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...

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


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 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 the song goes. We were soon joined by the cavalry.

My best effort at around 50 yards...

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...

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Vis Mig

Not a disciple but even I can see c50 Swallows on the wires outside my house this morning!

Also a couple of nice post-breeding flocks locally. 200+ Linnets at the Runnel (north end of Holmpton) and 100+ Tree Sparrows at Cliff Farm, Out Newton.

Monday, 13 August 2018

All things relative

Still low level stuff at the moment...BUT there's nothing wrong with that, in my book!
A few more images (through the double glazing) from the Birdy garden. Another young Willow Warbler hopping around on the stones...

Blurred but cute!

The thirsty local House Sparrows...

Bathing Song Thrush...

A young Whitethroat...

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...and a couple from Spurn...

cc Marsh Harrier...

...and finally the wonderful male Red-backed Shrike...

Sightings are all relative...right? Really pleasing to have some birds visiting my tiny garden...and be able to cherry pick down the road.
We're off to the glorious Lake District early Thursday to spend some quality time with my youngest lad Robert and his wife Laura. They're over from Dubai for a short break. Hope the forecast is wrong!!!
My eldest lad Graeme's birthday on Saturday and a family Christening on Sunday!
Autumn Birding will commence on Monday. Bring it on...

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Conservation - it's complicated!

I use social media to glean information about family and friends as well as for my Birdy adventures...and that's that. However, it's impossible not to notice "other" topics and believe me I do try...hard!!!

Like most's a depressing outlook. I won't repeat the gloom here. I'm sure you get the drift.

One topic I will mention, just as an example, is the conflict between conservation organisations. I don't get involved in on-line "discussions" but here's my two penneth...

  • In the 90's I remember well the disagreements between English Nature and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the LDV. Water level disputes amongst others issues regarding Flora and Fauna.

  • Currently we have a well publicized, bitter dispute, down the road at Spurn.

  • The third issue is the RSPB. Seems it's like Marmite! You either love it or hate it. Many criticising the hypocrisy and politics of the organization. Nothing new there. Personally I support it, if only for the fact that it preserves habitat and helps maintain key species, and on occasions, improve ther tenuous foothold. There are some MAGNIFICENT reserves. What's the alternative, more Farmland/Buildings? Also, many disapprovers wouldn't think twice about twitching a rare bird on an RSPB reserve!? Hypocritical?

The sad truth is that it's hard enough to protect what's left of our ever dwindling habitat on our overcrowded island, without Conservation bodies at each others throats. There're more than enough enemies of Wildlife out there...

Wednesday, 1 August 2018


Made it down rather later than anticipated but glad I did!

A bit of exercise and a trim took care of the morning and early afternoon and I eventually arrived in the hide around 3.I had the place to myself which was partly due to it being low tide I guess. No matter, there were birds present and I started to scan. I soon picked up a couple of smart Black-tailed Godwits, accompanied by a Ruff (P.134, S.96) and a single Knot.

Checking through the Gulls I managed to dig out 6 Mediterranean Gulls (P.135, S.97) in various plumages...

A group of foreign Birders visited the hide briefly talking about huge flocks of Cranes somewhere! They asked me if I'd seen anything rare? I told them what I'd seen but they didn't seem impressed. Then another Birder arrived and pointed out a small wader on the left of the LRP (P.136, S.98)! Not a species I've been fortunate enough to see at Spurn very often. The bird performed superbly right in front of the hide...