Monday, 16 December 2019

More Great-ness

Great White Egret present again.

With a photo this time.

Otherwise not a great deal of greatness going on. Tough birding conditions with the stiff/cold breeze. A trio of Brambling at Harpham was notable. A gigantic pre-roost of 4500 corvids was a personal highlight, containing 1000+ Rook and an unprecedented 3500 Jackdaw. Wowsers!

As that is the last visit it makes the one addition to the year list (Brambling) a disappointing final total of 106.

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th December.

Mute Swan - 14
Wigeon - 70
Teal - 180
Red-legged Partridge - 63 (released)
Grey Partridge - 10
Cormorant - 1
Little Egret - 5
Great White Egret - 1
Heron - 2
Buzzard - 13
Kestrel - 4
Snipe - 1
Green Sandpipier - 1
Barn Owl - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2
Fieldfare - 150+
Goldcrest - 10+
Coal Tit - 3
Treecreeper - 1
Jay - 1
Jackdaw - 3500
Rook - 1000
Chaffinch - 80
Brambling - 3 at Harpham
Goldfinch - 30

Coal Tit. There was a decent size tit flock moving around the sheltered churchyard at Lowthorpe. The wood there is by far the easiest place to see Coal Tit in the area.

Goldcrest in the same area. They too are most visible in the church wood.

And squirrels too. They occur across the area, often close to gardens but I see them most often here.

Final photo of a quartet from Lowthorpe - a Treecreeper seeking insets in between the bark. And yes, the photo is the right way up!

One last agenda item until next time...

106 Brambling

Monday, 25 November 2019

A Tale of Gloomy Halves

November visit in the bag. Time to move on. Good grief that was a gloomy weekend. Saturday was a wash out though I managed to get out for a couple of hours at the end of the afternoon. Sunday was at least dry but oh was the visibility atrocious.

There has been A LOT OF WATER fall on the area. The beck is much higher than I've seen it for a good few years. Field floods are everywhere. As tough as that is for farmers and wildlife, it'll be interesting to see if anything unsual makes use of them over winter and into spring.

No new species for the year but some decent highlights: a new high of 14 Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Short-eared Owl and Little Owl. Some outstanding counts of commoner birds were c500 Teal, 900 Herring Gull, and a respectable 90 Yellowhammers.

Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th November

Mute Swan - 13
Wigeon - 20
Gadwall - 4
Teal - c500 (350+ Kelk, 150+ Gembling)
Mallard - 120+
Tufted Duck - 2
Red-legged Partridge - 40+ at Lowthorpe (released)
Cormorant - 2
Little Egret - 14 (11 Wansford, 3 Kelk)
Heron - 6
Marsh Harrier - 1 at Wansford
Buzzard - 13
Kestrel - 5
Water Rail - 1 at Kelk Beck
Lapwing - 22
Snipe - 1
Green Sandpiper - 2
Herring Gull - c900 (600 Wansford, 300 Kelk)
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Woodpigeon - flock of 800
Short-eared Owl - 1 at Kelk
Little Owl - 1
Kingfisher - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Skylark - flock of 25+
Fieldfare - 56 (3 flocks)
Redwing - 18
Tree Sparrow - 14
Linnet - 120 in 2 flocks (90+30)
Bullfinch - 1
Yellowhammer - 90 in 2 flocks (65+25)

Also noted
Bat sp - 1 at Kelk at dusk
Weasel - 1 at Kelk
Squirrel - 2
Roe Deer - 8

Over the limit. Wansford. Yikes.

And still they keep coming. Counting them is normally difficult as they move around a lot and hide out of view. I've had one day count possibly into double figures before but this is the first confirmed.  It is possible they're more visible than usual because the drains are full, forcing them into the fields where all 14 were seen. These three were on a field at Wansford.

Part of a huge Teal flock. I guess they're attracted to the flooded fields at quiet/safe times of the day but happy to squeeze into small spots in the day for roosting. Even so, I've not seen numbers quite on this scale here before.

Until December - stay dry everyone!

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Make Egrets Great Again

My old friend the Great White Egret is back for its fifth winter. Assuming of course it's the same one. Surely it would be even crazier if it were different birds. Hopefully it will play ball a bit more this time - I only saw it once last winter.

An autumnal feel at the weekend. Lots of birds about but nothing particularly unexpected. Hightlights were the Great White Egret, four Green Sandpipers probably settling in for winter, a whopping record count of 600 Herring Gulls, and five each of Grey Wagtail and Jay.

Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th October

Mute Swan - 6
Greylag Goose - 60+
Wigeon - 35
Gadwall - 1
Teal - 160+
Mallard - 120+
Red-legged Partridge - 6
Cormorant - 5
Great White Egret - 1 at Kelk Beck
Little Egret - 4 (3 Kelk, 1 Wansford)
Heron - 5
Sparrowhawk - 5
Buzzard - 18
Kestrel - 8
Golden Plover - 400+ nr Gembling
Lapwing - 80
Green Sandpiper - 4
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 2
Herring Gull - 600, a record count
Great Black-backed Gull - 3
Collared Dove - 23 at Gembling
Tawny Owl - 2
Kingfisher - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
Skylark - flock of 25 at Kelk Beck
Meadow Pipit - 2
Grey Wagtail - 5
Redwing - 31, but no Fieldfares
Mistle Thrush - 25 incl 19 together at Gembling
Goldcrest - 2 at Kelk were presumably migrants
Treecreeper - 1
Jay - 5
Jackdaw - 1000+ at pre-roost
Rook - 1000+ at pre-roost
Linnet - 170 in two flocks of 80+90
Bullfinch - 4
Yellowhammer - flock of 23

Part of the 2000-plus Corvid pre-roost at Kelk. It was about 50/50 Jackdaws and Rook from what I could tell. The roost could still climb to 3k by winter though I would expect most of the increase to be Rooks.

The drain at Gembling has breached and created this flood, plus a similar size patch behind me in a winter corn field. Could be interesting for birds over winter and into spring!

All three of the common gulls; Herring, Black-headed and Common Gull. There was an exceptional number of Herring Gulls in the area over the weekend - a record count of 600 - outnumbering the other species.

A heron flying over.

Ropey photo but I'm just pleased to see a Kingfisher sat still for a change. Incredibly this is the first one I've seen along the beck all year.

Two new for the year...

104 Treecreeper
105 Great White Egret

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

If a tree falls in Kelk woods

A surprisingly quiet weekend, but lovely weather for walking. This time last year I was raving about a Raven but no such luck in 2019. The ground is dry and habitat for migrant waders is almost non-existent this autumn. It feels like forever since the last decent wader passage. Bah!

Highlights included a Peregrine, the first Golden Plover of the year, a whopping flock of 230 Goldfinch, and a lone Corn Bunting.

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd September

Mute Swan - 11 incl. family of 6
Wigeon - 6
Gadwall - 15
Shoveler - 2
Teal - 1
Mallard - 50+
Tufted Duck - 2
Red-legged Partridge - 2
Grey Partridge - 14
Little Grebe - 4
Cormorant - 30+ at Wansford
Little Egret - 3 at Wansford
Grey Heron - 13
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 18
Kestrel - 12
Peregrine - 1
Golden Plover - flocks of 210 + 28
Lapwing - ZERO
Green Sandpiper - 5 possibly 6
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Herring Gull - 120+
Great Black-backed Gull - 1
Little Owl - 1
House Martin - 10+
Swallow - 10+
Meadow Pipit - 30+
Mistle Thrush - 6
Chiffchaff - 5 incl. one in song
Goldfinch - flock of 230 at Kelk Beck
Linnet - 95 in two flocks
Bullfinch - 4
Corn Bunting - 1 at Foston


Hedgehog - roadkill at Lowthorpe
Roe Deer - 1

Painted Lady - 1
Red Admiral - 11
Small Tortoiseshell - 1
Speckled Wood - 3
White sp. - 40+

Migrant Hawker - 16
Common Darter - 45+

Birds weren't in a posing mood this visit but here's some photos anyway.

Common Darter male. Lots of these seen over the weekend.

And female.

Family of Swans. I haven't seen these before and didn't see a nest anywhere in spring. Hard to say if they bred somewhere hidden nearby or if they have swam up the beck from somewhere.

The huge Beeches bordering Lingholmes Plantation were felled earlier in the month. The wood sometimes holds a large corvid roost (they come and go). Hopefully it's still suitable.

And from the Lowthorpe end. There's a small stream bordering the trees which might be more attractive to water birds now it's opened up. We shall see...

Three additions to the yearlist.

101 Little Owl
102 Golden Plover
103 Great Black-backed Gull

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Surprising Hobby

Review for August visit. The highlight was obviously the fabulous first SPOONBILL the area.

Not much more than a decade ago my list of 'herons' in the area was firmly stuck on 1 - Grey Heron. Fast forward and it has expanded to include Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Bittern, Glossy Ibis and Spoonbill. Not bad for an expanse of farmland with a few ditches!

The other highlights over the weekend were a family of Hobbies (2 adults, 2 juveniles together), a Red Kite drifting north, and a Spotted Flycatcher. The wind made observations difficult and I've no doubt I missed quite a bit.

Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th August

Mute Swan - 2
Greylags - 90+
Canadas - 3
Gadwall - 2
Mallard - 100+
Tufted Duck - 11 incl. 6 ducklings
Little Grebe - 9
Cormorant - 2
Grey Heron - 22 at Wansford
Spoonbill - 1 adult
Sparrowhawk - 1
Red Kite - 1 north late morning Sunday
Buzzard - 14
Kestrel - 11
Hobby - pair with 2 young Kelk
... +2 other sightings of adults, Harpham + Foston
Lapwing - 1
Green Sandpiper - 2
Common Gull - 50+ incl first juv. of year
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 20
Herring Gull - 300
Swift - 50
Sand Martin - 50+
Yellow Wagtail - 1
Mistle Thrush - 1
'warblers' - planty of young
Spotted Flycatcher - 1 at Lowthorpe
Coal Tit - 2
Golfinch - flock of 60+
Bullfinch - 1

The wind wasn't particularly favourable for butterflies but I did manage to note a Holly Blue, a Wall, 15 Painted Lady, 3 Red Admiral, 7 Speckled Wood, and a couple of dozen 'whites'. At least on Common Darter was seen along with 4 Migrant Hawker dragonflies.

Green Sandpiper making the most of a local muck heap. I saw it catch a couple of maggots.

One of the adult Hobbies. They can be very unobtrusive. This pair was unknown to me before the weekend. In fact I'd only seen one bird all year, in June. Previous years have often unfolded like this, nothing much happening all summer and a flurry of sightings before they leave in September.

Holly Blue. One of the species that always has its wings closed when perched.

Kestrel. Seem to be doing well in the last couple of seasons. This is not a bad shot for me.

In 30 years of birding around the area I have never seen a gull perched on any of the church towers. No one gave the script to this Lesser Black-backed Gull. Most odd.

Two additions to the year list bring it to a nice round ton.

099 Spoonbill
100 Spotted Flycatcher

Monday, 12 August 2019

Spoon fed


This super-fine adult was present on Saturday 10th.

In Yorkshire the vast majority of sightings are either passing along the coast, feeding along the Humber (especially at Blacktoft Sands RSPB) or in the Aire Valley (especially Fairbun Ings).

In recent decades the numbers visiting the county have increased. During the 90s a handful of sightings would be typical but in the last decade or so 10-40 sightings per year has been the norm (birds wander a lot so the actual number of birds will be less). Two or three birds arriving together is not entirely unusual now.

The game changer in Yorkshire is that breeding has taken place at Fairbun Ings since 2017 and the number of birds on the Humber has gone crazy this summer with a total count of 24 at Blacktoft Sands just a week ago!

In the last month there have been sightings at Filey and Spurn. Closer still, two juveniles spent some time at Tophill Low earlier this summer.

Unsurprisingly this is the first Spoonbill I've recorded in the area. There were two firsts last year, Raven (photos) and Glossy Ibis (photos).

More details and weekend eview to follow...

Friday, 2 August 2019

July noted

... and now to the birds.

Two main highlights. 1) Marsh Harrier finally added to the year list, and 2) Jays have probably bred for the first time since the early 1990s. Having said that, one probably summered at the same site in 2016 and 1-2 have been regular between September and March in most recent winters.

Saturday 27th - Tuesday 30th July

Mute Swan - 2
Greylag Goose - 31
Canada Goose - 4
Tufted Duck - 5
Red-legged Partridge - 3
Grey Partridge - 5
Little Grebe - 12
Cormorant - 1
Grey Heron - 17
Marsh Harrier - 1 'creamcrown'
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 23 incl some juvs
Kestrel - 11
Lapwing - 2
Green Sandpiper - 1
Black-headed Gull - 80+ incl some juvs
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 7
Herring Gull - 37
Swift - 150+ over beck on 30th
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
House Martin - 150+ at Lowthorpe on 27th
Meadow Pipit - 1
Yellow Wagtail - pair with 3 young, Kelk
Goldcrest - young seen at 2 sites
Coal Tit - 7 at Lowthorpe incl 3+ juvs
Jay - 3 together, probably have bred locally
House Sparrow - 120+ in Little Kelk
Goldfinch - 45 flock Kelk Beck
Bullfinch - 1

One of several juvenile Buzzards noted. It's the 15th summer since the first pair settled in the area (2005). There's a minimum of 10 pairs this year, which I guess means 30-40 birds present at any one time.

House Sparrow pair at Harpham. The colonies at Harpham and Kelk are still healthy. They are very hard to count most of the time but during harvest they will gather together to feed on spilled corn. A whopping 120+ were doing just that in Kelk.

With only one addition to the year list, we're behind normal schedule and still to reach 100.

098 - Marsh Harrier

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Flutter By

A most typical July visit just gone, even allowing for the cranky weather... but we're all used to it, right? While I gather notes together here's some summer butterfly action.

Comma. The only one I've seen so far this year, though they're never easy to find.

Painted Lady. Lots of these beauties still to be seen across the area.

Peacock. I hadn't seen any up to this month but there were 20+ widespread.

Small Copper. Another first for the year. Another species that is not at all common in the area. This one was at Harpham.

Small Skipper. They look more like moths than butterflies. Underrated!

Birds to follow...

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Quest for Quail Failed

With the recent report of a Quail in Kelk there seemed no better idea than to trawl round the lanes at dusk listening out for them. Alas, over 3 hours doing exactly that on Friday & Saturday evenings drew a complete blank. Oh well. You've gotta be in the game to win etc. etc.

Highlights otherwise were a Little Ringed Plover and Hobby.

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd June

Mute Swan - 1
Canada Goose - pair with 5 young
Tufted Duck - 1
Grey Partridge - 3
Cormorant - 3 flying E
Little Egret - 1 still at Wansford
Grey Heron - 18
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 20
Kestrel - 10
Hobby - 1
Oystercatcher - 2 (failed breeders have usually left by now - so?)
Little Ringed Plover - 1
Lapwing - 10
Curlew - 2 flying N
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 5
Herring Gull - 30+
Barn Owl - 1
Tawny Owl - 2
Swift - 60+
Kingfisher - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
Swallow/Martins - seemingly few about
Meadow Pipit - 2
Yellow Wagtail - 5
Mistle Thrush - 3
Sedge Warbler - 12
Reed Warbler -1

Garden Warbler - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Willow Warbler - 3
Tree Sparrow - 13
Bullfinch - 2
Reed Bunting - 7


Bat sp - several at 4 'sites' on evening Quail searches
Roe Deer - 1

Painted Lady - 19
Red Admiral - 6
Small Tortoiseshell - 12
Speckled Wood - 10
'White' - 1

Common Blue Damselfy - 5

Little Ringed Plover adult scurrying around a much heap at Kelk. A pretty random/small location, strongly suggesting a return (autumn!) passage migrant.

A very fine view of a very fine Mistle Thrush. Understated yet sublty extravagant at the same time, if such a state is possible.

It seems to be a Painted Lady year - the commonest butterfly over the weekend. I've seen only a few in recent years.

Speckled Wood. Another common butterfly locally.

Trout in Kelk Beck. Heavily processed photo to get enough contrast!

Two additions to the year list, then. No sign of Marsh Harrier yet!

096 Hobby
097 Little Ringed Plover

Wednesday, 19 June 2019


A couple of recent sightings to report. My monthly visit is planned for this weekend.

5th June - Quail calling in corn field at Kelk

19th June - Red Kite drifted over Kelk. First record in June / summer.

Both new for the year...

094 - Quail
095 - Red Kite

Thursday, 23 May 2019

May Corn

Report for last weekend. Apart from the bumper return of warblers - see separate post 'Warblings' - it was not a particularly eventful weekend. The highlight was a singing Corn Bunting, they are now almost extinct as a breeding bird in the area, and the national picture is pretty grim too (BTO / RSPB).

Saturday 18th / Sunday 19th May

Mute Swan - 2
Greylags - 25
Canadas - 6 adults and 21 (16+5) young
Gadwall - 13
Mallard - 2 young noted
Tufted Duck - 10
Red-legged Partridge - 5
Grey Partridge - 2
Little Grebe - 2
Cormorant - 5
Little Egret - 1
Heron - 5
Sparrowhawk - 2
Buzzard - 12
Kestrel - 5
Coot - 4
Oystercatcher - 3
Lapwing - 24
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Herring Gull - 32
Swift - 30+ mostly at Harpham
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
Sand Martin - 70+
Swallow - 50+
House Martin - 30+
Yellow Wagtail - 6
Grey Wagtail - 2 at Wansford
Sedge Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 'plenty'
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 'new'
Whitethroat - 46
Chiffchaff - 'plenty'
Willow Warbler - 11
Bullfinch - 2
Reed Bunting - 6 males Kelk Beck
Corn Bunring - 1 male nr Kelk

Still only a handful off butterflies about, the most notable was a Wall.

1. Canada Goose pair with 16 goslings. I gather a normal brood would be 4-7 eggs so this seems likely to be a 'creche' from 3-4 different pairs. Given the historically low breeding density in the area it's no surprise this is the first time I've encountered this behaviour here. It seems reasonable to assume this is a legacy of the unprecedented flock last autumn that peaked at 166 in October.

Corn Bunting singing.

Hare. Quite a few out in the open at the weekeend.

Reed Bunting male. Delightful birds although not the most inspiring song, to be fair.

Wall butterfly. The last couple of years haven't been great for butterflies, hopefully this summer will be a bit more favourable.

Just two addition for the year - the bunting and Swift.

092 - Swift
093 - Corn Bunting

Tuesday, 21 May 2019


A fuller review of last weekend to follow but first I thought I'd just write a summary of how warblers have fared this spring. In short: it's been a bumper season.

Every spring I try to make an effort to count singing warblers as they arrive from Africa (come on, just how amazing is that). Although most warbler species are loud and distinctive singers there's a number of problems for me surveying them - weather and timing being the chief ones. With only a few survey days to play with if I visit too early in April or too late in May I would certainly miss some birds.

Numbers, therefore, vary from one year to the next and some of that is my surveying rather than population change. Having said that I've got a sense over the years of general trends. Timing and weather were good this year so what follows are likely higher than in a normal survey.

Note that I'm not claiming to count every singing male in the area - much habitat is out of reach. This is especially true of some prime warbler habitat - hedgerows/scrub, woods and wet areas. But, what I have is a fairly consistent effort to survey the same areas every year for 13 years!

Sedge Warbler - 20 males
This is the highest total in all the survey years. TA normal return would be 10-15, and the trend is fairly stable though they are confusingly up and down. Kelk Beck is the stronghold and accounts for 15 this year. Five elsewhere is a good score. Perhaps it really is a good year for them.

Reed Warbler - 2 males
There are three small reedbed sites where this species is regularly recorded, each typically hosting one or two males. This year two sites had one each and the third had none. Reed Warblers can arrive very late so it's possible this situation will be different in June.

Blackcap - 34 males
Another highest total in the survey years. As long as there's lots of cover Blackcaps are ok - gardens, big hedges, woodland. A typical year recently would see around 20 counted. There's been a few years where I haven't been very thorough in counting Blackcaps (as low as 12) but even so this appears genuinely to be a bumper year and the long-term trend has been upward.

Garden Warbler - 2 males
You never know where this species is going to appear - there are no guaranteed sites. I've never had more than three in a year so in that respect this year is typical. Woodland edge and tall scrub are the favoured habitats. Both this year's birds were in places I've never heard them before. The song can be tricky to differentiate from Blackcap and it's likely I've counted a few Gardens as Blackcaps over the years (must try harder).

Lesser Whitethroat - 11 males
Something of a mystery, this species. Their numbers appear to vary wildly from year to year and yet even the individual bushes they sing from are used again and again. A typical year would be 5-10 males, 14 in 2014 is the highest. Large bushes in hedgerows or scrub are by far the preferred habitat.

(Common) Whitethroat - 48 males
By some significant margin the largest count over the survey years. They were everywhere - and provided the main motivation for writing this piece. In 2018 a total of 28 was the largest count. A return of 20-25 would be normal. Long-term (discounting this spring) the trend is slighly upward. Whitethroats almost exclusively use hedgerows and perhaps farm stewardship practices have benefitted this species over recent years.

Chiffchaff - 32 males
Another highest total, eclipsing the 26 in 2017. April is the peak time for counting Chiffchaff. By mid-May they quieten down and there's no new arrivals to count. They are the most woodland of all our warblers local habitat though they will use more open scrub habitat like Blackcaps. There's no doubt this species has increased over the years.

Willow Warbler - 15 males
Recent years have seen 10-14 males counted so this is at the top end of normal. Last year's count of only 8 males was hopefully an anomaly - there was no particular lack of effort surveying. Woodland, scrub and large hedgerows are the favoured habitat but even in the best looking places they are thinly distributed. In the 1990s they outnumbered Chifchaffs but that's unthinkable now.

A couple of absences...

Cetti's Warbler - a male heard singing at the same site in both 2017 and 2018 raised hopes of expansion, in line with the situation across the region. So far this year, nothing doing. There's still time though!

Grasshopper Warbler - only recorded in two years recently, both at different sites near Kelk Beck. Clearly this is not a species one can expect every year so there's nothing much to read into it's absence.

A couple of photos...

Whitetroats were particularly active during this visit with several seen making song flights and singing from very prominent perches - something they don't readily do for much of the season.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

April Showers

A bit of a game of two halves at the weekend. Saturday was almost constant rain. Not ideal, but what are you going to do eh? Sunday was better, dry at least. The highlight was really just catching up with all the summer migrants - in March's visit it was still too early even for Chiffchaff.

Despite the rubbish weather the timing must have been ideal to catch males at their singing peak - a very high number of Blackcap and Chiffchaffs were counted. However, a Sedge Warbler total of five is very low and hopefully more about the weather/arrival time.

Other than that a Curlew was a decent year tick!

Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th April

Mute Swan - 29 at Wansford, plus 3 others
Greylag Goose - 16
Canada Goose - 1
Gadwall - 6
Tufted Duck - 13
Red-legged Partridge - 6
Grey Partridge - 2
Little Grebe - 3
Cormorant - 8
Little Egret - 3
Heron - 4
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 11
Kestrel - 6
Oystercatcher - 2 pairs
Lapwing - 18
Snipe - 1
Curlew - 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 2
Cuckoo - 1 calling briefly AM Saturday
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
Sand Martin - 55+
House Martin - 15+
Swallow - 60+
Yellow Wagtail - 4
Mistle Thrush - 7
Sedge Warbler - 5
Reed Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 34
Garden Warbler - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 9
Whitethroat - 17
Chiffchaff - 32
Willow Warbler - 8
Jay - 1
Linnet - 75 (flocks of 35+20+20)
Bullfinch - 1

Butterflies were at a premium with the weather conditions - just one each of Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and a 'white'.

A dead newt (photo below) was a surprise, picked up on the roadside. Presumably it had wandered from a nearby garden pond.

Baby Blackbird at Harpham.

Bunny munching spring crop.

Buzzard looking for food.

Three Little Egrets are hanging on from winter. In the last few years as they've become regular they tend to have left by late March so this is unusual. That said, one summered last year so it's possible these lot will try it.

Common Newt found dead on the roadside.

A leap of 14 in the yearlist.

078 Cuckoo
079 Blackcap
080 Chiffchaff
081 Whitethroat
082 Lesser Whitethroat
083 Willow Warbler
084 Swallow
085 House Martin
086 Sand Martin
087 Garden Warbler
088 Sedge Warbler
089 Yellow Wagtail
090 Reed Warbler
091 Curlew

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Blown Away

That was hard work at the weekend. So. Much. Wind. Aaargh.

A pretty light set of sightings due to the challenging conditions, but as ever, some gems. The Whooper Swans from February are still present. Six this time, despite being convinced there were five last month. I either missed one (possible, they were distant and with Mutes) or one has joined them. Other sightings included a drake Shoveler and a Jack Snipe - both useful year ticks!

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th March

Mute Swan - 48 (43 together near Wansford)
Whooper Swan - 6 in the same spot as Feb
Greylag Goose - 44
Canada Goose - 24
Wigeon - 110
Gadwall - 4
Shoveler - 1 at Wansford
Teal - 30+
Tufted Duck - 17
Little Grebe - 2
Cormorant - 66 (new record - see previous comment)
Little Egret - min 5 but probably 7
Grey Heron - 8
Sparrowhawk - 1
Buzzard - 25
Kestrel - 4
Oystercatcher - 2
Lapwing - 56
Jack Snipe - 1 at Kelk Beck
Snipe - 11
Green Sandpiper - 3
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 2 adults flying NE
Herring Gull - 170+
Woodpigeon - flock of 1000+ at Lowthorpe
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
Fieldfare - 6
Goldfinch - flock of 26
Bullfinch - 1
Yellowhammer - flocks of 28+30

Also Frog spawn noted at Lowthorpe.

I'm not going to apologise for more egret shots. I love 'em!

Little Egret again.

Tame Red-leg just emerging from a garden in Lowthorpe.

Drake Shoveler at Wansford. Hard bird to find locally.

Out of focus Whooper Swans (it was dusk!)

Additions to the year list - a modest three.

075 Lesser Black-backed Gull
076 Jack Snipe
077 Shoveler