Tuesday, 16 October 2018


Bonus pic in the car park as I was leaving

October has exploded. After a first for Britain we now have a second...for Britain! Fortunately I've managed to see both! Not without some effort I hasten to add. This one is especially sweet as I remember only to well my many previous "work day dips".

Full report when I've recovered...

Sunday, 14 October 2018

A SWIFT...with a WHITE RUMP!!!

16.01 - East Yorks PACIFIC SWIFT at Hornsea Mere. One showing well off the first field

That's handy. Time to leave I think. I made good time, even considering the With'/Hornsea road!

On arrival I could see a small huddle of Birders including Tim Isherwood...looking in various directions...never a good sign! Sure enough the bird had disappeared, not 2 minutes ago!! Rather disappointing. It was still raining heavily so I was (fairly) confident it was still around. Birders were obviously arriving all the time and there was some doubt over the species involved. I just wanted to SEE IT...whatever it was.

A short while later someone picked it up way to the West over some distant trees. I could see "the Swift" but no white rump was apparent, at least to me. A couple of locals suggested we moved down the Mere to try and obtain better views. The bird appeared then disappeared on multiple occasions. Eventually it was picked up by the Mere, over a field we had gained access to, enabling us all to get great close views of the bird. I even broke into a jog at one point...don't laugh! My little camera didn't perform that well in the dull light but no matter, the important thing was...I'd SEEN it!!! Many photographs were taken and it eventually became apparent that we were looking at...Britain's first...

A double Whammy for yours truly being, obviously, a First for Yorkshire to boot! The strong Southerlies had paid off. Most of Yorkshire's finest were present including Tony Dixon, Rich Willison, Trevor Charlton, Steve Lawton, Paul Herrieven and even Geoff Dobbs who was fortunately over from the Gambia! Oh and there were just a few from Spurn as well!

Smiles all round then and quite a shock, so late on a rainy day. As I've said many times before...

One bird changes everything...

Saturday, 13 October 2018


...for October.

Yet it IS October. Oh for a bone fide MEGA. Not some dodgy split!!

Yep...I'd still tick it...if it was reasonably accessible BUT would it be a...RUSH...er...NO!

A distinct lack of Easterlies has limited activity locally yet things haven't kicked in significantly despite bucket loads of Westerlies?

There's still time. 

I had a couple of hours walking the triangle this afternoon. I had a reasonable attempt at the Olive-backed Pipit in a very strong wind. Needless to say I didn't see it. I did pick out a Ring Ouzel distantly in flight heading towards Canal Scrape. As I completed my circuit I noticed a bit of excitement at the OBP gathering. Fieldcraft was sadly lacking in some instances!  Apparently it was seen briefly. I didn't rejoin the admirers...

Thursday, 11 October 2018

"My" Yellow-browed!

Yesterday I had a slow saunter around the Village in glorious Autumn weather.

Seaside Lane
I checked many of the usual spots with historical records of YBW's. Finally...one paid off with another brief but clear view of the little sprite at the rear of the Church while photographing Redwings (H.116)...
Out of the picture today but things picked up migration wise with some East in the wind. Hopefully something to see in the morning..

Monday, 8 October 2018

Holmpton twitch

After a lovely family day in Bury yesterday...

My grandchildren Daniel and Rebecca with Mum (Rachel)
...it was time to get out in the field again.

Phil had stayed overnight at Spurn and came over for a coffee around 10.30. After a chat we made our way down to the cliff. Richard was there, walking towards us along the path. He'd had a few bits including a group of Red-breasted Mergansers. After a few words he continued along the cliff top. Soon after he was beckoning us towards the bushes. He'd found a YBW (H.116)! We all enjoyed clear yet typically brief views.

The rest of the day was pretty tame...

Some intrepid troops made the journey out to Lundy today to try for the GREEN WARBLER. A fine effort indeed that unfortunately proved fruitless. There'll be another...as the saying goes...

Friday, 5 October 2018


Taking stock today...unless of course?

Yesterday was an excellent one.

A male and female Blackcap (plus the first Tree Sparrow for quite a while) around the birdbath provided excellent entertainment over breakfast.

I started with a 4 mile walk with Bud along the beach from Holmpton to With'. My only reward was a single Wheatear, first on the cliff top...

Then on the plough...

I check the loafing gulls fairly regularly and today I squeezed a Med' Gull out of a distant flock...

Around 2.30 I received a message from Rich Willison showing a great pic of a Hobby. I assumed it was the North Cave bird and replied I might make a trip over tomorrow, although I'd read it was a bit of a "bun fight"! However, it turned out this one was at Albrough (just up the road). I arrived around 3.30 following Richard's directions. I tried the track to the fishing ponds and parked in the decent sized car park. I gave him a ring and he told me he was in the adjacent caravan park. He'd mentioned the bird had a favourite post along the track and as I was driving back up it I could see the bird perched on top!

As you can see it was pretty dull conditions but at least it was there...and close! I rolled the car slowly up the track enabling me to get some better images...

Not the best of settings BUT crippling views. Feeling rather smug I made my way into the Caravan site to join Richard. Thinking it couldn't get any better...it did! When I eventually found him he was pointing towards the finely cut turf by the caravans? There, feeding without a care in the world...was the Hobby!!

What a treat!

The bird was oblivious to our presence happily feeding on Crane flies (aka daddy longlegs)...

No words needed...

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Purple Sandpiper

The morning seawatch produced close views of 2 Great Skuas (P.162, H.115) together inside the yellow buoy of the sewage, which was more than pleasing. Just before lunch news broke of a Purple Sandpiper (P.163, S.121) on Easington Lagoons. After missing a/the bird around the Crown and Anchor on a couple of occasions I was determined to try to connect on this occasion. The walk down through the "Good morning Vietnam" grass was a tester but eventually worthwhile, as it turned out to be third time lucky...

A scarce bird at Spurn
Thought I'd post a few from the past week while the computer was poorly...

Stonechat at Old Hive 22nd Sept

Pink-footed Geese low N at Holmpton

Gannets giving great views...for Holmpton!

Turnstone off Crown and Anchor, Kilnsea
Snipe at Canal Scrape hide

Whimbrel again off C&A

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Up and running...with a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER!

Having to use a mobile keyboard at the moment while I wait for my replacement...from China! It seems I may have spilt something on it...surely not! At least I can now post some pearls of wisdom!?

Ridiculously quiet at the moment. Hardly surprising with all the Westerlies pushing the migrating Eurasian birds way to the east. It doesn't look great for the East Coast for the foreseeable future. On the other hand...maybe something tasty from the Nearctic...

Update: I received a tweet from Frank Moffat mid-afternoon showing a photograph of a group of Birders looking at a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER at Easington Lagoons...apparently! No news on the info' channels? I left the tense situation that was the Ryder Cup and headed down the road. Confirmation soon followed. Around 20 minutes later I was looking at Spurn's first BAIRD'S SANDPIPER and a Spurn tick (305) to boot.

Still managed to get back for the closing holes...and victory for Europe!

Friday, 28 September 2018


Those "in the know" will already be aware of the acceptance of this bird that toured Cornwall from May until November 2016.

News broke this morning that the bird was now deemed "tickable". I follow the rules, like a good lad, BUT don't always agree with them. I might have mentioned that before!! Not convinced on this one. Fun to see though!

So, there you go. My 512th species on my British list. Strictly BOU. An armchair tick being the perfect remedy for arguably the worst September on record. Let's hope October is MUCH better...

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Some you win, some you lose

Still can't connect with the Purple Sandpiper by the Crown and Anchor despite two attempts. I did manage a couple of Turnstones (S.118) though.

On my second attempt I popped down to Canal Scrape hide to get a very poor view of a Jack Snipe (P.160, S.119).

Still VERY quiet...

Monday, 24 September 2018

Late result

Boring day today, doing things that needed doing!

Fortunately I got 'em done in time to pop down the road for the last hour. I parked up and made my way to the Warren. A few birders were looking for the Rosefinches but they'd disappeared from.

Then Bob from Hull beckoned me over as he'd just seen the Yellow-browed Warbler (P.158, S.116) briefly. After a short wait we both had a glimpse of the bird with our naked eyes on a bare branch. You could clearly see the "yellow-brow" in the evening sunshine. Lovely!!

Around fifteen minutes later I was looking at both "not-so-common" Rosefinches (P.159, S117) in admittedly deep shade. Still I'll take it.

A good decision...

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Holmpton Lifer!

Some North in the wind, so I rose pre-dawn and positioned myself on the cliff top at Out Newton...with my faithful friend...of course!

I dreamt of an Osprey or some Whooper Swans but no joy in 3 hours. I did log a couple of skeins of Pink-footed Geese, totalling 27 birds...heading North?

The highlight came around 9 when I picked up an Auk with particularly whirring wings. My first Puffin! So it was worth the effort after all.

Only slightly galling to hear news of Whooper Swans on the Humber and a Pom Skua passing North past Spurn that disappeared (like so many others) into the Holmpton "triangle ".

Laptop off to the " docs" tomorrow so hopefully back to normal soon...

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Where to go?

The troops have started to mobilize. Teams heading for Shetland and Scilly... and maybe Outer Hebrides.

Due to circumstances I am free until November. I won't be staking a claim this year though. As you know I've gambled before... and by definition... usually LOST! The YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO dip particularly stung. So near and yet so far!

Scilly would ALWAYS be my choice of destination but I/we can't do everything. I hope to visit again one day.

Good fortune for the chaps arriving on Shetland today as they were greeted with a YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING. Nice start!

My personal choice is always an American Warbler. If I had to choose one it would be PARULA. Work commitments have cost me this tick (and quite a few more) on more than one occasion. Oh and it's also a stunner.. as most of them are!!

Time will tell...

Back in the real world I managed to find a Stonechat (H.113) at Old Hive this morning...

Friday, 21 September 2018


Some of my computer keys have decided to pack up. So, a brief report tonight using the phone.

Good 3 mile walk enjoying close views of Gannets and Sandwich Terns on the beach. Managed a lone Wheatear and at least a dozen Skylarks on the cliff top.

A walk along Taylor Lane early afternoon produced a surprise and very welcome Hobby (P.155, H.111). Further along I heard then saw my first Goldcrest (P.156, H.112) of the Autumn.

I had a drive up to Out Newton for the last hour. On my way I saw a skein of Pink-footed Geese (23) flying low, directly towards me!

They carried on South.

I could here some more... but where? Another 53 in the field right by the road...

They were still there at dusk...

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Wind of change

So many theories...so few MEGAS!?

Looks promising though...

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

I'm looking... I'm looking!

Not finding much though.

Plenty of cliff top walking in unseasonally warm SW winds. Lots of sea scanning with little reward. Unusually close views of diving Gannets being the highlight.

I popped down to Spurn yesterday to try for the Wood Warbler to no avail. While I was scanning at the Warren a couple of Arctic Skuas (S.115) drifted south. That's Spurn!

The blanket coverage down the road has produced around half-a-dozen Osprey sightings in the past few days. Again, I looked hard for several hours today for no reward.

As I settled in my chair at the end of the day, I checked my messages...
Osprey south past the seawatching hide late afternoon

Must try harder...

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The Wild Geese - finally arrive for me!

Back to the sewage this morning for the dog walk. I managed to increase the Wheatear count to three. We took our time as he likes a rest these days...

Around 9.30 a remarkable event took place. I'm used to seeing hirundines migrating along the coast, although I freely admit to being a token vis-migger"! As I was approaching the car after our constitutional I suddenly noticed a "cloud" of birds. There were literally hundreds of House Martins with some Swallows in tight groups moving South. A remarkable sight! It was all over in a couple of minutes but definitely memorable.

I then sat in the car with my fingers crossed hoping to get my "fix" of Wild Geese. Pink-footed Geese (H.110) are very vocal birds in flight and can be heard at considerable distance...which obviously helps locate them especially when they are out over the sea. It was now 9.55...I could hear them...then  could SEE them!!

Out of the haze they came from the North, way out to sea (c1 mile). Constantly calling...

10.01...a second skein...at a similar distance...

10.11...a third...thankfully slightly closer...

A fabulous, evocative sight of Autumn. I have a great admiration for these resilient birds. I counted 111.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful but I was very satisfied with my sightings...

Friday, 14 September 2018

The Wild Geese

Love Wildfowl.

The sight and sound of a skein of Pinkfeet passing overhead is one of the great sights (and sounds) in Birding...for me.

I spent the morning hoping to experience this phenomenon...alas, it wasn't my lucky day. Birds were seen further North...and South! I did find a couple of Wheatears in a 2 mile walk from the Sewage...

I spent an hour down at Spurn late afternoon looking in vain for the Rosefinch. However, I did manage 3 Yellow Wagtails and another Wheatear. During my search I bumped into another Birder who pointed out a bird resting in a field...

Pink-footed Goose (P.154, S.114)
I did see one after all! Maybe a skein tomorrow?

Monday, 10 September 2018

Look closer

Phil made his way down from South Gare after connecting with the Pomarine Skua. He checked for the Cranes but no sign.

I met him at the Sewage were I'd seen the GWE 15 minutes previously before taking Bud home. Of course there was no sign of it when he arrived!?

He was going down to Spurn to try for the Common Rosefinch so I joined him to try and help him find it.

We searched the Sparrow flock in the YWT car park but couldn't find it. I had to get back so I left him to continue his search. I passed John Hewitt as I left Kilnsea.

Turns out Phil found it himself...

...and John almost certainly had the Corncrake in flight!

That's Birding...

Tidy up

Just been looking through the pics taken recently. Missed a few I intended to post. So here they are...

I sneaked this pic of a Peregrine as I was just about to enter the house at dusk last Sunday...

It flew across the field opposite and was disappearing over the trees when I grabbed my camera and fired a shot off. Again, I'm amazed how well modern cameras can perform...and very glad they do!

The GWE continues, although it can be absent for long periods...at least during my intermittent visits...

Feeding well!
A bit of confusion down at Spurn over the Migfest weekend. I received a message around 8.10 informing me a Corncrake had been seen in the triangle...a potential Spurn tick!  was parking up by 8.40 and making my way along the footpath south behind Cliff Farm. A sizable crowd had already formed with many telescopes trained on the field in question. One of the guides (yellow cap) offered me a look through his scope. I glimpsed a silhouette which soon disappeared. More Birders were arriving rapidly and t was becoming manic to be honest...so I departed.

It later transpired that a Corncrake had indeed been seen...but it wasn't the bird at the rear of the field....which was a Pheasant!!! Another example of mass hallucination...at least initially. Happens now and again. No big deal. I've done it!

Still buzzing from the views of the Wryneck and Pomarine Skua. Two decisions I got correct...