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...