A day off and thankfully the weather forecast, which was dire, was totally wrong, so off for a days winter birding.
First stop off was Wykeham South Lake and the long Staying Red-Necked Grebe was still present, although as winter progresses its redness on the neck appears to be slightly disappearing. Also present were 2 Whooper Swans, slightly disappointing was that over 100 flew off earlier, and now a few Goldeneye have returned.
From Wykeham we moved onto Seamer Tip pools and in one area alone we saw at least 6 Jack Snipe and 4 Common Snipe. On the flooded fields to the South of the pools were 26 Redshank.
Moving onto Filey and a walk North along the Stubble fields on the Cleveland Way was quiet, as 2 Stonechats and a Barn Owl were the only birds seen. On the Sea from the Brigg End a very close adult Great Northern Diver, a good number of Red Throated Divers, Common Scoter, Purple Sandpiper and Dunlin were all seen.
Well after nearly 30 years of waiting since I last saw a local Hawfinch, today would bring that unwanted record to an end. Over the past 2 weeks a failing Beech mast on the continent has meant that the Winter numbers of Hawfinch have swelled to an almost unparalleled number, with flocks of over 50 being reported. The influx was right across the UK.
Fortunately the Yorkshire Arboretum at Castle Howard still has that magnet of trees, the Hornbeam, in which to attract these stunning birds and thankfully they duly appeared. Reports of over 30 birds present was to good an opportunity to waste. However Saturday started out wet and foggy, but the rain disappeared by lunchtime and so off to Castle Howard for an afternoons Hawfinch viewing.
Within minutes of arriving at least 3 or 4 birds in view and all were feeding on Hornbeam. The birds were generally sat right at the top of the highest branches and looking into the sun they were difficult to view. They were very flighty but did move on a couple of occasions so the sun was behind them, which allowed some distant record shots.
Overall I counted at least 2 flocks of over a dozen birds and they happily flew around the Arboretum all afternoon.
I hope its not another 30 years before I get to see another.
Hawfinch on Hornbeam Tree
30 Years of waiting ……!!!
Sunday was a lovely day and a local chance to see a bird whose numbers are increasing steadily in the UK.
A single Great White Egret was present at Newburgh Priory, and it appears to have been there for some time. It frequented the area to the left of the Lake and having a walk around the area was also was seen feeding on the rear of the wet fields.
Also on the Lake was a Red Head Goosander, Wigeon, Teal and Gadwall.
As weekends go this would be one to remember with local Red-Necked Grebe, Hawfinch and Great White Egret.
Great White Egret
A quick dash on the way home to Wyekham South Lake as the light was just about gone and a Red-Necked Grebe was seen. It was distant and almost dark but it still showed some of its summer colour.
Also on the lake were 6 Pink Footed Geese.
A visit to RSPB Salthome today and at least dry, but poor light generally. Plenty of Wildfowl around with Barnacle Geese present on the fields down to Salthome Hide. A single Whooper Swan, lots of Golden Plovers, Snipe, Dunlin, and various common Ducks with a few Pintail on show.
A single Marsh Harrier, 2 Stonechats, Little Egrets and a Kingfisher were also seen around the Reserve.
The best bird of the day was a Water Pipit which showed really well. Water Pipits are generally very difficult to see and this bird, now in Winter plumage was very showy.
Water Pipit on a grey November day
A days holiday and focusing on local birding. We started off at Thornwick Pool at Flamborough and on arrival thick fog and rain, which kind of summed recent birding trips up. Thankfully the rain stopped and the fog dispersed and the distinctive call of a Bearded Tit from within the reed beds was heard. It was never seen whilst we remained there but a Common Snipe, Grey Wagtail and a Water Rail were seen well.
After lunch we headed back to Ellerburn and had an afternoon watching the Immature Osprey. It flew all around the valley but never really tried fishing. It appears to have been seen for at least a week and hopefully it will remain in the area for a few days yet, until it returns to warmer climes for Winter.
Very Late Osprey at Ellerburn
For the past few weeks the prevailing winds have been predominantly Westerly, something as a birder is increasingly frustrating as the Migration period has the potential to bring in a “Goodie” into the area. This year it has been extremely quiet.
A circular walk around Ravenscar to Robin Hood Bay and back produced very little on the birding front. A strong Westerly wind ensured most birds skulked in the bushes, however at Boggle Hole we heard 2 Yellow Browed Warblers, either side of the stream. Also flying south were 2 Swallows.
At home 74 Pink Footed Geese flew West towards Pickering, and a walk up Ellerburn on a very warm afternoon, produced a very late Osprey.
A days local birding and we started out at Wykeham Lakes, which was extremely quiet even by its own standards. So moving quickly onto Seamer Pools and the first bird seen was a Snipe. Lots of other waders had been reported there yesterday, but the birds must have moved on.
After lunch a visit to Filey Dams and only a couple of Snipe were present, however the distant call of a Kingfisher and brief sightings at least livened up proceedings. After a while the Kingfisher returned to one of its favourite perches, which is right in front of the hide and stayed there for a good 10 minutes, randomly diving to catch tiny fish.
Wader wise 4 Ruff flew in and stayed a couple of minutes and then flew off North again. But it was the Kingfisher who was the star and stayed around all the time we were there.
It appeared that some of the Seamer birds had re-appeared and so we returned via the Pools and saw 6 Ruff and a very flighty Wood Sandpiper.
Kingfisher at Filey Dams