Monday, 15 August 2016

Soaring Summer

Review for my most recent visit. Raptors was the theme, including lots of Buzzards, Marsh Harrier finally making an appearance and a surprise young Merlin! The backup cast included several Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, and a couple of Hobbies.

Friday 29th July - Monday 1st August

Mute Swan - the pair still have 6 cygnets, now half-grown
Greylag Goose - 38
Gadwall - 2
Mallard - 70+
Tufted Duck - 3
Red-legged Partridge - 2
Grey Partridge - 34 including two large family parties
Little Grebe - 8
Grey Heron - 3
Marsh Harrier - female hunting around Kelk Beck
Sparrowhawk - 6 sightings
Buzzard - 30+ including at least 7 juvs (possibly double)
Kestrel - 10
Merlin - 1 probably juvenile near Kelk Beck
Hobby - 4 sightings prob 2 birds
Lapwing - 230+ including flocks of 150 and 70
Green Sandpiper - 1
'small gulls' - 500+ attending stubble cultivation
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 6
Herring Gull - 160+ attending stubble cultivation
Yellow-legged Gull - 1 adult with other gulls
Swift - 460+ incl. flock of 400+ feeding over Kelk Beck
Kingfisher - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Sand Martin - 100+ around colony
House Martin - 80+ at Harpham
Meadow Pipit - 2 together in Kelk, possible breeding
Yellow Wagtail - 5
Mistle Thrush - 2
Sedge Warbler - 6
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Jay - 1 is first July record for over a decade
Bullfinch - 1
Corn Bunting - 1 singing

Buzzards everywhere enjoying the lovely weather. This adult is in the middle of wing moult - the uneven wing feathers are at different growth stages and the outermost feather on both wings are half-grown.

Merlin, if you squint a bit. Not an easy bird to see at any time of year in the area and most unexpected in July. I think it was a juvenile but wasn't 100% sure.

Female Marsh Harrier on partol. Surprisingly this was my first sighting this year.

Meadow Pipits probably bred this year. Two birds were being very territorial. Despite being very common in other parts of the country they are really only passage migrants here, with breeding happening only irregularly.

The swan family. This is from Lowthorpe road bridge, over a mile from the nest.

Along with the Quail mentioned in a previous post the year list is now up to a respectable 104 and a final total of between 110-115 seems likely.

100 Quail
101 Corn Bunting
102 Merlin
103 Yellow-legged Gull
104 Marsh Harrier

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

An 'all-dark' Grey Heron

The heronry contained a very unusual 'all dark' bird in June. I thought it was worth making a separate note out of this oddity rather than include it in the June summary.

Birds at the heronry were not especially visible during my visit, with about 12 counted. While I was there the completely dark bird (a juvenile? weird plumages often seem to be) flew in from the north and landed in one of the trees, close to a typical adult.

It wasn't black as such, but a weird super deep blue/purple. As far as I could tell it's whole plumage was uniform.

A really rubbish photo below. Birds are distant so it's the best I could do!

And again with the addition of pointers...

Very strange. I've certainly never seen a heron like this before. Hopfully it will survive a while and hang around the beck so I can get a better look at it / photo.


Another brief summary, of June. As you would expect for summer there was not a lot going on. The highlight was probably two sightings of Hobby hunting (my hunch is two birds rather than one but who knows) after missing out in May.

25th & 26th June

Mute Swan - pair on Kelk Beck with 6 small cygnets.
Red-legged Partridge - 4
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 10
Kestrel - 5
Hobby - 2
Oystercatcher - 2
Lapwing - 70 incl. a post-breeding flock of 40
Meadow Pipit - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 4
Mistle Thrush - 12. An unusual summer gathering!
Whitethroat - 21
Bullfinch - 2

As much as summer is about new life coming in to the world, for birds of prey that means taking the lives of other animals. In this case presumably a Woodpigeon making a big meal for a Sparrowhawk.

Only one addition to the yearlist.

099 Hobby


Briefly account for May. It mostly involved catching up with spring migrants, the highlight being a Turtle Dove for the second year in a row.

28th and 29th May.

Mute Swan - pair with nest near Kelk Beck
Shelduck - 1
Gadwall - 7
Pochard - 1
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 12+
Kestrel - 2
Oystercatcher - 3 'pairs'
Stock Dove - flock of 13
Turtle Dove - 1 at Foston
Cuckoo - 1
Swift - 160+
Kingfisher - 2
Yellow Wagtail - 5
Sedge Warbler - 7
Reed Warbler - 4+
Garden Warbler - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Whitethroat - 14
Willow Warber - 10

Two Woodpigeons lazing around.

Additions to the years list as follows:

091 House Martin
092 Yellow Wagtail
093 Sedge Warbler
094 Reed Warbler
095 Lesser Whitethroat
096 Whitethroat
097 Turtle Dove
098 Garden Warbler