Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Flooded Snuff Mill Lane

I had a walk at Snuff Mill Lane in the morning. I am glad I took my wellies, as the site was quite wet, the ditches full, paths muddy and scrapes flooded, but it was a very mild, sunny day. As I entered the site, I flushed a Kestrel, which settled again not far away on a hawthorn. The Kestrel watched the meadow intently from a hawthorn. It eventually went to the ground, but disappeared from sight, and then I noticed that a doe Roe Deer was resting on the meadow. She spotted me and stood up, watching me with curiosity (top shot).
 I carried on. Chaffinches were in full song, and Bullfinches called their mournful notes from the Hawthorns. I heard the calls of distant geese flying, Pinkfeet! a neat skein, 50 strong passed overhead. Spring is definitely on its way!
Female Kestrel. 
Flooded meadows. 
Magpie. 
Pink-footed geese. 
A flooded ditch. 
A view of a meadow. 
A pair of Mallards feeding on a flooded meadow.
A pair of Pied Wagtails. 
Carrion Crow mobbing Sparrowhawk.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Flooded Wheldrake Ings

Sunday trip was to Wheldrake Ings with Hull Nats. There were reports the reserve was flooded, but water had receded enough that a walk was doable - with wellies - around the reserve. Paths were very muddy and flooded at times, but overall it was a mild day with little wind, although it remained overcast for most of it. Wheldrake Ings, owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, is part of a large National Nature Reserve, the Lower Derwent Valley, which is also a RAMSAR site by its wintering wildfowl.
 A pair of Bullfinches greeted us in the car park by the bridge over the Derwent while Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed in the distance. We watched the large expanse of flooded meadows from the wooden bridge. A large flock of Lapwings and a larger one of Golden Plovers kept being flushed. A Peregrine was soon spotted as the culprit. The Peregrine flew up into the flock, then down and away, at some point it was being followed by the Lapwings. What a fantastic spectacle!
 On the water, lots of Pintail. I'm used to see these ducks in single figures, they were great to watch.
 We also caught up with some Willow Tits and a small flock of Lesser Redpolls. 
The site is quite expansive and links to other small reserves and the Pocklington Canal (which I am still to visit, possibly later in the year). Despite the mud we had a great day, ticking 60 birds species overall.
Female Bullfinch.

Male Bullfinch.
Panel with map of the reserve.
Flood plains of the River Derwent.
Pintail.
More flooded meadows.
Teal on the alert.
Male Roe Deer.
Rover Derwent from the bridge.
A distant Peregrine. 
Lesser Redpoll.  
Barnacle Geese.
A stonefly, Nemoura sp.
lapwing and golden plover.
Flooded path.
One of several Grey Herons coming to roost in the trees by the river.

More information
Wheldrake Ings NR website. Here.
Lower Derwent Valley NNR leaflet. Here.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Fierce seas at Filey

A cold, and mostly cloudy day with strong easterly wind at Filey. We walked the exposed beach and rocky shores to the Brigg with leaky wellies, rock-pooling and birdwatching along the way. It was low tide and a group of Herring Gulls, a Curlew a couple of Redshank and a few Turnstones fed on the sandy beach.
The waves were breaking on the Brigg, squadrons of Gannets steadily passing south, low over the water with the occasional Fulmar and Guillemot. A few Shags were fishing very close to the rocks, where a mixed flock of Knot, Purple Sandpipers and Oystercatchers had to rush from the breaking waves every now and then.
This Redshank looked particularly handsome.
Common cockle, Cerastoderma edule.
Common Hermit Crab, Pagurus bernhardus
This Turnstone was checking underside seaweed. 
Common periwinkle, Littorina littorea
Beadlet Anemone, Actinia equina
Rough periwinkle, Littorina saxatilis.

Sea Foam at the Brigg. 
Flat periwinkle, Littorina obtusata 
Fulmar. 
Blue-rayed limpet, Helcion pellucidum on kelp.
Breaking waves on a sunny spell. 
Dunlin. 
Shags. 
Rock Pipit. 
Knot. 
Fulmar calling. 

Monday, 6 February 2017

No beardies but birds a plenty at Alkborough Flats

Despite the freezing fog, I headed for Alkborough this morning, hoping to add some waders and possibly Bearded Tits to #my200birdyear list. The fog was extremely thick at Hull and I was wondering if I would be able to see anything. Fortunately, the sun was breaking the blanket of fog over the Humber and on arrival it was just misty and soon the sun shone over the frosty reeds. I parked at car park at the bottom of the hill and headed for the central hide.
 There were a couple of birdwatchers already in the hide. I didn't have to wait long for a Water Rail, and then another one! The first one gave great views (top shot). Two Cetti's Warblers called and chased across the opening in front of the hide. A group of Snipe fed on the edge of the reeds. This is one of the best hides I know, there is always something going on, and the morning light is fantastic. A large flock of lapwing were a bit on edge. A crow calling sent them whirling around. Then there were several, at least three Marsh Harriers quartering and occasionally settling on the dead trees. Six spotted Redshank fed frantically on the shallows.
 After a long while I decided to try the river hide, although I was told there were only 'geese'. I'm glad I went as, although the hide was a bit disappointing, the largest flock of Barnacle Geese I've ever seen were feeding on a field nearby. I approached on the river bank path, just enough to get some shots, but as soon as they started looking nervous, turned around.
 I made another stop in the central hide for lunch, and after watching three Pintail and a Common Gull playing with a stick. In the afternoon I went to the tower hide. A Kingfisher was on the pool by the car park, and then flew to the reed bed. The final highlight was a Stonechat by a flooded field just as I was arriving back at the car.
 This is my first visit to this site with no Bearded Tits, and it's too early for another of the site's special birds, Spoonbills, so I will have to come back later in the year.
A view of the reserve near the car park. 
A large flock of Reed Buntings feed on the frosty seedheads of sea aster. 
Little Egret
Snipe.
Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing.
Roosting Lapwings
Spotted redshank foraging.
Lapwing and Golden Plover.
A wading Carrion Crow.
Reed Bunting.
Barnacle Geese.
Barnacle geese in the distance.
Pintail.
Snipe.
Marsh Harrier.
Marsh Harrier.
Marsh Harrier.
Curlew and reflections from the tower hide.
Stonechat.