Monday, 30 July 2012

Hull Birds Available Online

In 2002 Richard K Broughton published Birds of the Hull Area.  To mark the 10th anniversary of this milestone volume, the information included has just been made available online for the first time:  Birds of the Hull Area

A male Bullfinch taken within the Hull boundary at the Humber Bridge Country Park.  Numbers of Bullfinches continue to do well at the Park.  There are a great number of Ash trees at the park - one of the Bullfinches favourite foods  - but their food is definitely supplemented by food left at the feeding station.  These are the most confiding Bullfinches I have ever seen, sometimes flying down before the person putting down seed has retreated from the bird table!
 Unfortunately, the one off records mentioned in the book such as the Wood Warbler singing in May 1986, and the skull of a  Hawfinch hitting the kitchen window in 1998 have not been repeated.  However, there have been some more one off records to compensate.  In the very dry April of 2011 we had a succession of surprising visitors to the water in our garden: Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat even a Reed Warbler, but the biggest surprise was a male Ring Ouzel - a first since we have been watching in 1969.  Further investigation revealed it was trying to find earthworms among the male Blackbirds during the day in the cemetery, but for at least 2 evenings it sneaked into the garden for a drink.

A Ring Ouzel in the cemetery
 The previous evening here he is looking to slake his thirst
 We didn't see our first Great Spotted Woodpecker in our Hull garden until 18th September 1977, but now they are an almost daily visitor - especially the young birds in June and July.
Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker Bathing 
 In the 2000 book my photo of a male Brambling which stunned itself for a few seconds in our window was published.  Since then they are not quite an annual visitor, but we do get a few in the garden on average one or 2 every other spring or two.  We've yet to have an autumn record, all our birds seem to be on the way back to Scandinavia in April or May.
A female Brambling in our garden April 2008
 Another of my photos of a Tawny Owl perched on a drainpipe on the maternity home was included in the 2002 volume.  Unfortunately, the maternity home has gone, as has such an obvious place for the owls to perch.  We still have Tawny Owl in the trees, but the only time when they are easier to find is when the mother is sat guarding her nearby chicks.
Adult Tawny Owl
 Tawny Owl Chick
One of the most recent unusual one-off birds was a Lesser Whitethroat which was first seen on Boxing Day 2009.  It excited some local interest, as it its late arrival meant it could have been of an eastern race.  However, it's true identity was never definitively  established.  It was then seen subsequently on an almost daily basis until mid-April 2010.
Lesser Whitethroat at our feeding station in early January 2010

1 comment:

RB said...

Thanks for the plug, Michael. Heartening to know people have enjoyed it over the years.
One of the most amazing changes since putting the book together in 2001-2 is the fabulous digital pictures that are now commonplace (such as your GSW in the bath, which I'd have begged for permissions a decade ago!). Ten years ago I was quoted £400 by someone to use one half-decent digital photo of a Goldfinch for the cover! Digital cameras were still a bit 'elite', and all my images were scanned in from prints taken on film cameras, of which I had very few.
Now the website's got an interactive map and videos as well as numerous photos, some of them taken on a phone. I'm not sure what's more dizzying, the pace of change in electronics or the status change of Buzzard, Little Egret and Peregrine in Hull over 10 years.