Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tragic end

The Spoonbill was found dead this morning...very sad.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Spoonbill reflections

It really was a treat to be so close to this bird. Understandable doubts about it's well-being having been quelled it seems to have settled down again in the area. I never thought I'd be flushing a Spoonbill from the path on the way to the hide at Kilnsea Wetlands!!!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Weekend summary

The Star...

Needed a good walk, so took Bud to Easington and walked down the beach to Beacon Ponds to have a look for the Spoonbill. Lovely morning, fresh and clear with bright sunshine. On reaching "the ponds" I had an initial scan but no sign, although the LTD was picked up pretty quickly.

I then decided to make my way round to the floodbank via the new path. On reaching it I bumped into Mick Turton who informed me he'd just had it. When he went to show me where it was it'd disappeared! We had a good chat then we went our separate ways. Within a minute he was waving, informing me that he had re-located it!

As Bud was with me I decided to walk back around to the beach to view from there to avoid flushing it. I soon picked it up (P.87, S.64) and then tried to get a pic...flat battery!!

Still, did manage to add Marsh Harrier (P.88, S.65) over Kilnsea on the way home.

Today started well with a decent group of Redwing in the village first thing. There had been an obvious influx of thrushes overnight with bird scattered all along the Holmpton/Easington road. Really chuffed to pick this out of the masses...

Mistle Thrush (P.89, H.48)
Arrived at Kilnsea Wetlands and made my way down to the hide, as I turned the first corner (concentrating on where I was stepping in the thick mud) a large white bird flushed directly in front of me...

note the black primaries

You may have read that there was some concern over the welfare of the bird due to it's unusual behaviour...

It was eventually caught, checked over and weighed. It was found to be within acceptable parameters and released. I also managed a couple of Twite (S.66) in with the Linnet flock and a lone female Shoveler (P.90, S.67).

The western part of the Wetlands is looking superb at the moment with large numbers of Wildfowl and Waders...including some Pinkfeet.

Be nice to see what turns up here this year? Handy, as I've left NDC but now have this fabulous new habitat...nice!

Patrington Haven and Skeffling were visited this afternoon. Highlights were Marsh Harrier and Barn Owl at the former.

In case you were curious I passed my driving test on Friday and am now a qualified Bus Driver...

Now where can I go next on holiday?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Surprise winter visitor

Barn Owl on "the lane" this morning. It was perched on a signpost were I'd always expected to see one but never had. Uplifting on a cold dark morning.

Released early today (test tomorrow) so I had a stab at the Spoonbill. No time to go home and change so I tip-toed through the mud to Beacon Ponds. Plenty of scanning failed to locate the bird. I did manage the 3 Barnacle Geese (P.86, S.63) however plus 2 Greenshank in the fading light.

Hopefully it's still hanging around the estuary at the weekend...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Commuter bonus tick!

Not much action on the birding scene with early starts and late returns, so 2 Snipe (P.85, H.47) on Snakey lane this morning at 7.30 was a nice bonus year tick !

Monday, 21 January 2013

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Significant Differences

Didn't managed to post yesterday due to "techno" problems (a bit more later) but I had a great day.

Started at the sewage works and with the help of Phil Jones managed to locate a Snow Bunting (P.77, H.34) north of the track. The large group (67) seen by Phil earlier in the week moved onto Easington although no sightings yesterday. Large numbers of Skylarks (H.35, P.78) present here (c250) plus many Meadow Pipits (H.36) and Fieldfare. Also added Golden Plover (H.37)

and Lapwing (H.38).

Great to have large numbers of birds around when birding is limited by lack of daylight.

Having enjoyed a good hour here I left Phil and made my way down to Patrington Haven via snakey lane. No lingering Kingfisher but my first Heron (P.79) of the year was fishing in the channel. A lone male Gadwall (P.80) flying over was a nice bonus here.

I then moved onto Skeffling to give Bud a stretch...

While he was doing what dogs do I scanned the estuary. I picked up a raft of ducks...Mallard...Mallard...Mallard...Pintail!! (P.81). I definitely saw 2 males and a female but more were probably present, hidden by the vegetation. Great to see one of my favourite "Duff" birds present on my Patch...

Onto Spurn.

Lots of birds here too. Large numbers of Golden Plover and Lapwing plus both winter thrushes. Also found my first Pied Wagtail (P.82) of the year here!
As the light was fading this character drifted into view, probably pushed down the peninsular by the weather...

Stopped off at the Gas Terminal to see if the Snow Bunts were present. No luck but again plenty of plovers, including a couple of these (P.83)...

Today's highlight was undoubtedly first thing when a dog walk by the sewage works produced a fine female Perergrine (H.39, P.84) on a kill in the adjacent field...definitely worth getting up for!! A return visit to Skeffling revealed c50 Pintail.

Really enjoying getting to know my Patch in winter. I've obtained close views of many species I was unable to get close to/or see at Duff. Not better or worse...just different!

Techno note: My upload button for my photos has disappeared? I use Internet Explorer. It works fine on Google Chrome? Just wondered if anyone out there knows why?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Dream bird

Due to the horrendous weather I thought I'd post one more from the States. Regular followers will know of my passion for ABA birding and Texas in particular.

November '82 produced Britain's only record in Cornwall. Texas has one at the moment which is also a big deal for the lone star State, it being a western bird.

An amazing bird...

Down to the sewage works early doors to see if I can find some Snow Buntings...whatever the weather!!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Across the pond

A few thoughts from the US of A.

Any excuse for a few more pics from my trip to Chicago...hope you like them...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

They're back?

Early last year I bumped into Phil Jones from Withernsea at the sewage works. We got chatting and he informed me that there were some Snow Buntings present on the clifftop.

He offered to show them to me and we walked back to view. He'd been watching them for a few weeks and they remained loyal to the area for quite a while.

Well, well...I got a text from him this afternoon informing me that Snow Buntings had indeed returned to the same area! Same plus others...or different birds? Who knows...who cares...just great news!!

Fortunately I was released early from training today. so I had time to "have a go" just before dusk. Unfortunately by the time I'd picked my gear up from home and reached the site it had clouded over and was getting dark.

I walked the clifftop south for c400yds but no joy. There were however large numbers of thrushes (c400) that had obviously just arrived. I managed to pick out a few Redwing (H.32, P.75) and a Song Thrush (H.33, P76).

Phil did fare better however and managed this photo of them on the beach...

67 birds

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Feed the birds

It's cold out there...

...but I just experienced Thunder and Lightening?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Great Moment

Started to the north at Hilston and quickly picked up a group of fine Yellowhammers (P.71). BIG bonus came in the form of a male Merlin (P.72) shooting across the stubble! Greylag Goose (P.73) was also added here.

I then gave Phil a ring and asked if he fancied trying for the Treecreeper at "Big Wood". He did, so we met in With' and headed out there. We gave it a good hour but couldn't locate it or much else...although we did flush a few Woodcock.

We returned via snakey lane and I managed to locate a decent group of Fieldfare (c.80) but no Redwing could be filtered from the mass. Sods law deemed that more Yellowhammers (H. 29) appeared in the same tree...after going up to Hilston! Still they were a village Lifer (123)!!...Stock Dove (H30, L.124) being another. Finally viewed a Kestrel (H.31) within the village boundary.

After lunch I had a walk with Bud south along the beach from Easington. We reached Beacon Ponds after much swimming in the sea...the dog that is! I started to scan with the bins for the reported Whooper Swan. A couple were distant so I walked nearer...all Mute.

Then came one of those moments that remind me why I do this. I was just about to leave and decided to have one last scan...over the wall came a Swan...a Whooper Swan (S.51, P.74).

Saturday, 12 January 2013


The day didn't pan out as I expected. We got delayed at the garage (there's a shock!) which meant we didn't leave Hull till 11.30.

It seemed rude not to pass the GGS at Market Weighton...

Another classic record shot?
I took the above through the scope at about 100yds as I was pushed for time. Some chaps were closer but not sure how they got there?

Onward...dropped Louise off at the designer outlet...then haircut...then Duff. I enjoyed the usual fare for 90 minutes with nothing particularly noteworthy. The water level is still high resulting in the birds being widely dispersed around the valley.

Back on the Patch tomorrow...

Friday, 11 January 2013

TGIF, living for the weekend etc etc

Another week of honest toil is complete in my quest to fulfil my target. D-day on Tuesday.

Now it's playtime!

Got to go over to York tomorrow. So Louise (who notched a SEO today near Hollym) is going shopping and I'm having my first stint at "the Duff".

Report tomorrow evening...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


courtesy of Rich Willison
Hoping this cracker will drift south for the weekend?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Haves and have-nots

Reflecting on my sightings so far this year (not much else to do Birding wise with the long dark evenings) it was interesting to see what I had actually managed to connect with on my Patch.

With the new fashion of "foot it" up and running and being taken part in by quite a few of my fellow bloggers I feel a bit of a lush driving around in my car so far...at least for part of the time.

I'm still intending to have a go...time will tell?

Anyway, back to my sightings. Below is a list of birds that I would expect to see at this time of year on my Patch but as yet remain elusive...

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

Greylag Goose (Anser anser)

Greater Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer)

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)

European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)

Coot (Fulica atra)

Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)

Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)

Razorbill (Alca torda)

Little Owl (Athene noctua)

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus [spinoletta])

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

Redwing (Turdus iliacus)

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Coal Tit (Parus ater)

Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis flammea cabaret)

Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus)

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)

Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

Some surprising absentees...still, plenty to go at on Saturday!!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

A Grand Day!

Rewarded for an early start today down snakey lane with great views of Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl (sat in the roadside hedge at 5m).

Next to Out Newton but no joy with the Little Owl.

Great joy though with a magnificent fly-by skein of Pink-footed Geese...

Kilnsea Wetlands next but still no Geese here...at least for me. The radio informed me, through the voice of Barry Spence that there was a Coot on the canal...again...not for me. I did bump into the locals doing the Michael Clegg birdrace and this character taking it easy in the triangle...

Siskin were mentioned in the Crown and Anchor car park...I managed to see them later in the day (S.50, P70). A Whooper Swan was reported from Long Bank but I didn't connect.

I did pass this rather dapper Kestrel looking for his lunch...

VERY healthy population on the Patch

So, that's it for now...or maybe not!

A triumvirate of shots from Phil Jones that you might like...I did!

Far Ings

Ashbyville, Scunthorpe

Kilnsea Wetlands

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Back in the saddle

Managed to pick up a "virus" for New Year so I've been laid low for a few days. Felt a tad better today so I was keen to make the most of the weekend before resuming training next week.

Started with a fine male Bullfinch from the lounge window. Then a look on the sea produced Goldeneye (2 adult males) and Wigeon (a lone male) both being Holmpton lifers! This brings my total to 123. Plenty still to go at.

No sign of any geese at Kilnsea Wetlands.

I then made my way to Patrington along snakey lane and added both partridges to my year list...in the same field!

Finished off at Skeffling where I managed a couple of Twite and a distant SEO...

On the way home I passed RAF Holmpton. As I turned a sharp bend another SEO was flying along the road directly towards me!!

for the record!

I've re-jigged my tabs at the top of the blog for the New Year if you wish to follow my efforts?

Good Birding...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

First Footing

Did a totally unplanned trip around the Patch today to get the list started. Great weather which added to the day. Scored a modest 56 species and didn't enjoy much luck.

Highlights were 40 Pink-footed Geese heading south down the peninsula early doors...

and one of the two LTD on Beacon Ponds (very late doors?)...

Greenshank was also a surprise at Beacon Ponds.

Many glaring omissions on the day but who cares, I'll get 'em later!

Couldn't return home without finding a Barn Owl. Quite a challenge tonight but I did it at 16.46...chuffed...

Exposure 5/8 of a second!

For the record I saw 192 species last year.

I hope 2013 is good to you...and me!!