Friday, 8 November 2019

You Won't Believe it - more Rain to Dodge!

At Tophill Low we set off to do the south part of the reserve, and headed for SME, which was very quiet after all the hurly-burly of the breeding season and the Autumn migrant passage.  Tuesday had a good number of Curlew, and a female Goosander on the return journey.  Thursday had a couple of Herons and 10 Redshank.
Male Kestrel
 Record shot of Grey Wagtail
 Female Goosander on Watton Borrow Pits
Female Goosander on South Marsh East 
 Female Sparrowhawk
 One of two dead Goldfinches
Moth or Caddis-fly species
Dead Man's Fingers
 Bracket Fungus

On Wednesday we went to Paull Holme Strays for the first time this year.  We met in the reserve car park, which had only recently reopened.  A Grey Wagtail flew over the car park and disappeared into the nearby compound.  We couldn’t use the purpose-built ramp as it was waterlogged, so we scrambled up the steep bank instead.  Straight away we could see and hear Redshank, Curlew and see distant Lapwings and a few Golden Plovers.  We made a route march to the hide through the treacle-like mud.  We stopped at a house, which had plenty of birds in the surrounding bushes and trees including: Reed Buntings, Linnets, Goldfinches, Fieldfare and what sounded like a distant Brambling.  
Reed Bunting 
We carried on towards the hide and halfway there met a couple who had been making a scientific count of birds.  They presumably arrived very early and told us about three Short-eared Owls which had been close to the hide, all near enough to make great photographic subjects.  They also said a Sparrowhawk being chased by a Merlin passed just in front of the hide.  Of course when we reached the hide there was virtually nothing to be seen.  An immature Gannet flew along the Humber at one stage, and 4 morning stalwarts walked in an easterly directions until they discovered one of the Short-eared Owls.  The rest of the group then headed off in that direction until they saw it too.
Record shot of Short-eared Owl 
 Immature Gannet
Curlew (c) 2019 Tony Robinson
The walk back through the slippery mud was very tiring, so the afternoon group went to the dirty sugar cube car park instead.  We only just left the car park when we came across some very close Wigeon, still partially in eclipse plumage.  There was also a Rock Pipit on some of the groynes and seaweed.  The wind had dropped since the morning, so there was no breeze at all, which was very unusual for this site.  We crested the height and found the strays laid out before us.  A group of Golden Plovers could be seen crowded together on the exposed mud.  We walked past the lighthouses, and looked at the waders on the shoreline.  There were 6 Turnstones, the odd Dunlin and two Bar-tailed Godwits.  Then I noticed a very pale wader - it had a pale grey back and was pure white on the underside.  It was our first ever Sanderling at this location.  
 Rock Pipit
 Golden Plovers
 Grey Plovers
We walked towards the church and spotted a few Fieldfare.  At the dead elm just east of the church a Great Spotted Woodpecker landed briefly before flying off south.   
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Golden Plovers

Tree Surgeon [bottom right] & drone [top right]
Red Arrow
Four members of the Wednesday morning crew went on to Kilnsea where they encountered their first ever Pallas's Warbler.  They looked for the Bluethroat, but weren't lucky enough to locate it.  
Pallas's Warbler (c) 2019 Tony Robinson
 Redwing (c) 2019 Tony Robinson
On Thursday we went to Tophill Low to avoid the forecast rain.  Apparently, it rained torrentially in nearby Beverley, but we just had a few spots at Tophill.  We were amazingly lucky!
Female Goosander
 Grey Wagtail
Watton Borrow Pits held the highest number of birds and species.  These were all scattered by two energetic horse riders.  The birds were unsettled for quite some, and then it became obvious that a Peregrine tried to take advantage of all the airborne birds, but it didn’t manage to attack and carry any away.  However, 15 mins later there was a strange noise next to my ears and a bird hurtled towards O reservoir, and disappeared into the long grass.  It turned out to be a Tufted Duck.  It looked exhausted but otherwise uninjured, so I made a note of the exact position to check on it in the afternoon.  Sure enough it had made a full recovery and returned to the others by the time the pm crew passed that way. 
 Tufted Duck
 Head of Little Grebe
 In the afternoon we were informed about some interesting fungi in the car park.  Sure enough, on investigation they proved to be Earth Stars.  
Earth Star
 Earth Star
 Unopened Earth Star
On Friday we had our first Autumnal visit to Ness End.  The Bittern was present for both groups, but in the afternoon it flew slowly in front of Reedy Hide giving amazing views.  My camera was in the car, because it was raining when the class started, and the Ossett camera was outside the hide looking for an invisible Water Rail! 
Bittern from the Archive (c) 2019 Maggie Bruce
A Kingfisher was seen twice in the morning, but after lunch only the two who remained in the green hide saw a Kingfisher four times.  The rest of the group failed to see a Kingfisher at all.  
 Female Goldeneyes - with eyes of the "Children of the Damned"!
 Heron (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Heron and Swans (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Family of Swans (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Immature Moorhen (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
Male Pheasant 
 Marsh Harrier & Woodpigeon (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Angel of the North (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Sloe berries (c) 2019 Jane Robinson
 Holly berries (c) 2019 Jane Robinson

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