Monday, 29 September 2014

Foggy North Cliffe Wood

 We arrived at North Cliffe Wood in very dense fog. The silhouettes of gulls and partridges could be just made up in the fields. The light in the woods was quite poor and I had to use the flash more than I would have liked. Despite the almost total lack of sun during our visit, we managed to find a good diversity of invertebrates. The only butterfly on the wing was Speckled Wood, and we had a glimpse of some darters, possibly common, although they didn't settle long enough for photos. We also saw a hornet flying by the edge of the wood.
 Birdwise the highlights were a Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker showing very well, a Jay and several Skylarks passing over.
 As we were about to leave, we spotted a frog hopping across the road making it safely to the other side.
The remains of egg sacs of the tiny spider Paidiscura pallens.
A pair of Drassodes sp. Immature males and female are often found in adjacent cells and mate after reaching adulthood.
Part of a flock of Great Black-Backed gulls resting on the same field as above after the fog lifted.
A harvestman, Paroligolophus agrestis
Black Snail Beetle, Silpha atrata.
Common Groundhopper, Tetrix undulata.
Birch Shieldbug, Elasmostethus intersinctus.
Common Earthball, Scleroderma citrinum (thank you to Rob Jaques for ID)
Male harvestman, Leiobunum rotundum
Himacerus mirmicoides Ant Damsel Bug
Geometridae caterpillar for ID
Spider for ID
Pill Millipede, Glomeris marginata
Pill Millipede, Glomeris marginata

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackbird
  3. Carrion Crow
  4. Chaffinch
  5. Common Gull
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Great Black-backed Gull
  8. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  9. Great Tit
  10. Herring Gull
  11. Jackdaw
  12. Jay
  13. Long-tailed Tit
  14. Pheasant
  15. Red-legged Partridge
  16. Robin
  17. Rook
  18. Skylark
  19. Sparrowhawk
  20. Treecreeper
  21. Woodpigeon
  22. Wren 

Monday, 22 September 2014

South Landing revisited

A wonderful, sunny, almost still, warm day in the sheltered spot which is South Landing this morning. The car park, was busy with song and call of various birds, amongst them a Chiffchaff, Tree Sparrows, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. The tide was almost at its lowest when we arrived, revealing the carpet of seaweed and rock pools. On the beach, three Wheatears and one Grey and two Pied Wagtails. Not many waders, they seemed to have moved on with the mild weather. There was a congregation of Great Black-backed gulls and Cormorants on the rocks in the distance, with a Curlew and an Oystercatcher around too. A Tawny Owl called from the woods at midday.
 A pair of Kestrels had a scuffle with another one over the cliffs, and five Buzzards circled overhead.
Out at sea a young Gannet passed north, three Common Scoters were flushed by a boat and a small group of Sandwich terns flew past.
 After rock-pooling for a while we had a picnic by the visitor centre and had great views of a flock of Barnacle geese migrating, something I had not seen before.
 A walk in the woods revealed one, possibly two Treecreepers. On a sheltered spot three Common Darters and a Migrant Hawker. Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White and Speckled Wood were on the wing. While watching the beach from the top of the cliff, Lucy pointed at a seal. The seal, flippers up, tried to stay on top of a rock, but the tide was coming up fast and, very reluctantly, the seal ended up having to dive in the water. A great end for a great day out.
The cormorant and gull meeting point, with Bridlington at the background
A view at low tide
Two buzzards of five circling overhead
Male Stonechat
Common Hawker
Male Migrant Hawker
A young common seal trying not to get wet as the tide was coming up
A Song thrush's anvil
beach treasure, two large Edible Crabs and a Dog Whelk found by the tideline

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Migration time at Hedon Haven

A not so good forecast for the morning did not bode well for a trip to Hedon Haven, in the outskirts of Hull with Rob Jaques. It was drizzly, visibility was poor and the tide was almost at its highest point, so waders were almost either non-existent or non-visible. A flock of Swallows sat on a ploughed field awaiting better weather conditions. There were also many Meadow Pipits, and a few Yellow wagtails on the grassy bank path. The usual cormorants perched on the wooden posts on the Humber. we reached the haven itself. The drizzle quietly stopped and it warmed up. The swallows took flight and started to feed high as soon as the clouds lifted. The white retreats of Furrow spiders (Larinioides cornutus), glistening with dropplets of water, not all of them occupied, stood out from the dried seed-heads of docks.
 We walked up Hedon Haven following the tide. Just a few mallard on the water and two teal. Robert spotted a Little Egret upstream (above shot), which was nice. We disturbed a young Roe Deer at the other side of the fence of the Salt End chemical works.
 We crossed the haven and walked downstream. On the brownfield and concreted areas of the works, we spotted two Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. 
 On the way back a Wheatear fed on the field with Linnets and Meadow Pipits. A Flock of Golden Plover circled over, seemingly looking for the mud to reappear with the retreating tide.
 While we had a bite by the little beach in Paull, a Sparrowhawk flew low over the bank and over the estuary, turning a corner over the ruined barges. It looked like it was a circuit it had practised before to surprise birds feeding on the shore.
Larinioides cornutus on dock seed head
Young Cormorant, with the Salt End chemical plant in the background
Young Roe Deer
One of the two Devil's Coach Horse beetle we saw, displaying its weapons. 
Another shot of the Devil's Coach Horse in defensive posture, a large beetle, at almost 3 cm long
Golden Plover flock
Swallow flock flying very low in circles over the grassy bank

Bird list
  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackbird
  3. Blue Tit
  4. Carrion Crow
  5. Chaffinch
  6. Cormorant
  7. Curlew
  8. Golden Plover
  9. Goldfinch
  10. Great Tit
  11. Grey Wagtail
  12. House Martin
  13. House Sparrow
  14. Kestrel
  15. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  16. Linnet
  17. Little Egret
  18. Long-tailed Tit
  19. Mallard
  20. Meadow Pipit
  21. Pheasant
  22. Pied/White Wagtail
  23. (Pied Wagtail (yarrellii))
  24. Robin
  25. Rock Dove
  26. (Feral Pigeon)
  27. Rook
  28. Sand Martin
  29. Shelduck
  30. Sparrowhawk
  31. Starling
  32. Swallow
  33. Teal
  34. Wheatear
  35. Woodpigeon
  36. Wren
  37. Yellow Wagtail

Monday, 8 September 2014

Post Migration Festival at Spurn Head

Having missed the Migration Festival this weekend, and given the pleasant weather, I decided to head to Spurn this morning. There were many Swallows and House Martins over the Blue Bell, and a Pied Wagtail and a flock of Linnets on the car park. A couple of goldfinches fed on the seeds of haws on the hedge, handling them with their feet.
  I walked over the seaside cliff towards the Warren. The sea has eroded the cliff quite a bit since my last visit and sand and dune vegetation is invading the path. Yellow wagtails fed by the cows. In the next field there were many Whinchats and Meadow Pipits, and a Kestrel hovering near the Warren.
 I hadn't visited since the storms that cut off the peninsula and I decided to reach the breached area. It is now a low lying beach, which looks like it is still often breached, with the road now gone. A couple of Little Egrets fed on the saltmarsh, taking advantage of the pools cut off by the low tide. A Wheatear sat on a rock. I walked back on the estuary side, but the path disappeared at some point, so I had to go back onto the road. Shelduck and redshank fed on the saltmarsh, but, with no telescope, could see little else, as many birds where distant with the low tide. I took Canal Scrape. A buck Roe Deer fed on the long grass on a field, raising his head every now and then. At some point it walked to the middle of the field and sat down, only its antlers sticking out from the grass.
 A photographer revealed the position of a Pied Flycatcher. A female Redstart in another garden was a nice surprise.
 Several birdwatchers I met mentioned the Wryneck in Beacon Lane, so I headed towards it. No trace of it. I had a light lunch on the dunes and before leaving I decided to walk on Beacon Lane again, just in case. Then the Wryneck landed in front of me, on a gate, not four meters away from me. I could take several shots of it on the gate and then on a tree. I got to see another Pied Flycatcher in a garden by the Blue Bell, where a Spotted Flycatcher disputed the best positions in the garden with it, and with this it was time to go back home, with a feeling that I hadn't quite missed the weekend party. What a great way to end the trip. 
young linnet?
Yellow wagtail right by the cow's head
Flock of Whinchats
Sea Aster
Meadow Pipits
Male Swallow
A view towards the lighthouse
The breached part of the spit where the old road was, looking towards Spurn (island!?). The lighthouse on the far right
Little Egret
Little Egret
A small bee likely Colletes halophilus, a species that is strongly associated to Sea Aster and nests in stabilised dunes (thanks to Ian Beavis for the likely ID).
Shelduck and Redshank
A very approachable buck roe deer
He sat down after feeding, only the tips of its antlers visible amongst the grass.
Sunbathing woodpigeon
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Female Redstart
Young Starlings
Spotted Flycatcher