Monday, 30 November 2020

December Targets

Try not to laugh...but I try to pace my sightings when Year Listing. No point gobbling them all up and then having nothing to try for later. Especially when you get two bites at Winter. I've tried to spread the word on that one to the Young Twitchers. However, I feel it's mainly fell on deaf ears...alas! Have to say I was guilty of this trait myself in the past!

So...what's left for me (excluding rarities) on my Holmpton LIFE list?

Barnacle Goose
Taiga Bean Goose
Tundra Bean Goose
White-fronted Goose
Bewick's Swan
Tufted Duck
Common Eider
Red-breasted Merganser
Jack Snipe
Iceland Gull
Black-throated Diver
Little Egret
Grey Wagtail
Lesser Redpoll
Lapland Bunting

Then maybe something new?

Velvet Scoter
Green Sandpiper
Glaucous Gull
Mealy Redpoll something else!?

Plenty of Seawatching required, starting tomorrow with a Northerly forecast...

I saw my 5th Woodcock of the Autumn today flying along Snakey Lane but the Winter Thrush flock appears to have moved on. I've looked for the Little Owl again on a few occasions but no joy. The lack of Lapwings in the area is remarkable; large numbers on the Humber but very scarce around Holmpton.  I've been checking the fields...a lot!

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Beating the gloom

Yesterday morning found us down at Old Hive were a couple of Stonechats were present...

No sign of the lingering Snow Buntings on Mill Hill. Bud waited patiently...kind of...

After an essential trip to Hull  we finished the "day" off with the sunset trip to Skeffling...

Another fine view was the sight of 3 Short-eared Owls towards Welwick. Always distant but performing well in the fading light...

Two of the four Pintail present in the twilight...

Today started on a gloomy Snakey Lane with plenty of winter thrushes about (c300)...

Always a treat. "Our" Mistle Thrush was also present. I also picked out 4 Corn Buntings...

Next I looked for the Little Owl but it didn't show. However, c50 Curlews was an excellent record...

5 Grey Partridges were also present...

Blackbirds seemed to be everywhere! No bad thing. Bud's Woodcock flush count has risen to 4.

The "murk" increased as the day progressed, so I headed home to watch the Footy.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Misty Morning

Yesterday's forecast turned out to be incorrect...what a surprise! We carried on regardless...we always do...

Bud flushed another Woodcock almost immediately. I then heard that familiar call...again. I was having a good run with Whooper Swans, I couldn't SEE them though, through the thick mist! Eventually I picked them out...just. 15 birds flying away...unfortunately! However, one bird decided to return and fly East down the Estuary...

Most views of Harriers and Owls were distant today but no matter,, they enhanced the exercise, as per usual.

Bit closer...

The sun never made it through in four hours but we had a good time...

BIG bonus on the drive home when I came across my first Little Owl (P.151, H.136) of the Year!

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Listing Context?

What's the best "category" of tick?

World, British, Patch etc etc. As you're aware I've travelled to all parts of Britain and most of the US and Texas over the years, seeking birds and adventure. This morning I got a surprise addition just after leaving the front door! What could it be I hear you cry?

As I started to walk down the lane, I heard a familiar haunting call over my head. Surely not? Yep...Whooper Swans (G.71). I looked up just in time to see 5 birds powering NW through the mist just above house height. A species that has a special place in my on my "garden list" Amazing!!!
A great moment and FULLY appreciated.

The weather forecast is promising for tomorrow, so hopefully a nice walk in the sunshine...and a few birds.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Humber Walking

Past few days I've had a few strolls down the Humber Bank for exercise with my lad. Adds interest to "just a walk". I've had variable success with the key birds but every visit has been notable. I've seen Hen Harriers, Marsh Harriers and Short-eared Owls. Never taken for granted. Large numbers of Lapwings and Curlews are present. Today as the tide was coming in, clouds of Knots were swirling around the foreshore...

The down side has been the light or lack of it! TypicalNovember weather now with thick cloud and only breif sightings of the sun. Anyway I'll post a few "soft focus"! images to give a flavour of my visits.

Definitely livens a walk up, no matter what the weather. Hopefully some brighter days to come...

Sunday, 22 November 2020

MEGA Irony

News broke his afternoon...

14.17.  MEGA: RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET Barra. One on Island between 12th and 19th of November but no further sign since.

This news was obviously suppressed...rightly so. I won't retrace my tale of woe from earlier in the Autumn (it still rankles), well not too much! However I can't see much/any difference between Barra and Tiree regarding COVID 19...or Yell for that matter? Small vulnerable communities succeptable to contamination. News should NOT have been released. What did they expect would happen? Comments made regarding travel advice were somewhat "mixed"...from initially just "wear a mask" to eventually (dare I suggest when some had connected) "don't travel"? My cynical nature coming to the fore again. Dear me! The chaps on Barra must have deliberated about their decision and I commend them wholeheartedly for making the right one, as I did three times by not travelling. Let's not forget they have to live there.

Regarding comments this afternoon online, many are agreeing it was the right decision. How many of those though would have been straight there if news had been released immediately? I'll leave it there!!

A question of integrity.

Let's just hope this mess can be sorted soon and we can all get back to enjoying our hobby fully and not be restricted in any matter what your preference.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Iceland Gull - Spurn Tick (312)

This morning's Seawatch was abandoned post-haste when at 9.20 my phone alerted me to the presence of an Iceland Gull on Kilnsea Wetlands! A potential Spurn addition in the offing. News gets out QUICK down the road and is much appreciated. 

No problem making the short trip and I was soon gathering my stuff in the car park and making my way down the path towards the hide. I could see the group of Gulls at the eastern end of the reserve, so I made my way down to the viewing screen and joined the two Birders that were already present. I was given the great news that the "bird was still present"! Frustratingly it was tucked away at the back of the group...

The bird was preening and didn't seem settled. Sure enough, after around 5 minutes it took off...

Iceland Gull (P.148, S.80)

The "white-winger" headed over the floodbank towards Beacon Ponds still standing out like a sore thumb! It circled a couple of times and then fortunately returned to "the Wetlands"...

A long overdue addition, although again, now I have more free time I guess I'm inevitably going to connect more...what a shame! I've earned it lol!

A lovely bonus was this close Red-breasted Merganser (P.149, S.80) in the nearest channel to the screen...

Friday, 20 November 2020


Birthday bonus (just thought I'd drop that in!) today. We all had a walk along the clifftop, in dull, cold conditions. This will sound smart but it's not meant to. As we were returning my mind drifted to birds I hadn't seen yet this year. I was going to have a walk up Seaside to try and get lucky with a Woodcock. I decided to join the good lady for a coffee first. As we were returning to the Cottage a bird exploded out of a neighbouring garden. Yep...Woodcock! (P.147, H.134).

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Out on the Briny

Up to Cliff Farm early for a good sesh from the cliff top...

The V70 was the wind break!
A Great Northern Diver (P.144, H.131) hurtling South was a good start! then at 8.21 a messsage from Richard...Juv Sabs N!!

Looks like I missed it! Not one of yesterday's predictions.

I continued. A lone Shag (P.145,H.132) South was a good year tick. My mate was settled now after countless tosses of the ball over the car...

When you're mainly looking through your scope, you're obviously prone to miss things elsewhere...and while throwing the ball! Today I had a "partial miss". On one occasion when I lifted my head, I noticed a large bird heading directly towards me at great speed! After the "fingers and thumbs" moment I managed to grab a few blurred images as it arrowed off towards Patrington!

As it passed...

A classic!

then past...

...and away...

Having shared the images with other birders and having had time to "have a proper look" I'm going for Red-throated Diver...maybe a disorientated young bird? The wings do look slim but having looked at other images...not unusual. Whatever, it was a memorable sight! I had around 30 more passing.

There was a decent movement of Guillimots North. Then, a tiny Auk with a dark underwing whirring North...Little Auk (P.146, H.133). Again, not one of yesterday's predictions! I also had great views of a "close in" Razorbill briefly on the water.

Surprisingly, I didn't see any Wildfowl?

A good day with a lively sea.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Predicted Birds

After yesterday's blank I tried the Sewage late morning and walked South. A message from Richard informed me he'd "had" 14 Snow Buntings South plus 11 Whooper Swans! Timing eh? Still, my hoped for prediction came true...if a day late!

I started to walk South with Bud (guess that's a default situation). The wind was strong, VERY strong. So strong, it was hard to hold my bins and camera still!! The tide was out enabling me to scan the beach. I picked up a couple of Turnstones in flight. As I approached the Llama Farm (a farm/house with two Llama's, not a farm that produces Llama's!) I noticed a small group of birds bobbing around in a familiar manner. At last, I'd found some Snow Buntings (P.143, H.130) ; seven of them!

The pics didn't turn out too great (I blame the wind) but here's a few anyway...

The birds were very flighty, I was chuffed to pick them out on the beach at one stage...

Four...I think?

Also noteworthy was a flock of 28 Ringed Plovers in the cliff top field...

A sample

That pops me up to a modest 130 for the year in the Village. Still some glaring ommisions, some of which I may "get back", others long gone. 

Birds Missed...

Garden Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher

Birds I may still see IMHO...

Bean Geese
White-fronted Goose
Tufted Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Jack Snipe
Little Auk
Black-throated Diver
Great Northern Diver
Little Egret
Little Owl
Grey Wagtail
Lesser Redpoll

Then maybe something new...

Velvet Scoter
Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull
Lapland Bunting
...and many more!

Let's start tomorrow...with a NW wind forecast?

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Hard "Work"

Morning walk at Skeffling...afternoon walk from Old Hive to the second Pill Box (north of Seaside Road). Deadly quiet in a strong Southwesterly. This afternoon I was hoping for a Snow Bunting or some Whooper Swan movement (birds were present in Filey Bay earlier in the day) but it wasn't to be. I tried though. 

Important to be out and about in the ever decreasing daylight. 

Monday, 16 November 2020

The Humber

More Humber walking today. Late start but we arrived at Skeffling around 11 and yet again headed West. It was breezy but clear. We walked all the way to Welwick. Glad we did as I had a "purple patch" after a slow start.

First a distant SEO along the flood bank which soon disappeared into thin air? Then a Male Marsh Harrier drifted West over the saltmarsh. Soon afterwards a ring-tail Hen Harrier appeared out of the set-aside...

It kept its distance but I managed to get something decent...

Owl-like head

...and then...

GWE (P.143)

A nice surprise!

It's going to be a long Winter in many ways but our wonderful Hobby is always a tonic. Hope you can get your "fix"...wherever you are? As already stated, I'm fortunate (although it was planned some years ago) to have some quality Winter birding on my "doorstep". I'll try not to be too repetItive but the Humber Estuary WILL play a significant part in my well as Holmpton and Duff (post Lockdown) of course.