My March Gambian Trip can now be viewed here at this LINK
Uncertainty over the Butterfly I wanted to see saw us heading out to Hornsea Mere to hopefully see the reported Red footed Falcon but on arrival it hadn’t been seen since 9am we arrived at 9:30am, not to be discouraged we were compensated with the aerial display of 5 or 6 Hobbies which more than made up for the loss of not seeing the Falcon.
Other birds seen whilst hunting out the Falcon were Marsh Harrier, Mute Swan, Swift, House Martin, House Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Cettis Warbler, Swallow, Tufted Duck. Also of interest at Hornsea and been here for a while was an Iceland Gull, which was located with the ducks rather a surprise
Iceland Gull at Hornsea Mere
After Hornsea we ventured out to Fordon Chalk Bank, near Hunmanby and the Wold Top Brewey, a Butterfly Site, a new site for me and I picked up a few firsts for the year notably my favourite the Small Copper. Numerous Brown Argus were on site along with Speckled Wood and Common Blue, in low numbers were Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Small Heath,
Small Copper Butterfly
We didn’t give the site a lot of time due to a text message of the butterfly I wanted to see today so it was off to a site near Knaresborugh where I saw the UK smallest Butterfly the Small Blue, so Id seen the UK largest and now the Smallest over a weekend
Small Blue Butterfly
I had a very brief visit down to the RSPB reserve at Strumpshaw fen, the journey that so many people make for the Swallowtail Butterflies.
2017 was the year I was determined to see and photograph them after failing on a few occasions, so with news they were in flight and a good day of sun I was off heading south at 4am in the morning arriving at 8:30am after a 185 miles.
I walk around to the famous garden where the Swallowtails visit, but I was a little early so I had a look around picking up Cettis and Reed Warblers as I waited, Azure Damselflies and Large Red Damselflies.
An hour past before 1 Swallowtail appeared which I and a few other folk enjoyed as it feed amongst the flower bed, the spectacle lasted about an hour, before the Swallowtails dried up so I made my way back to the visitor centre and did a bit of birding as well. Here a Cuckoo took flight across the reserve, Grey Heron among the reeds and a Marsh Harrier flew thru
Decided on a couple of brief hours up around the Langsett Resorvoir before I got stuck on doing the days jobs that needed doing. Arrived and parked in the Langsett Barns car, picking up on Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler as I headed off towards the dam wall picking up Common Sandpiper, Black headed Gull and Canada Goose as I walked over the dam. Out in the fields as I headed towards the woods Blackbird and Mistle Thrush were busy feeding and Lapwings overhead.
In Cliffe Wood Blue Tit were the first birds I picked up on but it wasn’t long before I heard Pied Flycatcher and with a bit of looking soon picked up on a fine male bird, calling away from a nearby branch. Looking around the wood Treecreepers were about to along with Wrens, Coal Tit and Great Tit, and lastly I heard the call the of a Redstart, always start looking for these birds a top of the tallest tree that’s where they are likely to be found, he took some finding out of sight most of the time, I had to look from the road side away from the wood to eventually see him, that finished the morning off nicely
A new site today and a relatively new one just opened up by the RSPB , located near the Fairburn Ings Site, so what would I find. I was advised to use the reedbed trail first as it was my first visit, it is a big place with many trails.
Geese were the stand out bird with many Greylags about with the odd Canadas, Meadow Pipits were picked up on the grassy banking using the fence posts so were easy found, it was here that i picked up my first Sedge Warbler of the day, then they were like buses, but during the day I had may a good views of these summer migrants, and of course Reed Warblers were close by given the change to compare the calls together.
Black headed Gulls are in abundance, but you could also pick up Herring, Lesser Black backed and Common Gulls in and amongst. Wildfowl about were Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, and plenty of Pochard.
At the trail cross roads I picked up a few Common Terns, nice to see these back, also a Male Reed Bunting was in fine song here and gave fantastic views. Half way round now and the one of the birds I was hoping for today came into view, but at a distance, but after watching for a while I had great views of 3 Black necked Grebes as they came swimming by. I had now virtually made my way round and was near the visitor centre again when I picked up a Female marsh Harrier coming over the ridge, I watched as she sailed effortlessly by.
After dinner I decided to walk in the opposite direction from this morning on to Lowther Hill, I think it was, sun was now out and so were a few Orange tip butterflies along with my first sighting of the year for Small Tortoiseshell. The birds had started singing again Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Robin and Wren. I had now found myself near the river where I was listening to Blackcaps, then a different call very similar ever so slightly different and like Reed/Sedge hard to separate, this one was a Garden Warbler and it took me a while to pin it down and it only gave a brief appearance, but I’m glad I persevered because here I also found Lesser Whitethroat and Common Whitethroat in the same place along with Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, and a Bee Fly. On the river were Mute swan and a Little Egret
A great day many species seen and now a feeling that summer has returned
Birds Seen : Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Black necked Grebe, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Crow, Chiffchaff, Common Gull, Common Tern, Coot, Cormorant, Gadwall, Garden Warbler, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, LApwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet, Little Egret, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Robin, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Starling, Stock Dove, Tufted Duck, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler
Black Necked Grebe
Early start to the each coast and the migration hot spot in Yorkshire the mighty Spurn Point but was it to deliver today.
We arrived 9:30am to reports of the Subalpine Warbler remaining and in the Canal Scrap area, so that was our first port of call, parking up in the Canal Hide car park. It became clear after asking around that the last place the said bird was seen was viewable from the Canal Scrap Hide, so that’s where we went, 40 mins later and no sign, but we added to the day list whilst searching, Little Grebe, Mallard, Blackcap ♂♀, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting. We decided on tea and cake back at the car and inadvertently, by yours truly, attracted the Subalpine Warbler to a nearby bush (won’t say how, but nobody complained), this gave many people over the next few hours great views of a very attractive bird.
Next was a walk around the triangle picking up on Lesser Black backed Gull, Redshank, Curlew, Knot and Brent Geese, a few Peacock Butterflies were also out now, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Starling, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Swallow, Sand Martins, Meadow Pipit, Oystercatchers were all seen, and a distant Wheatear
We decided on a call out to Kilnsea Wetlands , after we picked the car up, here we saw Avocet, Shelduck, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Little Egret, Greylag Goose, whilst here we got the news of the Black Brant (a new bird for me) on beacon ponds, after a little walk and scanning thru the Brent Goose flock we eventually picked up the American visitor, a sub species of the Brent Goose, slightly different neck markings and a darker bird on the neck and back
It was now 4pm so we decided on finishing at Spurn and popping in at North Cave Wetlands on the journey back home.
Birds of Spurn Area : Avocet, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Black Brant, Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Curlew, Dunnock, gadwall, Golden Plover, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Kestrel, Knot, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Redshank, reed Bunting, Robin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Starling, Subalpine Warbler, Swallow, Teal, Wheatear, Wigeon, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren
An hour and 15 later we were at North Cave Wetlands on Dryham lane looking at Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Little Ringed Plovers, Redshank, Mediterranean Gulls, a distant Buzzard, Black headed Gulls (lots), Sand Martins and Swallows overhead. A walk around the Perimeter Path gave us views over the ponds where a Male Mandarin was seen, along with plenty of Tufted Duck, a Reed Warbler was also heard, a Green Woodpecker was heard. At the turret hide more Black headed Gulls, Ruff, Shelduck, Teal, Pochard, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon and Herring Gulls and more Avocet along with a single Pied Wagtail. Back on the trail a Male Blackcap was found along with Goldfinch
Birds of North Cave : Avocet, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Buzzard, Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Lapwing, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Magpie, Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Mediterranean Gull, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Redshank, Reed Warbler, Robin, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon, Ruff, Sand Martin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Swallow, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Willow Warbler
Avocet at Kilnsea Wetlands
A day out back on UK soil after week back out in the Gambia, big change in temperature but there was a few good birds to be had locally, so I headed on out.
First port of call was the cheesegate nab were the usual celebrities at this time of year stop off on route to breeding grounds else where, but on my travel here I picked up a very sizeable movement of Fieldfares in the approach fields. They took some finding but I eventually tracked them down, 2 Male Ring Ouzel, seen once again in the usual field. It took me a second passing to find them, they must have been in a small furrow hiding out of view. Other birds here were a couple of Grey Partridge, nice to see these, newly arrived Willow warblers calling away, Pied wagtails flying overhead, Mistle Thrush, a Common Buzzard calling but not located, same with a Green Woodpecker. In the fields Stock Dove and Woodpigeon, with Blackbirds, Dunnock and Robins here and there.
I called in at Ingbirchworth Reservoir but firstly I stopped off at the airfield where I picked up a single male Wheatear, on at the reservoir I picked up a couple of Little Ringed Plovers cruising the dam wall, along with a couple of Coots, over the waters it was nice to pick up a few Swallows and Sand Martins, which I’d seen the previous week in the Gambia, on the water a great looking male Goldeneye was still with us, and a beautiful looking Yellowhammer calling with its distinctive “little bit of bread and no cheese” from the top of a tree near the dam wall.
On then to Old Moor and my first port of call was going to be the Wath Ings hide, on the way down Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers were calling away, making it easy to separate these two species, then a call of a Blackcap near to the hide, this male bird was calling away in a difficult place but eventually I got some brief but good views of my first for the year. In the hide the highlight were a small group of Black tailed Godwits and another calling Green Woodpecker. Wader scrap hide held no waders as the name might have you believing but a fine pair of Mediterranean Gulls was a nice find. A friendly Robin back on green lane was a nice highlight as I made my way to the Family Hide, from here Redshank (which should have been next door) and more Sand Martin (using the artificial banking), Shelduck and Oystercatchers passed thru.
The sun was now shinning so I made my way to the garden picking up a male Orange tip butterfly on the way and a very difficult Green veined White Butterfly, Orange tips were also found at the garden but as always proved difficult to photograph. Out on the TPT I found a few Speckled woods and a Peacock Butterfly, so the insect year had truly kicked off again also.
Birds at Ingbirchworth area ; Blackbird, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Curlew, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Ringed Plover, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Ring Ouzel, Robin, Sand Martin, Starling, Stock Dove, Swallow, Tufted Duck, Wheatear, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon
Birds at Old Moor RSPB site : Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Canada Goose, Crow, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Magpie, Mallard, Mediterranean Gull, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pochard, Redshank, Sand Martin, Shelduck, Shoveler, Starling, Teal, Tufted Duck, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon
Butterflies : Green veined White, Orange tip, Peacock, Speckled Wood
A few Pictures