Friday, 23 September 2022

Autumn Term Begins

Paul went to the newly-reopened Tophill Low and was rewarded with an excellent encounter with a Kingfisher, which gets the Autumn blog off to a bright start.

Kingfisher (c) 2022 Paul Green

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The Autumn term began rather gently in calm sunny weather at Danes' Dyke, except for the enormous hike in parking prices, which were a bit of a shock.  The noise in the car park was thundering as I waited for the others so arrive - they have much noisier sit-on grass cutters in Flamborough.  Luckily, he finished before the class began, and we were able to see two Nuthatches in some Ash dieback twigs.

Nuthatch

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The tide was coming in, so we went down to the very quiet beach.  It was very calm.  The Rock Pipits stayed away, but a solitary Guillemot swam past.  We climbed the steep steps, and skirted the golf course in the hope of the recently reported Snow Bunting.  We found it’s close relatives - Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.  A female Curlew stalked the fairway. The family of Stonechats were the highlight.  Looking down on the sea we saw some feeding Common Terns, and Steve spotted Oystercatchers and Redshanks.  Part of the woodland was closed off, but a late close encounter brought the session to an appropriate end.
Male Stonechat
Female Stonechat
Curlew
Guillemot
Oystercatcher
Pied Wagtail
Yellowhammer
Treecreeper
Speckled Wood
On Wednesday on a completely still morning we met at Paull.  The walk started well with a Curlew, swiftly followed with an easy to observe Whimbrel.  Both sessions saw a Skua along the river, but it was only really photographable after lunch.  Also in the afternoon the Swallows made a strange noise, so we turned to see a Hobby making spectacular sorties over the poplar trees.  It was last seen carrying its kill towards Paull church.
Curlew
Curlew (c) 2022 Tony Robinson
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Curlew (c) 2022 Aileen Urquhart
Whimbrel
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Whimbrel (c) 2022 Tony Robinson
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Kestrel
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Pink-Footed Geese
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Golden Plovers
Bar-tailed Godwit
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Leaving DNA (c) 2022 Mike Hind
Turnstone
Wader Prints
Arctic Skua (Dark Phase) on the attack
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Goldfinches on Sea Aster
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Wigeon
Chiffchaff
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Wren (c) 2022 Aileen Urquhart
On Thursday a sadly depleted am group went to Blacktoft Sands, but the pm was almost a full complement.  The Magpie was in the car park hanging round the picnic tables - nice colours.  We went on to Marshland first, which we heard was best, but there were hardly any birds there.  In the afternoon a single Spotted Redshank bucked the trend.  The highlight were some Snipe which flew in.  Flocks of Pink-footed Geese headed south both morning and afternoon.  We then trekked to Ousefleet.  It had been inundated with water, and there were hundreds of Wigeon and Teal, plus a few Gadwall, but the best birds there were the heavily disguised Pintail (they were in eclipse).  There wasn’t much water at Singleton, but one puddle had a pair of Greenshanks.  In the afternoon an immature Ruff livened things up, after confusing the students.  Young Pied Wagtails scampered over the muddy areas.  Both sessions had a swift encounter with a Merlin, but in the afternoon it actually perched on some soil for a few minutes, although it was on the edge of sight, and on the edge of the capabilities of the camera.
Magpie
Magpie
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Pink-footed Geese
Snipe
Snipe
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Spotted Redshank
Ruff
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Immature Ruff
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Record shot of Pintail
Marsh Harrier
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Greenshank
Greenshanks
Record Shot of Merlin
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Caterpillar
On Friday another sadly depleted group met at Killingholme.  There were at least 3 Little Egrets in the drain along the road.  We checked on the hide next, from which we saw c.3000 Black-tailed Godwits, 50+ Avocets, a Curlew, a few Redshank, a Teal and a small number of Dunlin.  As the group watched patiently a Kingfisher flew past and landed on one of the strategially-placed sticks.  We then took the westerly footpath, so had to alert the guide to take us across the busy crossing.  Once we reached the river we were able to differentiate each species of gull, before we started to observe a sprinkling of waders.  There were some Chiffchaffs in the path-side vegetation.  When we reached the large lake we could see at least three Little Grebes, plus Greylag Geese and other wildlife.  Beyond the house we could see many Pink-footed Geese in a field, and several more were joining them.  A few minutes later George spotted a Fox walking along the edge of the field, and keeping its eye on the geese.  The return journey was less eventful.
Black-tailed Godwits (c) 2022 Jane Robinson
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Black-tailed Godwit (c) 2022 Jane Robinson
Black-tailed Godwits (c) 2022 Angela Murray-Nag
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Kingfisher (c) 2022 Jane Robinson
Kingfisher (c) 2022 Angela Murray-Nag
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Too Much Colour in One Photo? (c) 2022 Angela Murray-Nag
Little Egret
Little Egret (c) 2022 Jane Robinson
Little Egret in late Afternoon Sunlight (c) 2022 Angela Murray-Nag
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Dunlin
Avocets
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Turnstone [left] & Redshank (c) 2022 Jane Robinson
Redshank (c) 2022 Angela Murray-Nag
Teal (c) 2022 Angela Murray-Nag
Curlew (c) 2022 Angela Murray-Nag
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Immature Buzzard
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Record Shot of Fox Among Pink-footed Geese
Small Copper
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Small Copper (c) 2022 Jane Robinson
Grasshopper sp.
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Lucerne
Common Bedstraw
Sloe berries
Glasswort (c) 2022 Jane Robinson
At the beginning of the month we had one last attractive moth in the garden moth trap
Rosy Rustic