Saturday, 31 March 2012


Got down the cliff for 7. No land migrants seen whilst exercising Buddy. Set my stall out in my "hideout" and started to scan...Quiet! The predicted North wind was definitely more Easterly but at least there was some.

Gave it an hour and a half and things started slow. Then after about half an hour 4 Gannets wheeled north, shortly followed by 8 more, then another 4...Bempton? Quiet again, then a pair of  Common Scoters (65) blasted south. Then came the highlight...a Sandwich Tern flew north (66). No big deal?

It was to me, my first at Holmpton...and my Ton up 2012 for my new patch...

This, isn't the bird!

Now then...April 1st tomorrow.

A little anecdote. 1/4/2005 I was on holiday in Texas, High Island to be precise. The days brilliant birding included BELTED KINGFISHER. I had my mobile on me as I'd just sent a text to my mother. I received a text...MEGA...

You guessed it...BELTED KINGFISHER, Tixall!!! Now the location and the date did suggest an April fool but as we now know it was genuine. Needless to say when I returned and tried for it on Saturday had unfortunately departed. You can't win 'em all and I wouldn't swap it for my holiday...but it's close...

This IS the bird!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Slowly but surely

Great weather continues and so does the sloooow Birding.
Started very well however, with my first Holmpton visible migration event in the form of a Sand Martin (61) flying north.
Phil then kindly drove me down to Spurn were we tried for a Black Redstart and "Northern" Bullfinch but no joy... we did however see our first Goldcrest of the year and had a chat with Ian Smith.
Did a few bits around the Cottage in the afternoon and then took Bud down the cliff. Added Grey Partridge (62), 3 Oystercatchers (63) and Kittiwake (64).
Decent North wind forecast in the morning, so down the cliff for a seawatch...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Easter...bring it on!

The glorious weather is indeed incredible. Do you ever comment on it with words to that effect only to be told "yes, but it won't last"! or "That'll be it for the year" etc.

...but it's lovely today!!!

As for Birding. High pressure not the best. Still, patience is a virtue and there's plenty to come. Still no Chiffy in the village?
Had to go into Withernsea this morning. Stopped off at the sewage works for Bud and bumped into Phil with a mate. Had a brief chat and he informed me they'd earlier seen 2 Black Redstarts at Out Newton.
Worth a look me thinks. No sign however. Seeing as I was in the vicinity I had a look for the Little Owl ad sure enough after a brief scan I picked it up on the derelict building in the field opposite Model Farm. I gave Phil a call and he arrived a short while later. Within 5 minutes he'd finally connected.

We did a seawatch from the cliff at Holmpton in the afternoon but it was predictably quiet (as the grave) although 3 Great Crested Grebes were notable.
Louise finishes at lunch tomorrow, then 2 weeks on the coast...tremendous

Got to make the most of it. Op on the 16th...

Monday, 26 March 2012

Local Reccy

Out with Phil Jones from Withernsea today as Louise is commuting this week. He kindly agreed to drive me around some local sites. We started at Hilston where he showed me a promising area with a pond and surrounding marsh. As we got out of the car I spotted a 2w Glaucous Gull flying along the clifftop, probably the same bird I saw at Tunstall previously. He also told me a possible Cattle Egret had been reported there last year!
We then moved on to the cliff top were we did a seawatch for a while. We saw a few of the usual suspects but the highlights came in the form of 3 Great Crested Grebes and then 10 Whooper Swans that appeared from nowhere and landed on the sea...

Yellow bills not apparent!
We checked out a few more sights in the car then had lunch in Withernsea. Then we went to Out Newton to look for the Little Owl but no joy. On then to Spurn were we visited the Canal Scrape hide hoping for the Bittern. After about 30 minutes it showed. My 210 for Spurn...

Photo courtesy of Phil Jones
Phil then drove me back to Holmpton as I needed to take Bud out. I drove him down to the cliff and had a scan. I was really chuffed with my Avocet sighting, not so chuffed when I saw another one on the sea! Only kidding. It was weird to see it on the sea...

Also added a Teal (58) and Great Crested Grebe (59) to my Holmpton list.

A Good Day...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Light Southerly

A few HOOPOES further South, maybe one will make "up here"

Quite a few Chiffchaffs at Spurn yesterday, none at Holmpton yet?

SCOPS OWL on Scilly...not what it used to be!! Reminds me of a crazy night at Thrupp in '06. Charging around trying to get a glimpse of a tiny bird in tall trees. At times it resembled an air raid!

Staying over here tomorrow. Hopefully going out with Phil Jones from Withernsea, if the fog clears. Louise finishes for Easter on Friday and we'll be spending the fortnight at Holmpton.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Rather Hectic...still!

Lots going on at the moment...but you'll be relieved to hear I won't bore you with it!

Haydn came over from York to see the "new patch". He kindly drove me around the sites and with the aid of painkillers and tactical movement I managed to stay reasonably mobile.

We started at Out Newton for Little Owl. We got out of the van and within seconds Haydn spotted it...very impressive! We'd just set off again when good stuff started appearing on the pager, including a BITTERN on canal scrape. We arrived to a packed hide including Steve Exley and Andy Roadhouse. The reedbed was unfortunately more developed than I last remembered and despite an hours vigil we left disappointed. We then drove down to the sign of any Black Redstarts. Chalk Bank was equally quiet with no sign of yesterdays Ring Ouzel.

We had another go for the BITTERN then retired to the cafe for pasty and beans. Back to Holmpton next to show Haydn around the village...he was impressed! It was then time for him to leave.

I had a break and watched the footy before taking Bud down to the sea for a while. While having a scan I noticed a whitish bird with an unusual jizz flying south over the sea...AVOCET!!! (56). Another village tick fell in the form of a distant Heron (57), seen whilst scanning for a reported Marsh Harrier.

So, after a generally slow day things finished well...

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A couple more...

Managed a Snipe (55) as we left Holmpton early on Tuesday morning

DELIGHTED with a brief but excellent view of a female MERLIN (38) on a fencepost at Duff on Wednesday afternoon

Monday, 19 March 2012

2 and Fro

Op next month (provisionally). Doc told me to get as much exercise as possible...substituting my crutches for a stick! I'll give it my best shot...but pretty sore now. Still, not long to wait...

Having work done on the Cottage has meant a lot of miles lately (for Louise). Things starting to take shape, slowly but surely. Also, went over to Mothers at weekend...still going strong at 80...and still a great cook (We did take her out!)

Migrant surge increasing...hopefully bringing us a BIG 1 soon? Yorks of course!

Dawlish Warren 20/3/90

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Follow those Migrants!

You might want to check out this site to follow the spread of our Migrants. Just enter a species...

Monday, 12 March 2012

A good day...bird, NOT weather wise!

A few things to sort out at Holmpton so I stayed over today to sort them out. Things looked better by 11ish so I decided to have a look around locally.

Things started very well, even allowing for the thick mist which never cleared all day and kept the temperature down to 10c. I set off for Spurn and as I passed the derelict outbuildings at Model Farm, Out Newton, I noticed a lump on a telegraph pole...

Next it was Long Bank. Buddy's settling down now, (that's to convince myself more than anyone else) so the short hop to Beacon Ponds is now, less challenging but slower!

As I (eventually) reached the Flood Bank wall I had a quick scan with the bins...BINGO!

2 AVOCETS....a Spurn Area LIFER and a great addition to the fledgling PATCH list to boot. As I was setting my 'scope up to have a sit on the wall for a while I noticed a Short-eared owl flying low along the beach. It made it's way around to Long Bank and I managed this shot...

When I scanned the ponds again the Avocets had gone!
No sign of the 4 Scaup that had been present for quite a while. On the way back to the car I had another (paler) SEO.

Had lunch down at Sammy's Point. Interesting location for Collared Doves...

No sign of the hoped for Wheatears, Ring Ouzels etc

Finished off at the Sewage Works between Holmpton and Withernsea where I met Phil yesterday. We couldn't find any Snow Bunts and it didn't look promising as I scanned the area with my scope.
I'd just about given up...

Over to Duff early tomorrow to collect my letter for my appointment date!? Going to give it a "Big Sit" in the hide, hoping as always for a few good birds and maybe a migrant...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

What a day!

18c was the temperature at 2pm today here in Holmpton. Not bad for March 11th! We journeyed to Tunstall again as Louise wanted to see the drilling platform up close (and I wanted to see the Glaucous Gull again). Both objectives were achieved as "the gull" was stood on the beach by the platform!

Same bird as yesterday...probably. Better views...2nd winter. Hornsea bird? Who knows.

Took Buddy a short hop late afternoon and bumped into another Birder! Got chatting and he told me he'd moved to Withernsea last year. e had a quick look for the Snow Buntings but no sign. He also gave me a quick lesson on Stargazing...very interesting. Great views of planets at the moment apparently. Hope to see you around Phil...

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Brighter times ahead

More daylight now, combined with increased anticipation of migrants...nice! Added Linnet to the Holmpton list this morning (52).

First Spring MEGA today in the form of a SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER in Kent (where else!)

Birding equipment now includes crutches and painkillers! I've been promised an appointment date (for a consultation) next week.

Louise drove me out to Tunstall as we wanted to view a new "attraction" that had appeared just offshore...

Apparently it's a drilling platform!

Whilst viewing the above a BIG Bonus came in the form of this smart Glaucous Gull...

3rd winter, I reckon
I've decided to add Tunstall to my Patch list! Nothing to do with the above of course!! So "The Patch" is extended slightly from Spurn Point to Tunstall...and that's it. Scored further on the way home with a Short-eared Owl quartering Hollym airfield...nice.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Another sign of spring!

Jonnybirder brings news of Sand Martins at Pugneys C.P...earliest ever! Great news on a foul day.

With the breaking news that AVB has been relieved of his post at Chelski and Wolves are currently being slaughtered at Fulham (4-0 after 65 minutes) after Mick McCarthy was also deemed surplus to requirements, it made me think of the old Brian Clough classic regarding what the average Chairman knows about Football...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Hooded Merganser...negative news!

That ends the debate...till next time!

Thursday, 1 March 2012


With the discovery of a HOODED MERGANSER in Kent it opens up (yet again) the debate regarding origin! 5 accepted records since 2000, all of which "could" have been escapes. Still, they were accepted by "the panel" so fair doos. The provenance of the current bird can never be known for sure but I suggest it's credentials are just as sound (or dodgy) as some of the other accepted records. I have to say though, it's not a species that gets the adrenaline flowing!!!

So, if you "need" it (as I do) then go and see it...then keep your fingers crossed!! I will have to wait till my Chauffer is available, as driving and indeed walking is now proving very difficult. Hopefully I'll get my Op' date soon?

Added Woodcock to the Holmpton list with a flushed bird in the lane (thanks Buddy) at dusk. Tawny Owls calling nightly and the first bats of the year were seen this evening.