Yesterday we met at Paull & shared cars to the wilds of Holderness. We saw huge flocks of Fieldare, possibly 300+ with only a couple of Redwing in tow. The fields were fairly dry, so we didn't see as many waders feeding in them as usual, just a scattering of Curlew, Lapwing, Woodpigeon, Stock Dovers, but later some Golden Plovers too. At the estuary it was high tide in the morning, so we didn't see a lot of waders either, but there were a couple of Curlew, Cormorants and Mallard at the creek's mouth. A Kingfisher flew across the road on a at least a couple of occasions, but it was so quick not everyone could get on to it in time.
The situation was transformed in the afternoon as the tide had subsided leaving the mud exposed for several Redshank, Knot and single Dunlin & Grey Plover. Both groups saw a Little Egret in the area, but neither group saw an Owl of any species.
The walk around the hedgerows threw up a few Fieldfare, Redwing, and in the afternoon a couple of male Yellowhammers. 5 Bullfinches withan atypical call flew due swiftly west, but in the morning there had been several Redpoll & Siskin in the area.
We about to drive back in the afternoon, and I put my camera in the boot, saying we may see something good if I kept the camera there. Sure enough 10 minutes later a raptor the colour of a juvenile Sparrowhawk flew up from a hedge. However, it's wings were swept back and its underparts were covered in dark streaks. In flight just over the car it looked to be juvenile Peregrine, but later when a bird landed on the grass just to the left of the cars it was an obvious Merlin. Perhaps, there had been 2 different birds seen near the same area? Anyway this Merlin was a lifer for virtually every participant present & was an excellent way to finish the afternoon. But 15 minutes later I saw a distant large raptor huddled up on the side of the ditch. It eventually took to the air & was mobbed by a Carrion Crow. It was a Buzzard - quite a new species for this low-lying area - an excellent end to the afternoon!
Merlin (c) 2011 Martin Standley
You can see more of Martin's excellent pics here:
My ropey pic of a Merlin [below] taken at Spurn 2 years ago