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