Tuesday, 19 June 2018

DNA Birding!

West African and American Royal Terns have long been considered the same species,’ explained Prof. Martin Collinson from the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences. ‘They look pretty much identical to each other except the American Royal Tern is on average slightly bigger with a slightly redder bill'

Not now apparently!

Yet another "split"!?

ELEGANT would have done me but there you go. I saw the Welsh RT which was apparently an African bird. Hope your still with me!!! So, do I travel for an American RT. I've no idea lol!

Quiet

Summer doldrums have set in while we let the dicky birds get on with procreation.

There's always something to see or look for however but the anticipation factor definitely decreases.

I have to admit that my thoughts have turned to Russia at the moment... we even won our opening game!

My best sighting over the past few days was a Sand Martin over the garden!

The weather here at Holmpton is finally...BEAUTIFUL...at least for today...

Note: Laptop is poorly so posts will be limited short term.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Scaling Dam

Wednesday found me making the journey North through Yorkshire to Scaling Dam. News of two lingering Ospreys tempted me to make the awkward journey from Holmpton. I arrived around midday, parked up and started to explore the area. I'd been a few times before but hadn't really spent any significant time here. It was pleasing to learn that there was a circular path that went right round the reservoir. We set off from the eastern end in a clockwise direction. The weather on the way was poor but it was now sunny and clear. Result!

Initial birdy thoughts included many Willow Warbler families and good numbers of Lapwings flying over. There was also a pair of Curlew right by the path...


Unfortunately halfway down the reservoir we bumped into a chap who was spraying the weeds to keep the path clear. We decided to turn about. Bud had a paddle on the return leg...



We then walked down the dam wall towards the sailing club and bird hide. The views were spectacular over the water and onto the moor...


A few Tufted Ducks were present...


...as well as the usual "Geese". I then noticed a distinctive shape over the water...a Cuckoo! The bird was silent and landed on the steps by the dam wall...


The heat haze was strong but you get the idea. A nice bonus.

At the sailing club I succumbed to a rip-off Magnum...£2.50!!! They are now half the size and three times the cost? We'd walked a fair way, so the rest on the bench was welcomed and I had a great vantage point to scan the area. A couple of birders arrived and sat on the adjacent bench. I liked them  because they said Buddy was beautiful! After around 30 minutes one of them picked up an Osprey in the top of a conifer on the far bank...


That was my cue for another stretch. I made my way along the circular path and up onto the moor. As I cleared the wood behind the car park an Osprey appeared over the moor! Unfortunately and stupidly, I'd not checked my battery and by the time I'd swapped the bird had drifted off. I did manage a few decent shots however...




I saw both birds well over the next couple of hours.

Nearly got it...



I continued up onto the moor for a better vantage point. Amazingly I managed to re-find the bird enjoying it's fish on a post way out over the moor...



So, success. The other strong memory of the visit was the encouraging number of breeding Curlews and Lapwings in the area...


A perfect setting...


A very enjoyable 6 hour visit and 7.2 miles walked to boot!



Monday, 11 June 2018

Little Owl

I tried the Turtle Dove sites again this afternoon but no evidence was found at either. On my way home I made my way back down Snakey lane. As I negotiated the double bend I saw a small bird fly up from the road. It looked different...it was!

A Little Owl...


A real surprise and pleasure to locate a new local site for this species.


Sunday, 10 June 2018

A day at Bempton

We usually stay local on Sunday for obvious reasons but today I just fancied a ride out and a good walk on a long overdue SUNNY day!!!

So, we braved the traffic and headed for Bempton. A stop off on the way at Hornsea Garden Centre proved fruitful...

Home made Trifle!
The traffic was heavy around Brid' but we eventually arrived around 1.30. Thankfully there was no sign of mist/fog. I've been visiting Bempton for over 30 years yet I feel it's only recently that I have begun to fully appreciated this jewel of the Yorkshire coast. We'd timed it right with sunny conditions, clear air and carpets of wildflowers in bloom...


..and plenty of birds of course!

We wanted a decent walk so we headed towards Flamborough Head along the coastal path...


We managed a 4 mile round trip and had great views of all the key species. A few pics...





My friends were very patient...


A grand day out!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Back in the Groove

First couple of days back at work and all went well with the new knee.

Onward!

I got a tip off today regarding another local Turtle Dove site. Cheers Gavin. I'll have a look tomorrow...

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Sprung

Fatal to say "that's it" but it's looking like it I guess. Totted up my totals for the year so far.

A few final moments...

Red-backed Shrike at the Warren on Saturday...


A few pics of the dapper Rose-coloured Starling present at Kilnsea Wetlands over the past few days...






 I also liked this image of the humble Pied Wagtail...


An excellent local breeding record came in the form of FIVE Avocet chicks at Skeffling...


The star was the Rosy Pastor though...


Back to work tomorrow, to top up the holiday fund...

Monday, 4 June 2018

RCS 2

Had a couple of hours scouring Holderness Field, Kilnsea this afternoon for another adult Rose-coloured Starling. Believe me, there were plenty of Starlings around BUT I couldn't find a pink one!

I left around 5 for Tesco. Sure enough as I passed Holmpton a message informed me that the RCS was showing from the screen at Kilnsea Wetlands!! After dropping of the provisions I returned to KW to find Rich Swales walking down the path towards the hide. He informed me the bird was showing...now!

Bit late now...so here's a BOC pic...

Saturday, 2 June 2018

RBS

Spent the morning down by the Warren at Spurn trying to pin down a Red-backed Shrike... a male!

I managed a couple of brief views before it disappeared South. Steve Webb helped me look for it but we covered a fair area without any success.

Around 11 it was re-located and settled by in the bushes by the Warren.

Always a pleasure to see such a smart bird...




Friday, 1 June 2018

Golden Oriole - a very special evening

It was still around BUT I didn't have any luck this morning. I DID connect eventually with a female Red-backed Shrike...


I also had a good chat with a Birder from Hull who was having a week at Withernsea. We enjoyed prolonged if mainly distant views of the RBS.

We both decided to try again for the GO at Chalky Point. By the time I'd parked and sorted Bud out I'd lost "my mate" so we set off towards Sammy's. As I approached the eastern end of SP I could see a small group of Birders training their scopes and bins into the field I was approaching. A dilemma. I wasn't sure where they were looking but it could have been the bush I was approaching! So, like a good lad I stopped and waited not wanting to flush it. Turns out they were looking much further across the field into a distant bush. Another Birder...Tony form Leeds and his mate approached me and pointed out the area the bird was in. Fortunately I managed to find it before it flew off...


The heat haze was strong but I wasn't complaining after a week of fog! Great to see this special bird again.

After sorting a few things out at home I returned this evening for more exercise and maybe another peep at the Golden Wonder. I made my way down the path from Sammy's car park towards Kilnsea. It was a clear bright evening and all the haze had disappeared. All I needed now was the bird!

I reached the area of low bushes were I'd seen it this afternoon...and waited. You may or may not be aware that this species can be VERY difficult to pick out, even in relatively open habitat. I scanned the area hard for a good 30 minutes. Nothing.

More scanning...then...there it was...around 50yds away...


Blends in well, doesn't it. I enjoyed the bird catching caterpillars for a good 20 minutes.

To mark my best ever views of this species in Britain I'm going to post a few images of various quality to mark the occasion. Hope you enjoy them...






A really enjoyable and satisfying experience...


As I was about to leave a lone Barnacle Goose headed out over the Humber from Kilnsea Wetlands...


P.119, S.88

Then just to bring me back down to earth, as Birding often does, I learnt on returning home that a VERY late Glaucous Gull had flown south. A potential Spurn tick no less. Ah well, one to look for...in the future.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Corncrake

I gave it 4 hrs this morning from 7 until 11. Not a muff! 8 birds have apparently been logged in the LDV now. An impressive total.
That's it for now BUT I might return when all the little Corncrakes start running about!!

I did have a good chat with Hull Birder Nigel Genn. Having reached retirement he's now enjoying his winters Birding in the Algarve. I hope to be spending mine in Cyprus.

Wishing my life away...!?


Another Sub-Alpine Warbler sp occurred at South Gare today? If it had been confirmed as a you-know-what I confess I would have gone. The combination of reasonable distance plus it being within the old Yorkshire boundary would have clinched a move. Slightly hypocritical... but there you go!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Another day...and all that

After a late start  gave it an hour at the Turtle Dove site. No sound nor sight today.

Around 2 I made my way back down to Kilnsea. A Savi's Warbler had been heard and occasionally seen. Unfortunately there was no evidence of the bird all afternoon. The Golden Oriole was still present but I didn't see it today. However, I did see quite a few familiar Birders, including Trevor Charlton and Steve Lawton. We caught up on things while forlornly waiting for evidence of the birds.

The weather today was better but the sightings weren't.

Stop press: I returned at 7.45pm and scored with a brief (what else) but conclusive view of the Savi's (P.116, S.85).

...........................................................................................

There's a MEGA in far NE Scotland at the moment, that I haven't seen...yet I'm not going? Prey why...I hear you cry...or not!! It's an ex-Subalpine Warbler that's now called a Moltoni's Warbler. There's been around one record a year since 2009 and who knows before that?! I've aired my personal views on recent splitting before so I won't bore you...again. Personally, I'm certainly not going to invest time, effort and money to travel for this bird. If one appears closer (which it inevitably will) I may go and take a peep...then again I may not. I wouldn't miss or regret it. Congrats to all who travelled and connected.

I have to WANT to go...not NEED to go...

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

A Golden Day!

Firstly a bit about Sunday. I had a few hours out locally with Phil, after lunch with Louise. After meeting him in Kilnsea Wetlands car park we decided to try for the Turtle Dove near Ottringham. After around 20 minutes we heard the bird strike up with strong purring. It was close. After another short wait we were treated to an explosion from the bush. It landed briefly opposite in the shadows of a conifer before disappearing...


Next it was time to try for Whimbrel on the Humber. We tried Skeffling which was teeming with birds on the fast incoming tide. Still lots of dapper Grey Plovers about. Having added Turtle Dove to his year list we didn't have any luck with Whimbrel here. I mentoned to Phil that I'd seen 10 at Sammy's Point a few days ago. It was getting late in the Spring but maybe with this crazy weather there may still be some lingering birds?

Within a couple of minutes of leaving the car we could hear the unmistakable sound of Whimbrel! Yet, we couldn't see them. Then there they were, flying straight towards us...

Just caught 2 of 4!
After dropping him off back at the car park, we parted ways, I headed home while Phil tried for the Marsh Warbler at the Warren.

.........................................................................................

This morning started with a super-optimistic local search for a Rose-coloured Starling. Needless to say I was unsuccessful...but I tried! As I was approaching Sammy's Point I could see a birder walking along the road towards me. I only realised after I'd passed him that it was John McLoughlin. I also didn't know that he'd just seen a Golden Oriole!!!  then received the news and saw a decent group gathering along the road. I decided to take Bud down the Humber shore and wait for developments. I had a brief scan for the female Red-backed Shrike but no joy there.

We did the loop around the bushes and I had a more determined look for the Shrike on my return but I couldn't find it. I did see a Spotted Fly'...


...and a VERY late Fieldfare..


News came through that a/or another Golden Oriole had been seen near the Warren, so I made my way towards Kilnsea. The fog was pretty thick at this stage and as I reached the gate I could see a few Birders on the Canal Bank. There were more in the hide apparently. I decided to pass and headed home for lunch with Louise.

Around 2pm I headed back for another go. As I made my way along the canal path from the Crown and Anchor I passed a birder who informed me that the GO had just flown towards the Church. After chewing it over for a few minutes I decided to try the Churchyard as he also told me it had been singing! It was still a BIG surprise that I could hear the bird singing clearly as I reached the churchyard. A rare treat indeed! I couldn't SEE it though so I tried the Kew viewing area were I was joined by another Birder. Just as he arrived the bird flew over our heads towards the Crown and Anchor...excellent! When we entered the C&A car park John was there and he told us they thought they'd seen it flying over but had lost it behind the Pub. I apologized for driving past him earlier and we had a brief chat before he re-joined his mates. It was good to see him again.

Having heard the bird singing and enjoyed great flight views I was hoping to get a decent view of the bird perched. Never satisfied!

I returned to the canal path but the bird didn't return In the next hour so I headed back to Sammy's to try again for the RBS. John had given me a tip regarding the best area to look. It paid off...

P.116, S.85
Yep...back to the triangle for one last go. It was now gone 4 but the fog had lifted, albeit slightly. I joined a couple of other hopefuls and then saw Steve Webb purposefully walking towards me. He continued on to the Churchyard and we said we'd contact each other if either of us had a further sighting. I then decided to try further along the path, leaving the other two chatting. I then saw a shape through the mist in the distance perched on a small bush. It looked VERY promising...

P.117, S.86
The above image is more conclusive than my initial view. I then beckoned to the other chaps and gave Steve a ring. My radio had died so I asked him to put the news out of this latest sighting. I managed to get slightly closer by using a bush as a shield...


Obviously the conditions didn't help but to be honest I was just glad to see it perched...

 
The bird then flew further down the path but was still viewable in a distant bush. We all managed to get a view before the bird flew right across the triangle and back towards the Church.
 
It took me 19 years to get Golden Oriole on my Yorkshire list, so I like to think I fully appreciate EVERY sighting of this elusive and scarce bird that I get. I gave it another hour but I didn't see it again. I did have a good chat with Gordon Beck. I'd heard the name before but this was the first time we'd met. We put the world to rights, then headed home...