Monday, 23 September 2013

Brough Haven and Welton Waters

Today I decided to visit a new area, Brough Haven and Welton Waters, by the Humber estuary.
As I left sunny Hull down the M62, the fog was thick by the Humber. It was foggy also on Brough Haven and it didn't clear until about ten o'clock. Brough Haven is a natural inlet with mudflats, reed beds and saltmarsh onto the Humber estuary. With the thick fog I could only tell a Black-headed gull, some mallards and a redshank, but there were many early birds around the car park. I started my walk on the bank of the Humber. A Chiffchaff called frantically from some willows, echoed by another one in the distance. The spider webs decorated with dew were very evident with the backdrop of fog. A Meadow Pipit settled on the fence by the aerodrome, giving me some opportunity for a photo. I walked on the bridleway across the air field. There was a large flock of Lapwing on the runway, and some Reed Buntings. Loose flocks of Skylarks chirruped above, as the fog cleared. The rolling hills of the Wolds appeared in the distance.
I reached a little copse. On the wheat stubble field on my left I spot half a dozen Curlews.
A flowering Ivy on a hedgerow, now in the sun, provided some nectar for many wasps and a couple of brilliant Red Admirals. Hawkers (likely Migrant) and Common Darters started to hunt.
As I reached the watersports pit a Grey Heron flew off. I could spot some Magpies and Carrion Crows in the distance, feeding on something white I took for a plastic bag. I regretted not taking some shots, as when I got closer and the corvids had dispersed I realised it was a dead mute swan.
 In the watersports pit there were a couple of (live) Mute Swans, a fishing little Grebe and some moorhens. I could hear geese calling in the distance, although I failed to see them. I noticed a raptor flying high over the main lake, a female or immature Marsh Harrier, which was being mobbed by hirundines.
Some more wildfowl was present in the fishing complex, although I couldn't get very good views. A Great Spotted Woodpecker fed on a damaged tree trunk. Gadwall, Wigeon some tufted ducks and Coots were visible.
As I returned by the path on the Humber bank, there were dozens of Common Darters, several pairs mating, and possibly also a migrant hawker pair. Butterflies were also more obvious, some Speckled Woods, some Small Whites and many, many Small Tortoiseshells, the latter feeding on Thistles, Ragwort and Dandelion. Red Clover, Greater Knapweed and White Dead-nettles were also flowering.
I had nice view of the marsh in the middle of the airfield from the bank. A grey heron was on the shore. Three mute swans circled three times flying over me until they left towards the east. The flock of Lapwings was now on the green field by the marsh, with starlings, which kept darting up, catching insects.
 The ebbing tide had exposed the mudflats by the time I got to Brough Haven. Some Shelduck, a flock of Black-tailed godwits, and Teal were feeding on it, making a frantic, splashing noise with their bills filtering the mud. An avocet was also resting amongst the godwits.
 The walk was about 7 km, very pleasant indeed, with a diversity of habitats, a tally of 44 birds overall, many insects and beautiful scenery.
Dew on garden spider web
Mating Common Darters
Shelduck feeding on the mud
Grey heron
Black-tailed Godwit
Large white caterpillar
Small Tortoiseshell on Ragwort
Small Tortoiseshells on thistles
The view toward the airfield and the wolds
Small Tortoiseshell, Common Carder bee and the hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri on knapweed
Chiffchaff and a cloud of flying insects
A flock of Lapwing over the Humber
Gadwall pair
Barge and reeds in the Humber
Mute Swan on watersports pit
Perfectly still water in the first pond
Speckled Wood
Watersports pit
Red Admiral on Ivy
Reed Bunting
Meadow Pipit

More information
Hull Valley Wildlife group has a page on the area. Here.
Welton Waters site at Birdnerd. Here.

Location Map

View Larger Map

Bird List
  1. Avocet
  2. Black-headed Gull
  3. Black-tailed Godwit
  4. Blackbird
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Carrion Crow
  7. Chaffinch
  8. Chiffchaff
  9. Coot
  10. Cormorant
  11. Curlew
  12. Dunnock
  13. Gadwall
  14. Goldfinch
  15. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  16. Great Tit
  17. Greenfinch
  18. Grey Heron
  19. Jackdaw
  20. Lapwing
  21. Linnet
  22. Little Grebe
  23. Long-tailed Tit
  24. Magpie
  25. Mallard
  26. Marsh Harrier
  27. Meadow Pipit
  28. Moorhen
  29. Mute Swan
  30. Pochard
  31. Redshank
  32. Reed Bunting
  33. Robin
  34. Shelduck
  35. Skylark
  36. Song Thrush
  37. Sparrowhawk
  38. Starling
  39. Swallow
  40. Teal
  41. Tufted Duck
  42. Wigeon
  43. Woodpigeon
  44. Wren

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Cows, yellow wagtails and Dor beetle in Beverley Westwood

It was a very warm day for the start of the autumn. We had a leisurely walk from Beverley to the mill and back. The cows were grazing, the hedgerows and bushes loaded with haws and blackberries and the grass busy with daddy-long legs. On the way back from the mill, we noticed a little loose flock of Yellow Wagtails, with a few starlings, feeding by some cows. The flock included some birds of the year, walking just by the cows legs and heads, taking advantage of the mammals flushing flies and small insects.
 In the woods, on a cowpat, the kids discover a shiny Dor Beetle, Geotrupes stercorarius, the second highlight of the day also linked to cattle, as adults and larvae in this species feed on cow dung.

Starling and Yellow wagtail on a cow's shadow
 The view towards Black Mill
The black mill
A very pregnant looking cow

Dor Beetle, Geotrupes stercorarius

Bird list

  1. Robin
  2. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  3. Carrion Crow
  4. Woodpigeon
  5. Goldfinch
  6. Yellow Wagtail
  7. Jackdaw
  8. Starling
  9. Great tit
  10. Magpie

Monday, 16 September 2013

Geese and dragonflies at North Cave wetlands

The weather held on in the morning and I quite enjoyed my trip to North Cave Wetlands. The wind wasn't too bad and, although chilly out of the sun, there were quite a few sunny spells. A large flock of Greylags, with a white feral one and a sprinkling of Canada were in charge of the soundtrack, as skeins got excited and flew around the reserve.
 Teal were around in good numbers, with some Shoveler too.
I was quite keen to see the sandpipers. In Island lake there was a Common Sandpiper, walking by the shore and then going back to the starting point. Their Spanish name 'andarrios' (river walkers) suits them beautifully.
A couple of Little Ringed plovers and Meadow Pipits were also present on one of the islands.
At the lee side of Turret hide, dragonflies (Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers) were active. This was also the case in all the sheltered corners of the reserve.
I continued north from Turret hide. On the large patch of Rosebay Willowherb a warbler called 'tu-ee' repeatedly. At a particular time, it sang and its identity was revealed, a Chiffchaff.  On Snipe field, a Wheatear allowed me to approach and I watched it for a while. A large flock of goldfinches with many young fed on the teasels and burdocks by the north hedge.
  There was little to see from Crosslands hide, but for the resting Great Black-backed gull and fishing cormorants on the silt pond.
  In Main Lake, lots of fishing birds. A cormorant, a Kingfisher flying right nest to the hide, and a Little Grebe fishing for its young. I also managed to see a Green Sandpiper, which was often being followed on its restless walk up and down the lake shore by a common Sandpiper.
  Butterfly wise, I saw a few Speckled Woods and a couple of whites, one of them a Green-veined white.
  A small flowering Ivy by the entrance was teeming with wasps and hoverflies, including Eristalis sp. and Myathropa florea.
Migrant hawker
The view from Turret hide
Common Sandpiper
 Male Common Darter
Great, Black-backed gull, BH gulls and Cormorant
The lone Black Swan in Carp Lake
Male Common Darter
Another Migrant Hawker
Little Grebe feeding young
Green Sandpiper
Speckled Wood
Green-veined White
Bird list
  1. Black Swan        
  2.  Black-headed Gull        
  3.  Blackbird        
  4.  Blue Tit        
  5.  Buzzard        
  6.  Canada Goose        
  7.  Carrion Crow        
  8.  Chiffchaff        
  9.  Common Gull        
  10.  Common Sandpiper        
  11.  Coot        
  12.  Cormorant        
  13.  Feral Pigeon        
  14.  Gadwall        
  15.  Goldfinch        
  16.  Great Black-backed Gull        
  17.  Great Crested Grebe        
  18.  Green Sandpiper        
  19.  Greylag Goose        
  20.  House Martin        
  21.  House Sparrow        
  22.  Jackdaw        
  23.  Kestrel        
  24.  Kingfisher        
  25.  Lapwing        
  26.  Little Grebe        
  27.  Little Ringed Plover        
  28.  Magpie        
  29.  Mallard        
  30.  Meadow Pipit        
  31.  Moorhen        
  32.  Mute Swan        
  33.  Pied Wagtail (yarrellii)        
  34.  Pochard        
  35.  Redshank        
  36.  Reed Bunting        
  37.  Robin        
  38.  Rook        
  39.  Shoveler        
  40.  Swallow        
  41.  Teal        
  42.  Tufted Duck        
  43.  Wheatear        
  44.  Woodpigeon     

Monday, 9 September 2013

Tophill Low visit

Just a quick one, as it was not an amazingly interesting visit to Tophill Low. The highlights, quite close Grey Herons in North Lagoon and Helmpholme Meadows, where managed to have the camera switched off as the heron got a little fish. In North Marsh I only had a fleeting view of a kingfisher. Lots of Speckled Woods about and a single Painted Lady. It became quite cloudy as the morning advanced and the butterflies disappeared. There were some hawkers and darter dragonflies about, but, although pretty sure there was a Brown Hawker patrolling in North Marsh, I didn't manage any photos.
Malayan tapirs? No, just belted Galloway cattle, grazing Helmphome Meadows, a great sight. 
Painted Lady
 Bird List
  1. Black-headed Gull        
  2.  Blue Tit        
  3.  Bullfinch        
  4.  Carrion Crow        
  5.  Chaffinch        
  6.  Collared Dove        
  7.  Common Gull        
  8.  Cormorant        
  9.  Gadwall       
  10.  Goldcrest        
  11.  Great Black-backed Gull        
  12.  Great Crested Grebe        
  13.  Great Spotted Woodpecker        
  14.  Great Tit        
  15.  Grey Heron        
  16.  Jackdaw        
  17.  Kingfisher        
  18.  Little Grebe        
  19.  Long-tailed Tit        
  20.  Mallard        
  21.  Marsh Tit        
  22.  Moorhen        
  23.  Mute Swan        
  24.  Pheasant        
  25.  Pochard        
  26.  Robin        
  27.  Stock Dove        
  28.  Swallow        
  29.  Treecreeper        
  30.  Tufted Duck        
  31.  Wigeon        
  32.  Woodpigeon        
  33.  Wren