Saturday, 25 April 2015

Hidden Holderness

On Friday we made our one and only trip this year to a hidden little corner of Holderness. We shared cars to a remote lane. As soon as we opened the car doors I could hear a distant Lesser Whitethroat, and shortly afterwards a Yellowhammer towards us and landed in the top of a nearby bush. We walked down a thick Blackthorn hedge getting closer to the Lesser Whitethroat and passed a skulking Common Whitethroat. We were unable to locate either of these birds, but we did see at least 3 Hares. Linnets flew over us at times, and a Meadow Pipit too. 
 Sheep leading the Sheep
 Record shot of Marsh Harrier
 Meadow Pipit
The walk along a floodbank didn't add much, but we did see 3 Shelduck, at least 5 Little Egrets, and a Curlew. A female Kestrel flew overhead, whilst ahead of us we could just make out a male Marsh Harrier. We had to pass through a field of very noisy sheep. Ten minutes with them and we emerged with relief to a quieter piece of countryside. 

 Record shot of Marsh Harrier
 Sedge Warbler
 Willow Warbler
 Little Grebe
 Lots of Lipstick on this female Kingfisher

We arrived at a scrubby area, and here we heard and saw Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap. A little further on and we could just make out a distant Cuckoo, but unfortunately it came no nearer. We entered the hide four at a time. Here, we enjoyed good views of a Kingfisher, with the most striking amount of lipstick I've ever seen. There was a Greylag Goose on a nest, a pair and a single Little Grebe, and another pair of Mute Swans. A Goldfinch sang nearby, and then the strident tones of a Song Thrush rang out. We returned using a different way, but we hardly added any new species at all!

Friday, 24 April 2015

The Heat is On

On Thursday we repeated our visit to a week last Tuesday's location. There were more summer visitors, but not all had arrived by any means. The Sand Martin's looked more settled at the beginning of the walk. The long floodbank was very cool at first with misty conditions, and a chilly wind. Elaine pointed out a raptor flying along, which on examination turned into a Sparrowhawk. It then began to soar over one of the houses long enough for everyone to see it. After lunch a Buzzard soared in the same area & was bombarded by Lapwings.  Eventually we heard 3 different Sedge Warblers along the river, but no Reed Warblers.
 Little Ringed Plovers
 Sand Martin
 Checking every crevice
 Pied Wagtail
 Buzzard mobbed by Lapwing
The Ruff were distinctively different from each other with a pale-headed one, and a very dark individual and then a very small one. In the afternoon we found a couple of very bright male Yellow Wagtails.
 Sedge Warbler
 The View from a bridge
Frank being uttered
The weather improved as we turned near the factory and as we stood on the bridge Elaine from a distance of nearly a quarter of a mile was able to identify a Linnet. An immature Heron seemed to be almost swimming in the drain, and it had returned in the afternoon. Later, we heard a Willow Warbler, and had rather poor views of a Whitethroat. A wader flew high and away from us, which may have been a Dunlin, but it landed too far for us to check in David's telescope. However, the morning highlight was a very showy Lesser Whitethroat. Angela was so impressed she didn't think the name was fair, and it should be named something in its own right. In the afternoon 3 Little Ringed Plovers were just beyond the bridge. 
 Little Ringed Plover
 Small Tortoiseshell
 Lesser Whitethroat
We walked along the drain and Elaine spotted a wader species, which made a rapid exit. Unfortunately, it wasn't relocated for specific identification. In the afternoon a couple of Common Sandpipers were in the same area, so this may be what she saw. Along the factory side we stopped to watch a Blackcap catching some insects in between singing snatches of his attractive song. Overall we saw more than 30 species, on what was at first a very chilly, but rewarding morning. 
Record Shot of Yellow Wagtails

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Spring Migrants are Arriving a Little Late

On Wednesday we met at North Cave Wetlands & shared cars to our once premier woodland location.  On the journey one car enjoyed a fairly good view of a Jay.  It was overcast at first and rather cool, so was fairly quiet.  However, there had been an large influx of Willow Warblers since my last visit.  We had good views of these, and Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.  Tony spotted a Buzzard being harassed by a crow and eventually 2 were seen, soaring over the trees.
Local church surrounded by Blackthorn blossom
 Willow Warbler
 Buzzard (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
Then we came across a pair of Treecreepers,  which although they were a little skittish we did see fairly well. The sun came out and everything changed.  Two Green Woodpeckers laughed, one hoarsely and then we had fairly good views.  A Jay flew away from us, and the. A Willow Tit was heard singing.  We heard a whitethroat, but it was too far away for us to see.  In the afternoon we relocated the Willow Tit, but also found some Marsh Tits. 
Willow Tit (c) 2015 Aileen Urquhart
 Wing of Female Great Spotted Woodpecker
 Our first Speckled Wood of the year
 Tiger Beetle
 Tiger Beetle
Just as we were leaving a Garden Warbler sang out, and we enjoyed some quick views before it headed off east.  The afternoon was much warmer, and we even saw several early Tiger Beetles.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A Gropper in Broad Sunlight

This morning's problems with blogger seem to have been repaired, so what follows is the blog as it should have looked this morning.
 Grasshopper Warbler at Spurn a few years ago 
On Tuesday we revisited Wednesday's location again. There had been a slight influx of summer migrants since last time with a Whitethroat immediately after the railway line, plus on the path to the left we initially heard and then eventually saw a Grasshopper Warbler. He was reeling right out in the open, but was very distant.  
Cetti's Warbler
 Cetti's Warbler (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
The walk to the riverbank brought us very similar birds to last week, but there were absolutely no hirundines. There was better light for the Cetti's Warbler, but it stayed in the open less than last week. We did see one Kingfisher, and there were more Sedge Warblers than last week, but still no Reed Warblers. Two Avocets flew across the Humber and disappeared northwards, and later a flock of a Curlews could be heard behind us as we returned to the parking area.

 Reed Bunting
 Sedge Warbler
 Small Tortoiseshell (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce
 Green-Veined White (c) 2015 Maggie Bruce