Thursday, 16 October 2014


We are in proper autumn now. Staring winter in the face. But it was more tail-end-of-summer three weeks ago at the end of September.

It was on the face of it set up to be an unremarkable weekend but it was anything but. The weather conditions were just perfect for raptors to be in the air on Saturday - warm, sunny, slight breeze - and the timing perfect for post-breeding dispersal and passage migrants. As a result there were 57 birds of prey noted, of 6 species. Some double counting could have happened but I'm fairly confident that amount was very low. Unfortunately I only had 2-3 hours on Sunday, but the conditions had changed (cloudy) and it was obvious a repeat wasn't on the cards.

27-28 September

Mute Swan - 5 cygnets with a pair at Harpham
Pink-footed Goose - 210 flying south in two skeins (90+120)
Teal - 10
Mallard - 70+
Tufted Duck - 5
Red-legged Partridge - 15
Grey Partridge - 14
Pheasant - 130+ around Harpham (presumably many many more not seen)
Cormorant - 14 (an exceptional count for the area)
Grey Heron - 6
Honey Buzzard - 1 south on 27th
Marsh Harrier - 1
Sparrowhawk - 6
Common Buzzard - 28
Kestrel - 19
Peregrine - 2
Golden Plover - 370 (record area count)
Lapwing - 80
Snipe - 1
Curlew - 1
Green Sandpiper - 1
Kingfisher - 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 4
Swallow - 6
House Martin - 2+
Meadow Pipit - 5
Grey Wagtail - 1
Chiffchaff - 1 singing at Kelk Beck
Long-tailed Tit - several flock including one of 30+ birds.
Goldfinch - 26

Despite so many raptors I didn't get a single picture of one. Always too distant. Here's some alternatives instead.

Golden Plover. Autumn is the best time for these, or at least the most reliable time. Spring can see large flocks stopping off (the previous record count is from March) but they are unpredictable. Overwintering is almost unheard of here.

This family of swans at Harpham could be the ones that bred at the southern end of Kelk Beck. That pair disappeared in summer and I wasn't aware of a pair anywhere near Harpham. It would be the first recorded breeding at Harpham if there has been, though.

Spare adult. Very tame.

Pheasants everywhere. Hundreds of them. There will be less around soon.

Pinkies going south. Always a complete delight to see.

Just the funky buzzard added to the year list. It doesn't look like we're going to hit 110, which is currently the lowest total from recent years.

102 Honey Buzzard.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Catch up

Whirlwind summary of weekend Aug 31st - Sep 1st. Only a month or so late...

Teal - 9
Little Grebe - 4
Cormorant - 2
Little Egret - 1 between Kelk & Harpham.
Marsh Harrier - 1
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 6
Kestrel - 4
Golden Plover - 4
Green Sandpiper - 1
Barn Owl - 1
Little Owl - 1 at Harpham
Tawny Owl - 3 heard
Kingfisher - 3
Meadow Pipit - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 4
Pied Wagtail - 16
Corvid roost - 1600, roughly 1200 Rook + 400 Jackdaw
Starling - 220+
Linnet - 80+

Here's some Starlings doing their best to bring the power lines down. We don't get massive flocks out here, anything beyond a couple of hundred is good going.

The only new species for the year was:

101 Golden Plover.

I also made a visit on 27th Sep and will put up a separate review of that shortly.