there have been no more than two singers in any of the previous six years. A small upturn in fortunes?

Year tick! Red-legs have become much harder to find in recent years.

ASBO gulls loitering with intent. It's not every day you see them on poles around here.

Six additions to the year list brings us to a much healthier 98.

093 Swift
094 Garden Warbler
095 Red-legged Partridge
096 Reed Warbler
097 Hobby
098 Marsh Harrier

Monday, 20 May 2013

Kind of Blue

Very good weekend, just gone. More soon but here's pictures of the stand out bird - a male Blue-headed Wagtail. After the bumper last couple of springs for Yellow Wagtails the pasture in Little Kelk strikes again with one of the continental Blue-headed cousins. These replace the UK Yellow subspecies in France and north to southern Scandinavia.

In Yorkshire these 'flava' wagtails are passage migrants along the coast in small numbers especially in spring (harder to identify in autumn plumage!). Inland they're less common though well watched reserves like Tophill Low chalk up odd ones each year, indeed they have already had a couple this spring. Either way, I'm made up with this record - scarce AND totally gorgeous!

Identification: as Yellow Wagtail but slaty-blue head without any yellow except on the throat. Cheeks are slightly darker. Strong eye-stripe is distinctive. More discussion of identification here.

Pasture seems to be a favourite for wagtails on passage - breeding birds locally prefer corn fields.

The cows/sheep appear to attract insects for food and the natural pool was abuzz with flies.

Other birds this weekend included Marsh Harrier, Hobby, lots of Swifts, a Garden Warbler and a couple of Reed Warblers all new for the year list.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Wind and a Willow

Let me get the now obligatory moan about weather out of the way - too feckin windy!


A rather splendid weekend when all said and done. Yet another April Red Kite (3rd in recent years) and a local mega in the form of a superbly out-of-the-blue WILLOW TIT. Plenty of spring migrants but few species in large numbers just yet. Wheatear and Corn Bunting were the best of the rest.

Saturday 27th April

Harpham/Lowthorpe: 2 Greylag, 3 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Oystercatcher, 16 Lapwing, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, several Sand Martin, 20+ Swallow and 5+ House Martin. Other migrants included 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, and 5 Willow Warbler, but to be fair most birds weren't singing so there could easily have been lots more. Also seen were 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Bullfinch, and 2 very late Siskin (pair) feeding in larches.

Bird of the day was undoubtedly the WILLOW TIT seen in a hedgerow near Lingholmes plantation. It moved quickly along the hedgerow in the direction of Kelk Lake. A fairly brief but definite identification (including call), the similar Marsh Tit would actually be less likely here. I had a small number of sightings in the 1990s but nothing since. The species has become regionally scarce with only a few sites in East Yorkshire supporting them and nationally they are in heavy decline: BTO & BBC

Kelk: 2 Shelduck, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 18 Lapwing, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Tawny Owl, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 15+ Pied Wagtail, a Wheatear, 2 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 20+ Linnet (a year tick!), and best of the afternoon a singing Corn Bunting near Gransmoor Quarry.

2 Mute Swan at Kelk Lake have built a nest but the only other water-bird was a single Coot. 500+ Common Gull flew east to roost at dusk, presumably all immature birds in no hurry to migrate while all the adults should have moved back to the breeding grounds in Scotland and northern Europe by now.

Sunday 28th April

Kelk Beck: 2 Mute Swan, 2 Greylag, 2 Gadwall, 1 late Teal, 18 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Little Grebe, 3 Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 1 Coot, 18 Lapwing, 1 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Great Black-backed Gull (unseasonal), 20+ Sand Martin, 1 Meadow Pipit, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Sedge Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler, 30+ Linnet, and 2 Reed Bunting.

Gembling/Foston/Millingdale: 2 Mute Swan, 22 Greylag, 4 Gadwall, 8 Mallard, 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 8 Coot, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, and 4 Willow Warbler.

I'm doing this back-to-front but the best bird of the day was one of the first in the morning - a Red Kite flying west over Little Kelk. This establishes a pattern where 3 of the last 4 have been in April. I wonder if these are young Yorkshire raised birds roaming the countryside for possible territory.

The only butterflies seen all weekend were 1 'white' and 2 Peacock. Clearly not quite spring enough for them!

And now a few half-baked attempts at photos.

Starling singing from the rooftops in Little Kelk. They thrive in the gardens around the village.

Roe Deer road kill at Harpham. Looked pretty fresh - bet that made a dent in someone's wing! 

Female Yellow Wagtail. The males are so attention grabbing it's easy to overlook the delightfully lemony females, definitely worth a second look.

And let's not forget Pied Wagtails. A spring male of the British subspecies is a masterclass in the use of black - fashionistas take note.

Last but not least is an admittedly lousy record shot of one of the Siskins at Harpham on Saturday. A very late record for the area of what is a tricky bird to track down locally.

A whopping 18 additions to the yearlist:

075 Curlew
076 Cuckoo
077 Yellow Wagtail
078 Swallow
079 Willow Tit
080 Meadow Pipit
081 Willow Warbler
082 House Martin
083 Sand Martin
084 Blackcap
085 Shelduck
086 Wheatear
087 Corn Bunting
088 Linnet
089 Whitethroat
090 Lesser Whitethroat
091 Red Kite
092 Sedge Warbler

Now that's looking a bit more like it - bring it on!

Saturday, 20 April 2013


As predicted stuff has started arriving. Swallows and Sand Martins are back in force now. Brother reports first Cuckoo heard at Great Kelk yesterday (19th April) - that's pretty damn early!

Thursday, 11 April 2013


It would appear spring is peeking out from behind the sofa. At. Blooming. Last.

Sand Martins and Swallows have been reported from many places across Yorkshire in the last couple of days and no doubt that will turn into a flood next week.

My brother encountered a late Woodcock (not sure I've had an April one in recent years) and a Curlew, near Millingdale earlier in the week. Looking forward to my next visit more so than for the last few months!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Brass Monkeys

Good grief what is up wi t'weather? I'm still thawing out a day later. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

This will be brief. I often grumble about the birds not playing ball for me but this weekend was on another level. Thoroughly miserable.

Saturday 23rd March

Harpham, morning. Very tough going with few birds showing: 30 Greylags, 1 Buzzard, 10 Lapwing, 26 Stock Dove, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 Goldfinch.

The surprise of the morning was 1 Chiffchaff skulking in the hedge by Lowthorpe bridge. It shouldn't have been a surprise, this is when they're supposed to arrive, but the weather made it feel improbable to see this delicate little feller. Full marks for perseverance!

Kelk in the afternoon: 2 Teal, 9 Mallard, 2 Buzzard, 2 Oystercatcher, 90 Lapwing, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (first of the year), 9 Stock Dove, 1 Barn Owl battling the wind mid-afternoon, 6 Pied Wagtail.

The afternoon's surprise was an adult LITTLE GULL battling the wind and heading east through Little Kelk. This is my first in recent years though I had a few in the '90s, but never in March before (late summer being the most likely time).

Kelk Lake area late afternoon: 4 Greylag, 1 male Pochard, 1 Tufted Duck, 2 (pair) Goldeneye, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Woodcock, 2 Fieldfare, 30+ Redwing.

Sunday 24th March

Kelk Beck, morning. Still very hard work and even less birds: 2 Mute Swan, 2 Canada Goose, 50+ Teal, 60+ Mallard, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 3 Coot, 5 Snipe (year tick!), 20 Yellowhammer. Today's nice surprise was a Merlin chasing a passerine around near the pasture in Little Kelk.

Gembling, briefly: 2 Mute Swan, 5 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Goose, 4 Gadwall, 1 Buzzard, 4 Coot.

Photos? You're kidding :)

Six year ticks... the total is about 10 behind 2012 at this stage!

069 Chiffchaff
070 Oystercatcher
071 Lesser Black-backed Gull
072 Little Gull
073 Snipe
074 Merlin

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Creeping on up

Visit two for February (I'm still deluding myself the previous one was actually January). Not much birdly action to report but let's do this anyhoo.

Saturday 23rd February

Morning around Harpham/Lowthorpe: 3 Mute Swan near Kelk Beck, 2 Sparrowhawk, 5 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 50+ Golden Plover flying east, 55 Lapwing, 1 Barn Owl, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 15+ Skylark, 195 Fieldfare, 20+ Redwing, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Jay at Lowthorpe, 20+ Chaffinch.

Afternoon around Gembling/Foston: 6 Mute Swan, 10 Greylags, 2 Teal, 1 Grey Partridge, 1 Little Grebe, 7 Heron, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 8 Coot, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Wagtail, 29 Fieldfare, 12 Redwing, 1 Bullfinch.

Kelk Lake at dusk: 1 Canada Goose, 9 Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye (pair) and 2 Coot.

Sunday 24th February

Morning, around Kelk Beck & Kelk: 5 Mute Swan, 17 Greylags, 6 Canada Goose, 4 Gadwall, 175+ Teal, 110+ Mallard, 10 Tufted Duck, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Heron, 3 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Coot, 50+ Lapwing, 1 Goldcrest, 15+ Tree Sparrow, 15+ Chaffinch, 2 Siskin (on garden bird feeders), 4 Bullfinch, and an impressive flock of 65 Yellowhammer in Little Kelk. 

Harpham again in the late afternoon was quiet though 10 Stock Dove, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Treecreeper, 4 Reed Bunting were additions from yesterday.


A low-flying lump of a Buzzard. Fairly common winter behaviour. At other times of year these birds keep well up in the sky.

Male Bullfinch. Rubbish Photo. This was one from two pairs chomping Hawthorn buds in Great Kelk.

You want more rubbish photos? You've come to the right place. Having said that, Goldcrest isn't the easiest bird to snap. A wee bit of yellow crown stripe is visible if you squint.

Teal. Lots of Teal. I'm not sure what they're finding so attractive at the moment but I've never known a winter where they gather so abundantly on the beck. My guess would be that they're roosting here and moving off to feed on waterlogged fields at night.

Ouch! An ex-Woodpigeon.

Just a few additions to the year-list, a very slow start indeed. But that means even more ticks to come, I hope.

063 Coal Tit
064 Grey Wagtail
065 Bullfinch
066 Green Sandpiper
067 Treecreeper
068 Siskin

Thursday, 7 February 2013

And we're off...

Disappointed to have missed January, but so be it. Here's the summary from the first 2013 visit, last weekend. Highlights were few and far between but Wigeon, Goldeneye, Golden Plover, and Jay were welcome sightings.

Not great conditions for photos. This Kestrel at Lowthorpe was about as good as it got, and I had to fiddle like heck with the levels.

Saturday 2nd February

The morning was a bit of a disaster, horizontal snow cut the effort short, but a few birds were noted; 1 each of Grey Partridge, Heron, Buzzard, Kestrel, Barn Owl, Kingfisher, Skylark, Goldcrest. A party of Long-tailed Tits and a Stoat were the only other sightings of note.

Gembling/Foston: much better in the afternoon - sunshine even appeared. Around Gembling were 16 Canada Goose, 14 Wigeon, 20+ Teal, 40+ Mallard, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Cormorant overhead, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 8 Moorhen. Further along around Foston were 2 Gadwall, 4 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Pochard, Little Grebe, Kestrel, 4 Coot, 5 Lapwing, Grey Partridge.

Around Kelk Lake at dusk were 18 Mallard, 14 Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye and a Woodcock.

Sunday 3rd February

Kelk Beck / Kelk: quite a good morning but quite hard work. 6 Mute Swan, a whopping 220+ Teal at Cattleholmes (easily a new site record!) with 50+ Mallard, 8 Grey Partridge, 4 Cormorant, 11 Grey Herons over the heronry, Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 15 Golden Plover, Woodcock, 14 Herring Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 250+ Woodpigeon, 3 Fieldfare, 110+ Redwing together, 4 Tree Sparrow, 9 Yellowhammer, 1 Reed Bunting.

Harpham: a quick shuffle around Harpham again led to seeing the Barn Owl again (twice - presumed same one though). Also Heron, Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, flock of 62 Lapwing, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Fieldfare, 15+ Long-tailed Tit, and a Jay.

A total of 62 species were recorded, suffice to say this is well down on same time last year!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Jan '13

This will be short.

I failed to make a visit in January due to a mix of other commitments and stupid weather. Gah!

However I did get out this past weekend and will write that up shortly. Yay!