Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Winter Targets

Nice to hear my FOY drumming GSW this morning with the odd Great Tit "having a go" also. The local Geese (of dubious origin) were located by the pub and included two Canada/Greylag hybrids...but no Canada?

Diminishing Winter returns are kicking in hard, as the sea is "dead" at the moment and I've mopped up most of the possible land birds...although I still "need"...

Grey Partridge
Canada Goose
Mediterranean Gull
Barn Owl
Little Owl
Tawny Owl
Meadow Pipit

...always something to look for.

I have strong opinions regarding the current Lockdown...but (after much deliberation) I've decided to keep them to myself! For the best I feel...

Friday, 22 January 2021


A clear day...at last. Still a bit fresh in a moderate but sunny SW wind! We walked down to Old Hive over Mill Hill. No sign of any Larks or Buntings but plenty of Ringed Plovers (c50) feeding in the gigantic clifftop field.

Eventually managing to get out of the wind in the copse, I soon located the 2 Stonechats on "the heap". On our return more scanning of the sea located c30 Red-throated Divers, a few in flight for short distances. I managed to turn one into a Black-throated (H.58). As I reached School Lane one last scan paid off when I picked up a lone male Goosander (H.59) hurting North.

Some sunny days ahead apparently? Hopefully time to dry the saturated land up somewhat! I'm sick of cleaning Bud!!

Patience is a virtue!

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Incidental addition

Been trudging the area the last couple of days in poor weather to no avail...just for the record! Ironically I DID manage a year tick...on my feeders, whilst having lunch. I just managed to get the evidence before they (3) flew off...

Long-tailed Tit (H.57)

After another deluge today the forecast for the next few days looks more promising. Sunshine is needed at this time of year. Fingers crossed...

Monday, 18 January 2021

Lingering Chats

Checked South of the Village this morning down to Old Hive. No sign of any Shore Larks or Snow Buntings but the 2 Stonechats are still present around the Copse. I enjoyed some time in the shadows with them, out of the perishing wind...

Year ticks have dried up. I haven't even heard a Tawny Owl yet?

Saturday, 16 January 2021


Poor weather and domestic matters have restricted Birding recently. No point posting for postings sake...debatable?...again!  

A Glaucous Gull was reported North past Withernsea yesterday morning which gave some hope. Forecast decent for the next couple of days, so hopefully a few additions to the Year List.

A Green-winged Teal (site tick) has been seen at NDC but obviously (or maybe not) no chance of connecting in the current climate. Hopefully it will hang around until I can visit...whenever that may be?

COVID vaccinations are underway with the elderly and vulnerable rightly taking priority. It seems I'm in for a decent wait for mine. I guess it's an ever changing scene...

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Could be worse

Slow going recently but on reflection still pretty darn good! The nightmare that was 2020 ended on a positive note with my discovery of 3 Shore Larks on the coastal path at Mill Hill...

The New Year got off to a flier with a flock of Snow Buntings discovered by Richard in the same area. Then yours truly found a Black Redstart at Old Hive copse on the 6th which remained for three days. The Snow Buntngs are still around but unusually "skittish". I did manage a few images this morning before once again they flew off high SW...

Silhouette view!

I also added Skylark (H.56) to the Year List. The Shore Larks and Black Redstart are still being reported but "we" haven't seen them?

Monday, 11 January 2021

Late Memories

Slow one today. I covered Snakey Lane and "the Bunker" area. Got me thinking...always dangerous! First thought was...what was my best sighting of last year. Strange...why? Well "the Bunker" area was where I saw it!

Jay 8/5/20

Over the years I've heard many comments regarding the South Holderness area as being..."flat". I prefer undulating! The view from the crest of "Bunker Hill" confirms this...

A fine view of the Humber Estuary can be had...on a clear day. I could even see the Swans at Skeffling!


Might have to bring my scope up? Nah...only count what's IN, not what's seen from. This Buzzard let me get reasonably close...

My second memory from last year which I omitted from my summary...was the BIG ONE. No, not the ALBATROSS...but the LAMMERGEIER...


Regardless of status, it was just an incredible experience to witness this species in English air space...I even saw it in Yorkshire! Even if it did nearly finish me off!!

Tomorrow is forecast to be a cracker. So I aim to be up early for my exercise...

Sunday, 10 January 2021


A change of scenery this morning with a walk North to the Sewage. Hoped for additions included Sanderling, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Skylark. I trawled the coastal fringe but only sneaked a Pied Wagtail (P.55, H.54) at the Sewage and of course...I saw some more Lapwings (3)! The sea was "dead". The surprise addition came in the form of a flushed Snipe (P.56, H.55) just North of the second pill box...

A couple of Stonechats were also present...

A slow build but as stated (many times) before...there's no rush. It's a long stretch to the first migrants. This being my first full year of retirement; I've no excuses regarding my Year List. I should be able to beat 138?

Saturday, 9 January 2021


Today it was back to sunshine. A wonderful crisp, still Winter's day. The day started well when I spotted two Mistle Thrushes (P.51, H.50) flying high across the field on Seaside Road. Curiosity got the better of me and I headed South to Old Hive to see if the Black Redstart was still present. Unfortunately the little gem had moved on. The two Stonechats were still present. 

Richard has also decided to make this spot his chosen exercise area. He informed me he'd flushed a Woodcock on his way down! I managed only a Red-throated Diver (P.52, H.51) on my return. Richard had carried on South to Cliff Farm. I then received a message off him informing me he'd seen 24 Snow Buntings to the South of the Farm.

It was now time to score a few points with a few jobs around the house! Late afternoon and it was time for the Tesco run. As I passed the Sewage I noticed a distictive flock heading purposefully South. Lapwings (P.53, H.52) ...thirty eight of them. After a blank last year this was a significant and satisfying sighting. Patch Birding in a nutshell. I also saw my first covey of Red-legged Partridges (P.54, H.53).

Friday, 8 January 2021

January Targets

A modest 49 species for the Village so far but quality in the form of Black Redstart and Snow Bunting...and maybe the Shore Larks will re-appear?

Anyway, seeing as I'm not going anywhere for a while, just for a bit of fun I thought I'd set myself a target for the month. One needs a little structure in times like these.

Should see (debatable)
Mute Swan
Common Scoter
Red-legged Partridge
Grey Partridge
Red-throated Diver
Mediterranean Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Barn Owl
Little Owl
Tawny Owl
Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Mistle Thrush
Long-tailed Tit

Might see (a potentially large list!)
Pink-footed Goose
Canada Goose
Great Northern Diver
Marsh Harrier
Shore Lark
Rock Pipit

Maybe - (5 long shots!)
Red-breasted Merganser 
Black-throated Diver
Hen Harrier
Short-eared Owl

...and maybe Brambling and Waxwing lol!

A Change in the Weather

Bit of a change from yesterday! Still, got to get some exercise...for me and ma boy. He'd decided to hide his ball at Old Hive yesterday, so we walked South in the freezing fog to try and locate it. There might be a decent bird down there? There was! The Black Redstart is still present...but there was no sign of the ball...nor the Stonechats.

The return journey provided a Year Tick in the form of a lone Dunlin (P.50, H.49) flushed from the clifftop field.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Black Redstart 2

Unsuprisingly my designated walk followed the same route as yesterday! It was a VERY cold but clear morning as I gingerly made my way down School Lane and South to Old Hive. The sun eventually peeped above the cloud as I reached the Copse. Fortunately the Black Redstart decided it needed to warm up...


A lunchtime watch from the kitchen added Coal Tit (P.48, H.47) on the feeders and Sparrowhawk (P.49, H.48).

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Black Redstart

As another lockdown progresses, it's definitely time to take stock...again!

I'm fortunate to be away from (most of) the madness being located out here on the East Coast of Yorkshire. I'm also very aware of the great job my sister is doing caring for my Mother in Lancashire. Both are well. I use social media VERY sparingly...mainly for bird information and family/friend updates. The search facilty helps avoid the rubbish. I don't do...news!

My wonderful hobby has obviously been affected. NDC is out for the moment and my beloved Texas holiday in April is also in jeopardy. So, it's heads down for Village Birding for the foreseeable. I have excellent walks and areas to cover from my front door on my permitted exercise. I'll just put walk from now on and drop the "exercise" hint! I should be able to pick up the odd species from the Cottage.

I'll figure out a reasonable target for January and see how close I can get to it. It'll keep me out of mischief. I might lose a bit of weight as well! 

Following on from yet another mission statement I walked South on today's walk along the cliff down to Old Hive. No sign of any Shore Larks or Snow Buntings (probably blown into Lincs after the last two days!) so I headed for the copse. The wind was mercifully lighter today but there were several ominous clouds about. Richard had seen a Stonechat recently so I circled the trees trying to locate it. A distant movement...I raised my bins...Black Redstart (P.47, H.46)! 

Nice surprise!

Pleased to "find my own" after seeing "Richard's" in the cliff paddock last April. Also a nice start to Lockdown walks. I did a circuit of the copse and grabbed a few images...

I also saw 2 Stonechats before returning home.

...but today's star was the BR...

VERY satisfying to find a "decent bird" here after countless visits over the years...

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Forecasts eh?

The wind didn't drop...it just got colder! So no attempt was made for the SL or SB on my permitted exercise walk.

Lockdown 3 then. There's definitely a case for hibernation at the moment! All sorts of opinions regarding COVID which I won't dwell on...you'll be glad to hear. Suffice to say movements and contact should be limited as far as possible... as should have been the case from Day 1...and that includes twitching! Hopefully the vaccination programme can be organised efficiently and speedily. No excuses. I'm sure some will find justification to travel for birds...where there isn't any!

This seems a good time to take stock regarding record updates and reminiscing, as future planning seems a tad optimistic at the moment!!!

Late afternoon trip to Tesco netted me my first Mallards (P.46, H.45) of the year. Riveting stuff!

Monday, 4 January 2021

Still about

We still have a strong NE wind with us. I spent some time down Snakey but it was VERY quiet although the first bird I saw was a Buzzard! Still no luck with the Partridges

Just after 11 I got a message off Richard, he'd refound the three Shore Larks. They were down at Old Hive near the copse. Amazing really, given the conditions! I made my way up to Cliff Farm as I was going to drop down from there but a combination of increasing gloom and forgetting my "big coat" meant my attempt had to be postponed. Great to know they're still about, although they'll take some finding. I did add Cormorant (P.45, H.44) to the Year List.

A team from the York Area, namely Tim Jones, Jack Ashton-Booth, Oliver Metcalfe and Chris Gomersall managed 95 species on their Bird Race in the LDV!! Even with extensive local knowledge, that's a VERY impressive total!

The wind is forecast to drop tomorrow with less rain, so I'll have a go for the SL and SB.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Village Bird Race

I use the word "race" in its loosest possible sense!

Anyway, I stuck to my promise and had a go despite the dodgy weather forecast. Many teams around the County out and about. I started down Snakey pre-dawn but no Owls showed. I did pick up both winter Thrushes and Corn Bunting. A return home netted GS Woodpecker plus the usual stuff on the feeders. 

9am and time for a Seawatch. I headed for Cliff Farm but the fishermen had blocked the track (I did add Curlew) so I returned to the Village and marched up to Mill Hill. In an hour I saw one bird in a strong "north-easter". It was a good one though! A Fulmar. I left before I got blown off the cliff!

The wind continued to increase and killed any chance of a decent total but I decided to continue anyway.

A Song Thrush in the paddock was a nice surprise. A couple of Stock Doves flew over as I was looking for Bullfinch and Mistle Thrush.

Nothing special was seen in the rest of the daylight and beyond. I sneaked a last-gasp Buzzard on Snakey at 3.50 but couldn't find any Partridges?

The day was more notable for the omissions from my predicited list! Waders and coastal passerines were understandably keeping a VERY low profile...and the sea was dead.

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common_ Scoter (Melanitta nigra)
Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)
Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)
Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Little Owl (Athene noctua)
Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Coal Tit (Parus ater)
Common Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)

My total was a extremely modest 37 sp. Still enjoyable...to an extent. I plan to have another go in more favourable conditions. Whenever that might be!

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Village Day List

Last minute decision.

Possible targets are debatable...isn't everything! Anyway, here are my targets...

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common_ Scoter (Melanitta nigra)
Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)
Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)
Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus)
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Stock Dove (Columba oenas)
Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Little Owl (Athene noctua)
Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Redwing (Turdus iliacus)
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Great Tit (Parus major major)
Coal Tit (Parus ater)
Common Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica)
Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Rook (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)
Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)
Just a bit of fun...not too old for that?

Friday, 1 January 2021

Happier New Year

Let's go!

I started pre-dawn with a walk down to Mill Hill hoping to get another look at the Shore Larks. I nearly didn't make it as I almost went full length on the road outside the Cottage which was covered in black ice. It was a "no-show" at "the hill" in the hour I was there. No sign of any Snow Buntings either. Still, not a bad pair to have in the Village!!

After a shower and breakfast I took Bud for a stroll down Snakey Lane and found a SINGING Corn Bunting...

I then received a message from a local birder informing me that he'd found a Long-eared Owl in Withernsea. It was in the same area as the one I saw earlier in the year, so I knew roughly where to search. On arrival I slowly walked the area following his directions. I couldn't locate it, so I gave him a ring. He gave me a few pointers and I searched again. Still no luck. Maybe it had moved, as there were some young lads around. Fortunately they soon disappeared and I continued searching. There were a few isolated bushes on one side of the path and a thick hedge on the other. I'd been there around 20 minutes now.

I'd reached the point of not knowing where else to look when...there it was!!! Sat on a branch, deep in the hedge. It had probably been watching me all along! I quickly took a few pics and left it in peace.

I (like many of us I guess) LOVE Owls. So to be priviliged enough to see this bird so close was a special treat...

Those eyes!

A fantastic find by my pal from "up the road".

Buoyed by this sighting I returned to Mill Hill to try again for the Shore Larks and Snow Buntings. Richard had been there earlier and had seen the SB but not the SL. An hour's searching revealed decent numbers of Ringed Plovers scattered far and wide in the winter crop and a flock of 15 Golden. The field is huge...

...so my best chance of seeing the SB flock was going to be a flight view...which I finally got just before 3. They circled high over Mill Hill and even went out over the beach at one stage before disappearing west into the sun. At least I'd seen them at last. Hopefully they'll hang around and maybe the Shore Larks are still present?

I had a skirt around the southern end and was rewarded with a Stonechat in Old Hive copse. I then made the long trudge back to the car through thick mud and that was that. A great start to the Year. As this is my first January as a kept man I'm thinking of doing a Village day list. I'm just waiting for the right day weather wise?

Tomorrow I'll be sorting my lists out for the New Year. Whatever you decide to do I hope things work out well for you. Let's hope things work out well for all of us, regarding the Virus...SOON!!!

Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 Summary

As you know, I'm not a fan of routine. I had enough of that when I was working! However, as the year draws to an end, I've decided to do a summary. I'm a glutten for punishment! Anyway, for the record here are my totals...

Starting Nationally and positively, I added FOUR birds...bringing my British List to 526...(click link for the full story)...

STELLER'S EIDER - Two visits to the wonderful Papa Westray culminating in a re-find at the eleventh hour!
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS - My dream moment. To finally connect with this species and the manner of its arrival will NEVER beaten for me...

Dream come true!

TAIGA FLYCATCHER - included below
RUFOUS- TAILED SCRUB ROBIN - A fortunate but very welcome addition pre-Scilly. One of those species that was loooong overdue.

Plus an ironic 2nd for Britain on Scilly which many BIG Listers missed out on. That's twitchin'! 

Less positively, I'll quickly mention and move on from my COVID 19 dip trio...still in therapy BUT no regrets. The correct decision was made...and the situation is ongoing...some things are far more important than seeing a bird!!! To some at least?!


BBA - already covered but in no way diminished!!! Taking me to 393. Obviously a day I'll NEVER forget!!!!!!!

Three ticks were added bringing me to 312...

Cattle Egret
Iceland Gull

The Spurn Year List isn't a big deal...just...what it is!

I managed 8 additions to my List bringing me to 181...

Shore Lark
Black Redstart
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Rock Pipit

Reviewing the year in the Village, I've finished on 137 which is my best...by 1! Surprising ommisions were Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Lapwing, Little Egret, Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Grey Wagtail, Brambling, Redpoll.

York Area
I dug out my sightings and discovered after adding the three below I've seen 214...

Lesser Yellowlegs
Franklin's Gull

The Gull was obviously a special moment and a VERY good decision.

North Duffield Carrs
No additions...unfortunately! So my total remains at 157

Hopefully we can rid ourselves of this damn Virus soon and get back to somethng like "normal". I still have (some) hopes for Texas 21!?

Shore Larks - a nice finish!

I wanted to make the most of the final day, especially as it was a cracker. Love clear, albeit cold, sunny Winters days with little wind. I started with a 2 hour Sea Watch from dawn which produced...nothing!

I then tried the Sewage, walking South to the Llama Farm. As I walked over the frozen ground I received a message off Richard informing me he'd found c20 Snow Buntings near Mill Hill, just South of the Village. I continued to the farm hoping to find some myself. It wasn't to be but a couple of Stonechats were present...

I dropped Bud off at home and then walked South to look for the Snow Buntings. It was now 12.30. The light was superb and I scanned the path and field at regular intervals as I walked. As I approached Mill Hill I slowed so I could peep over the top of the brow without disturbing anything that might be present. This is the area that the Shore Larks favoured in early April. As I looked over the brow I couldn't initially see anything, then I noticed movement on the path. First thought Snow Buntings...too dark...Meadow Pipits?...NO...SHORE LARKS!!!

You may remember I thought I'd "missed the boat" in April only to re-find them a week later. This was the icing on the cake though to find my own. So glad I reacted quickly with the camera, as they flew into the field after a few seconds and I couldn't re-locate them by dusk, despite extensive searching. I did sneak a Black-throated Diver (H.137. P.152). I also had a flock of 58 Golden Plover over...

...couldn't string one into a Lapwing!

What a terrific end to the year! What it's all about really. All those hours of coverage and then...BOOM!

Further luck was had with my last drive down Snakey when 2 Mute Swans crossed the sky in the twilight and a Merlin zoomed low North!

No prizes guessing where I'll be at dawn tomorrow. Wouldn't be a bad start to the Year List.

Let's hope next year's better...