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...

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Crippling Views - a nice trio!

As stated many times before I try to stay local these days...and find my own...with the odd cherry pick down the road. Now and again though I get tempted to range further afield, especially when the views on offer promise to be rather good.

So, yesterday evening I made the trip to Bempton to try for the probably THE most photographed Wryneck ever! They are great birds, full of character with an amazing plumage. I arrived around 6pm, parked up and walked around the footpath by the dell. I could see a few heads behind the fence but it was difficult to see exactly where they were looking. Unfortunately, I inadvertently flushed it as it was on the path! I apologised but it soon returned and began feeding again. A couple of chaps were lying on the floor taking pics. When they got up  realised one of them was Steve Lawton.

Over the next hour the bird performed brilliantly well showing no fear at all. At one point the bird waked right up to and passed Andy Hood who was sat on the ground...


The location of the Dell meant that the sun couldn't penetrate but the views were still stunning. Well worth the trip...




After saying my goodbyes I made sure I didn't run over it as I left, as it was right by the path...


A real Cutie!
This morning I left for South Gare around 8. I was hoping to see another species that had been showing rather well. Still in historical Yorkshire but it's a good drive from Holmpton! After a couple of stops I arrived around 11 and thankfully the rain that was forecast hadn't arrived yet. There were a good number of Birders scattered around but no significant group. I scanned the area and found the bird sat on the beach! Even at 200 yds it looked a significant lump.

I made my way cautiously over the stones and out to the bird, hoping it wouldn't fly off before I got there. There were only four Birders admiring the bird when I got there. I gave it an hour until the rain started. I was hoping the bird would fly but it was probably full of fish scraps left by the fisherman. No matter. It was well worth the trip to obtain my best ever views of a Pomarine Skua...

A stunner
Third bird. Well, it's my local superstar that was still present on Friday morning although  haven't seen it since...

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

No show x 2

Phil tried for the Cranes today. No sign in over 3 hours. A local guy who checks for them everyday also hadn't seen them. A report that they'd been seen near Hornsea didn't come to anything.

He also struck out on the GWE.

His day was saved however when he had 2 SEO's at Holderness Field this evening. Guess where I'll be heading after work tomorrow...

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

BIG Birds

Another early start. I was motivated to rise by the forecast of a decent Northerly blow. I checked the ditch for my mate...he was there!

I hunkered down behind the faithful V70 and waited for the show. Gannets were passing regularly in good numbers, some quite close. It looked promising.  Decent numbers of Teal and Wigeon passed. Then a Tufted Duck (159) a Holmpton Lifer no less! Then, VERY distantly 4 Manx Shearwaters scythed through the waves. I also had another Arctic Skua. Sandwich Terns passed constantly and I had a couple of groups of Common. I gave it a couple of hours logging well over 200 Gannets...a fine spectacle! My overall impression was one of slight disappointment considering the favourable conditions.

Around lunchtime I arrived back at West Carlton for a second attempt at the Common Cranes. Gavin had seen them the previous evening so I was determined to find them this time...they're big enough!

After a quick scan...there they were! Very distant (c600yds) but at least they were showing...


I also took a decidedly dodgy phone-scoped effort! At least it shows the size difference with their mate the Heron...


I spent an hour this afternoon totting up my Year totals as the Autumn begins...always fun trying to synchronize them! 

I'm out of the picture now for a couple of days as I boost the holiday fund...

Monday, 3 September 2018

Pirate

Early start today with a trip down to Kilnsea at dawn to try for Short-eared Owl (P.145, S.103) around Holderness Field. I managed a brief yet distant view of a single bird. Not what I was hoping for but the exercise was good!

Mid-morning  checked for the GWE and sure enough it was there, by the ditch, on the edge of the stubble.

News came through of a Spoonbill at Kilnsea Wetlands. No sign in an hours vigil. However, I did add Snipe (S.104) to my Spurn year list...


Another nice walk on another beautiful day.

After lunch I checked again for the GWE but no sign this time, just the fast growing young Mallards that bred there...


Yet another example of birds taking to a slither of habitat in the arable desert!!! A sad state of affairs.

I finished off at The Sewage scanning the sea with my Trinnies. Almost immediately a group of Cormorants flew South...


A few Sandwich Terns were fishing offshore. I live in hope. Today my positive vibes paid off...

Arctic Skua (P.146, H.103)
Fortunately the bird latched on to a couple of Sandwich Terns forcing one of them to drop its catch...


I feel this bird is a dark juvenile...






Then it was home to sort the garden out.

Sightings are going VERY well. Lets hope they continue?

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Things are warming up!

I started off at the Sewage. A nice group of Pied Wagtails (H.100) were noted...


Where have they been?  I also managed a Grey (P.143, H.101).

Just as I was leaving a last scan of the sea revealed a distant small flock of birds flying south offshore. My first thought was Gannets but as they got closer I realized they were something more unusual...Avocets! (H.102).

A precious record
Next it was up to Out Newton. As I approached the cliff a Sparrowhawk shot across the path and landed in the hay...


Judging by the large size and brown colouration, a juvenile female I reckon. It stayed put for around 15 minutes before flying off across the stubble...


I'd decided to take Louise out for lunch...via West Newton...were a couple of Cranes had been reported. As we set off I had yet another hopeful look in "the ditch"...


Three days since I'd seen it. A nice surprise! That's EIGHT days at least now it's been in the area...


After returning from Hornsea there was no sign of the bird. I dropped Louise off at home and made my way down to Spurn to try for the Ortolan Bunting(s). A species that has become far more scarce over the years...it's not on its own...unfortunately!

It was now 3.30ish and there was only a small crowd still interested in the bird(s). They had been ranging over a fair area apparently and there was no sign of them presently. I had a brief chat with Richard Boon and his wife before deciding to have a walk around Clubley's Field. Still no joy by 4.30pm although I add add Whinchat (P.143, S.101).

Then a gesture from a Birder searching a ditch towards the sea. He'd found one! It took a while but  eventually I managed to photograph the bird...

Ortolan Bunting (P.144, S.102)

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Woodchat Shrike

Popped down to Spurn and got lucky with the Woodchat Shrike (P.142, S.100) which appeared just as I arrived!



It looks like the local star has moved on, with no sign again today of the GWE. I really enjoyed having this bird locally and I'll never look at that ditch in the same way again!!

I spent the last hour waiting for Terns...they didn't arrive. A couple of Scoters on the sea were a nice surprise...


...especially when they decided to join a passing flock of 35! A couple of Whimbrel headed south calling constantly and there were a few groups of dapper Oystercatchers.

I'm still getting a few visitors to my bird bath...

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Evening passage

Firstly after no sign all day the GWE put in another appearance this evening! It showed briefly around 5.45pm after another visit to Tesco...for me that is! It made it's way along the ditch and out of view. I didn't see it again.

I had an hour up at Out Newton this morning. I was pleased to see a summer plumaged Black-throated Diver (P.140, H.98) heading swiftly North.

Around 6.30 I set my stall out by the Sewage for another seawatch. The cliff's much lower here and I was interested to see what the views would be like. They were better, much better. A steady stream of fast flying Terns arrowed South over the next hour or so, an impressive spectacle. I am happy I picked a couple of Roseate Terns (P.141, H.99) out of the flocks. A lone Little Gull flew high South and stuck out like a sore thumb. I left around 7.45 as a smart Red-throated Diver landed on the sea at close range. A nice evening.




Great White Egret - the full story

"One man's meat is another man's poison"

Birder's are no different. Lists can be constructed...and recorded, ad infinitum these days. I've got one or two! As already stated I was a tad disappointed on Saturday evening after Richard informed me of the GWE that had been seen near the Sewage Works. I forlornly trudged along the footpath still in my work gear with just a lone Heron laughing at me...


...Oh and a couple of deer...


Sunday came and went as I made four visits to the area with no sign of the bird. I made another early morning visit yesterday but still no sign. I checked a few local spots for migrants but it was quiet. Just after midday I was on my way to Tesco in With' for some supplies. As I passed the Sewage Works I had a rather nice surprise. There stood in the stubble right by the road was...

Bingo!
A VERY nice moment!!!

I put the news out and took some more photos. The bird fed in the field and then dropped into the ditch...


As you are aware significant sightings can be hard to come by, so this was a special moment indeed...and a re-find to boot! I commented previously on the remarkable nature of this record in the Holmpton area "desert". It now became even more so as the bird had stayed in the area for at least 3 days!!

I sent a few messages to my pals but when I looked up it had disappeared and I couldn't re-locate it.  was now parked up by the Sewage Works entrance and another car pulled up. It was Graham Speight who'd driven up from Spurn to try for the bird. I told him I'd just "had" it but it wasn't showing at the moment. We checked the ditch but it wasn't there. We then walked the public footpath towards Hollym Village. Graham carried on a bit further but  decided to return in case it dropped in again. As I reached the road the bird flew in from the south (Holmpton LIFE 157)...


I couldn't see Graham over the hill but within a couple of minutes he was enjoying close flight views as the bird flew right by him. After a brief chat he carried on his way. I decided to drive round to the A1033 which was the direction the bird had flown. I parked up and peered through a gap in the hedge.

There flying right towards me n the fading light was the GWE...


It carried on over the road and appeared to land in the Willows Caravan Park. I couldn't relocate it. There was no sign of the bird this morning but yesterdays experience was right up there!

No tick like a quality local one!

Monday, 27 August 2018

Swatch

Did a recky at Out Newton this evening. I was curious as to the visible passage compared to Spurn. Deadly quiet from 5 till 6.30 with just a few Gannets. Things then picked up with groups of Terns passing at various distances and heights. I wasn't that concerned as to species but I couldn't pick out any Black or Roseate. No Skuas noted. Hope for the future though.

I DID have a nice surprise earlier however. More on that tomorrow..

Sunday, 26 August 2018

GWE - No show

I returned to the ditch at dawn but unsurprisingly there was no sign of the GWE.

On reflection I consider this occurrence one of the most remarkable during my time at Holmpton. Just wish I'd have seen it!

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Local GWE

Late drama this evening. As I returned to the Village after a hard days toil I passed Richard Boon who informed me a Great White Egret had been seen opposite the Sewage by Intack. He showed me a photo, although I didn't have my specs! Gutted. Would have been an excellent local sighting.

I hadn't received any news during the day? Seems GWE is no longer scarce!?

I returned with Bud and we walked the footpath by the ditch towards Hollym ...no joy. Again, it just shows that ANY water can attract a decent bird. I'll have another look first thing tomorrow...





Friday, 24 August 2018

Frampton RSPB

I kept my promise to myself and rose at 5.30am. Bud got an early blast and I was away for 6.30. Phil was already there. He messaged me to say he'd let me know asap if the bird was still present. It was!

Over the Humber Bridge...and onward...

I arrived just after 10 and discovered both the STILT SANDPIPER and the Red-necked Phalarope had disappeared! As if to make up for this disappointment I received a tweet from Lincs and Norfolk RSPB informing me that a Long-billed Dowitcher had just been found on Marsh Farm Reservoir. Handy!

Being familiar with the reserve I made my way down the footpath to the site. Around half-a-dozen Birders were present and the bird was in their sights, albeit distantly. A kind gent allowed me a peep. I decided to take the footpath down the side of the reservoir to try for a better view. The view would be into the sun but at least it wouldn't be a dot. Fortunately the bird moved along the edge allowing me a "slightly" better view...


I then made my way back to the Visitor Centre. I had a brief chat with one of the staff. I asked him about the pattern of behaviour of the SS. He told me about a couple of spots that might be worth trying. No luck on "the mound" near Reedbed Hide, so onto North Scrape...


As I approached a birder beckoned me over saying..."I think I've got it". Having seen a few Stateside I was happy to confirm. Just the two of us...as the song goes. We were soon joined by the cavalry.

My best effort at around 50 yards...

STILT SANDPIPER
As mentioned previously I have a definite leaning towards American species and I'm glad I made the trip. I only have one previous sighting of this smart wader in Britain at Minsmere 13/9/1997.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

My Tern(s)

A nice walk on the beach this morning was enhanced by the discovery of a small flock of resting Terns. An unusual yet welcome sight.

Four species present. 20 Sandwich, 12 Common, 3 Little and 4 Arctic (P.137, H.94).

Tempted to make a trip to Frampton RSPB tomorrow for the STILT SANDPIPER...


Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A sighting in context

I've lived at Holmpton for 6 years now. I like to think I've scoured the Village and surrounds pretty thoroughly especially during migration.

Yesterday's sighting was very special... as the bird came to me. A complete surprise... in the bird bath! Maybe I need to spend more time staring out of the kitchen window...