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Sunday, 23 April 2017


Out with Mark today and we met up with Dave and Steve from Rochdale at North Cave Wetlands and after an initial look for the recent Curlew Sandpiper, not present today, we headed off to Blacktoft Sands having a look from the Faxfleet side of the river on the way, plenty of Warblers singing including Cetti’s, Reed and Sedge, quite a few Marsh Harriers out hunting and good views of some Bearded Reedlings in the reeds by a small pool. We carried on to Blacktoft where me, Dave and Steve headed down to Singleton Hide while Mark went to photograph a showy Cetti’s Warbler, after 30-40 mins of scanning through all the Harriers Dave eventually got onto something different and it proved to be the female Montagu’s, she came in fairly high circled around a couple of times then drifted off again, a quick visit. We headed off to join Mark who’d had a good session with the Cetti’s, I gave it a bit of time but although it showed well it was very quick and I never managed to photograph it in the open, with there being not much more on the reserve we went back to the car park for lunch meeting up with a few other birding mates and discussing our different mornings itineraries. After lunch it was a return to North Cave taking a tour of Goole Fields en route where we picked up our first Yellow Wagtail of the year, at North Cave it was the usual Little Ringed Plovers, Ruff etc on Dryham Ings then Mark heard a brief snatch of Lesser Whitethroat song from a nearby hedge, it never sang again but we got some decent views as it moved along the hedge feeding, a Red Kite over and three Mediterranean Gulls in the Black Headed colony on the Main Lake were the best of the rest. A steady but pleasant day and we all managed several year ticks.
plenty of Avocets at Blacktoft

and Marsh Harriers

showy Cetti's

LRP at North Cave

plus Red Kite over

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Easter Weekend

Friday 14th Fairburn Ings
A bit of a bonus today, after taking the Mrs shopping in Castleford she then allowed me an hour on the way back, so it was up onto the Coal Tip walk to look out over the Moat area for the Spoonbill, it was seen several times in flight but spent a lot of time in the Heronry, seems to going through the motions of building a nest, but also dropped into a small marshy area on the other side for a short while, also booming Bittern and calling Green Woodpecker etc.

Sunday 16th Teesside
Typical Bank Holiday weather it was a miserable day especially when the rain set in during the afternoon, I was hoping for a few early Spring migrants but it was not to be, the best of it was a Marsh Harrier over Dorman’s Pool in the morning and several Wheatears on Seaton Common.
hoping for Grasshopper Warbler but only this Wren posed

hoping for Yellow Wagtail but just Meadow Pipits

the ever photogenic Little Egret
Monday 17th Fairburn and Swillington Ings
After the Red Rumped Swallow from yesterday had been reported this morning I decided on Fairburn Ings, I arrived at Cut Lane to be informed it was flying around the near corner of the Main Bay over the trees and houses, after several minutes I got onto it and although it never came close I followed it for a couple of minutes before losing it behind some trees, I never picked it up again and then the whole flock of Hirundines including several House Martins, also a year tick, moved further into the Bay as well starting to feed higher up, I walked down to the bridge where an adult Little Gull was perched on the Tern posts, also distant but looked very impressive when it was flying around. With no further sightings of the Swallow I decided to head up onto the Coal Tip walk to look out over the Moat area for the Spoonbill again, as Friday it was seen several times in flight collecting nesting material, also several Buzzards and a Red Kite over and a few Reed Warblers singing. After lunch I headed over to Swillington Ings parking in the now open St Aiden’s car park, I walked the whole circuit but there was nothing out of the ordinary apart from four summer Black Necked Grebes and a booming Bittern.
distant Little Gull
incoming Spoonbill with nesting material

Red Kite overhead

Black Necked Grebe at Swillington

Monday, 10 April 2017

Spurn delights

Out with Dave and Bob from Rochdale yesterday (Sunday) who picked me up enroute to some East Coast birding and with an early report of an Iberian Chiffchaff Spurn was soon chosen as our destination, we arrived at the Crown and anchor car park to be informed the Iberian Chiffchaff had been trapped and ringed and as a result had gone quiet although the locals said a ringed Chiffchaff was still in the area and was probably the bird, we hung around for a while being entertained by two Firecrests also a Chiffchaff with a ring was seen but with no call or song we couldn’t determine whether it was it or not, it seemed a bit dark with very dark legs anyway, eventually most of the birders there including Dave and Bob started drifting away and I was left with just one other couple, after a while the guy said he’d got a pale looking Chiffchaff, I got on the bird and was struck by its greenish plumage tones but it was being very active, the other guy then said he wondered if it would respond to song and played a recording on his phone, it certainly did and flew down into the bushes in front of us then flitted into some bare branches behind us for a few seconds giving some really good views but if anything it got it calling and singing again so it became easier to keep track of it and as everybody including Dave and Bob returned they all got decent views of it. We then moved round to Kilnsea Wetlands and walked out to Holderness Fields for the drake Garganey which Dave still needed for the year then after lunch we went on to Sammy’s Point which was fairly quiet, no hoped for Wheatear or Yellow Wagtail but a Golden Plover was showing well in one of the Paddocks. With nothing more forthcoming from Spurn we headed for home calling off at North Cave Wetlands on the way where we picked up Little Ringed Plover and Ruff for the year.
Iberian Chiffy

not a clear shot but shows greenish plumage tones, paler legs and freshly acquired bling

Firecrest lurking in the shadows

distant drake Garganey, Holderness Fields

showy Golden Plover at Sammy's

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Local update March

Finch and Bunting numbers at the Cornfield NR started dropping off this month and a single Corn Bunting on the 10th was the last of this winter period, the Cormorants also took their leave this month with a small flock of Fieldfare moving through on the 13th pausing briefly before carrying on North.  Spring arrived mid-month with the first Chiffchaffs singing and several Butterflies were about on the nice days, not seen the Kingfishers for quite a while so it was nice to have regular sightings of the pair to the end of the month, often seen fishing in the small ponds in the Rawcliffe Meadows Flood Basin, a nice day on the 23rd saw the Sparrowhawks displaying over Clifton Park with three Buzzards over very high, two Oystercatchers flew over the Ings on the 25th piping noisily and it was nice to see the Nuthatch again in Clifton Park on the 29th, also that day a Siskin was by the Cornfield NR, another scarce visitor to the area, finally six Sand Martins and a Swallow were over Rawcliffe Ings on the 30th and a Willow Warbler sang from Rawcliffe Meadows on the 31st.
swollen river early in the month

caused a bit of flooding

avenue of Pines in Clifton Park

Spring flowers, Lesser Celendines and Self Heal

Colts Foot


and Dandelions

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Alternative Weekend

A couple of days break Friday and Saturday in the Lake District with the Mrs, lots of nice scenery and apart from Saturday morning the weather was ok, not really birding but you can’t but help noticing stuff, highlights were my first Wheatears of the year down the Honister Pass and Buzzards and Ravens aplenty flying about. We stayed at Rothay Manor in Ambleside, very nice Hotel but a rubbish breakfast, after a wander around Bowness on Saturday morning we had a good tour around taking in many of the water bodies, nice break thoroughly enjoyed it.
bridge over the river Rothay near the Hotel

over the rooftops of Ambleside

Waterfall on Stockghyll

Stockghyll Force

Mill House Ambleside

Ambleside Church





Yew Tree Tarn

Coniston Water

Windermere on a rainy Saturday morning

Bowness Church

Derwent Water


Honister Pass

Crummock Water



Out birding just for the morning this morning, I had strict orders to put together some new garden furniture this afternoon, decided on Blacktoft Sands, not a right lot happening but I year ticked Cetti’Warbler, at least seven singing, Blackcap, Green Sandpiper and Bittern which was booming well all morning, Marsh Harriers were also very active with one or two pairs sky dancing.

sleepy Avocets

sky dancing