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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Last birdwatch of the year

Final birdwatch of the year and I headed off to Hornsea Mere with hopes of a final year tick in the form of a Long Tailed Duck, despite a good search it was not to be though, Kirkholme Point was fairly windy and a lot of stuff was quite distant but the Gulls hanging around for scraps looked good in the morning sunshine, I went to check out the new Wassand hide, it offers good views over Decoy Bay and there was certainly a good selection of Wildfowl up that end but nothing out of the ordinary then after being informed the Long Tailed Duck had been seen from the second field on the South side late morning I decided to go back to Kirkholme Point for another scan but still no joy, as I left I stopped halfway along the North side and made my way to the little hide there, it was restricted viewing as I couldn’t get in the hide but it was closer to the birds on that part of the Mere but that last chance soon faded, a couple of Buzzards cavorting in a nearby sheep field were a joy to watch though. So a final talley of 268 for the year with three new Birds and four new Butterflies, see what the new year has in store, a happy one to you all.

maybe next year I'll get close enough for a decent pic of one of these

Sunday, 27 December 2015

East Coast jaunt

Out with Mark and we took a little jaunt out to the East Coast today starting at Scarborough where a pair of Peregrines were flying around as we parked up along Marine Drive, one perched up but although it was nice light it was too high up to photograph, at the Harbour three Black Necked Grebes remained and were joined by a Red Throated Diver but they weren’t playing ball today and we only managed two brief sessions with them, after a while we moved on and went to look for a Short Eared Owl that had been seen earlier on Castle Hill but there were a lot of people around by this time and we deemed it had probably moved on so we headed off to have lunch at Holbeck, there were only a handful of Black Headed Gulls when we arrived but by the time we had finished they had been joined by three Med Gulls. We carried on to Filey where we scanned a fairly quiet Bay, we managed to find the 1st winter drake Surf Scoter that’s been around for a couple of weeks though, this making it a hat trick of Surf Scoter sightings this year, the Dams was also pretty quiet although single Pink Footed and Barnacle Geese were with the Greylags and Canada’s, final bird of the day was a Barn Owl out hunting near Hunmanby as we drove back home over the Wolds.
Red Throated Diver

Drying time

BN Grebe session 1 in the sun

BN Grebe session 2 in the shade

making interesting patterns in the water

Med Gull at Holbeck

Pink Footed

and Barnacle Goose at Filey Dams

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Larking about in the Surf

I managed to drag Mark out today although he was still suffering a bit with a cold he can't seem to shake, Teesside was deemed the best bet and we started at Hartlepool Headland where three Shore Larks were on the beach just North of Steetley Pier, nearby three Snow Buntings were on some waste ground near the de Brus tunnel, this whole area North of the cemeteries is under development though so it may be the last winter for these birds there. After enjoying some good views we moved on calling at Jackson’s Landing where there were five Red Breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe but no Divers today, a few Waders and the Med Gull were at Newburn Bridge and further down the road off the Staincliffe Hotel in Seaton Carew a raft of Common Scoters on the sea included a couple of Velvets and the immature drake Surf Scoter I missed a couple of weeks ago, nice to catch up with this bird it’s the first immature I’ve seen, a bit distant but good scope views. We moved on, Seaton Common was very quiet as was Dorman’s Pool apart from a flock of Twite flying over, at Saltholme seven Whooper Swans had dropped onto the West Pool but otherwise there was not a  lot happening there either but all in all not a bad day.

didn't have long with these, although they were quite approachable they were also flighty

RB Mergs in the Marina after being flushed by a boat

Newburn Bridge Med

Scoters off Seaton Carew

included this imm Surf , although a bit distant for the camera really

Sunday, 13 December 2015


With nothing any better on offer I headed down to Spurn this morning for the Black Brant, in fact two had been reported yesterday, I espied a number of Brent Geese on the Humber foreshore as I passed the Crown and Anchor so I stopped, had a scan through them and managed to find one of the Brants however they flew off within 10-15 mins, I relocated the flock a bit later in a field just outside Kilnsea and although they were a bit distant a scan through with the scope found the Black Brant again, nothing much else in the area though. My plan for the afternoon was to tour around Sunk Island in search of Harriers, I called first at Welwick Marsh but it was very quiet just a Peregrine hunting the Lapwing, then I had a slow drive around what is a very promising  but vast area, although the best I managed was a Buzzard and a small covey of Grey Partridge. I made a stop at Stone Creek where there was a sizeable flock of Fieldfares feeding on the berries, a Kingfisher flew upstream and a Barn Owl was out hunting nearby, I then made my way home calling in at North Cave Wetlands for the last half hour, good views of another Barn Owl there. 
Brents on the Humber

included this Black Brant

time to go

found them again later, the Brant is right in the middle

Grey Partridge always nice to see

Fieldfare at Stone Creek

a few Redwings as well

Barn Owl at North Cave