Tuesday 28 April 2009

Birdblog Maps

Jims new look website for the birdblog maps - a great resource - wherever you go, check this out first for the gen on the ground.

p.s. the swallow has pitched up at Hornsea with a mate too late for me to take a look. Again.

The Swine

Have spent far too much time at Swine Moor today for relatively little return. Watched it between 6 & 8 and later between half 10 and half 12. No sign of the Red-rumped Swallow sadly but saw plenty of birds and got soggy.

The first visit saw relively few hirundines with a dozen Swallows and a couple of Sand Martins tazzing about over the river. In the reedbed adjacent to the river 3 Sedge Warblers sang intermittantly. Out on the moor itself a trio of Wheatears were a pleasant surprise. 65 Golden Plover in breeding finery were very nice dropping in although one with partial albinism in the wings made me exceited for a few moments. A couple of Ruff bobbed about and the Wood Sandpiper was still tolling about with a few Redshank. A murmuration of alba and flava wags were pleasant enough. It was cool and overcast and not much was doing so I pushed off to uni.

After picking up Wii Fit I returned to lots of Hirundines batting about. They seemed to be pouring through - not a promising sign. At anyone time 50 Barn Swallows, 15 House Martins and 10 Sand Martins zipped round. No Red-rumped Swallow in with them no matter how hard I tried. What did appear very briefly was a fly through of 4 Swifts. Sweet. Its definitely summer now.

Of course I had a bash on Wii Fit when I got back and now ache significantly.

Monday 27 April 2009

Diligence fails to pay

For a change I was dead diligent today, writing 1,000 words toward the old dissertation (due in friday) eshewing lesser glories such as birding. Sadly my choice bit me on the bum. I considered a quick call in at Swine Moor at lunchtime but rejected this idea in order to get cracking with my work. The county is positively crawling with Red-rumped Swallows at the moment so it was obvious that one would pitch up due to my decision. Oh and the motor failed the MOT. Not too badly thankfully. First thing tomorrow Swine Moor here I come. And then picking up our Wii Fit. Wooo!

Sunday 26 April 2009

Batting Tick

First game of cricket this season today - a 20 over friendly against Fridaythorpe. We batted first, with myself in at number 5. We managed a very respectable 141 with a 30 not out a nice start for me. They were shot out for 26 in 11 overs which sums up the quality. A very nice batting tick for me came in the shape of a Yellow Wagtail that landed at Long Off as I advanced to 5 with a lofted cover drive.

Friday 24 April 2009

After hours

After finishing at uni at 12 I shuffled off birding down Spurn way. A grub round Sammy's Point was unproductive but I perservered and the first decent birds of the day came in the form of a dozen Black-tailed Godwit whizzing south offshore of the holiday camp. I moved up Beacon Lane to Beacon Ponds where 3 rather stunning Bar-tailed Godwits in varied plumages pottered about at the edge of the pond. One fully plumaged bird was breath taking and Im pretty sure was a plumage tick. I came back down Beacon Lane only to hear a din created by 4 Magpies. No bird of prey but then something large shot out of the back of a bush - a Cuckoo, a year tick and no calling involved. Further pottering produced nothing of note except the rather sickening Coot parenting behaviour where they pick on a youngster and try and kill it. Very hard to watch as the young coot kept coming back to its 'loving' parent. Time was passing so I decided to move onto Swinemoor prior to heading home. Here I bumped into one of the Flamboro birders (im sorry I didnt get your name!). The Wood Sandpiper was soon seen as were plenty of Whimbrel. We both picked up a Whimbrel flying across the meadows but when it seemed to land lost it. Several Yellow Wags beetled about and then another year tick - a Sedge Warbler burst into song at our feet. Final bird was an LRP on one of the flashes. As im at work tonight I shot off to get home, 4 year ticks (3 self found) better off.

Thursday 23 April 2009

Further Dipping

Had another bash at the Little Bunting this afternoon (I know morning would have been better but I was sleeping after a night shift), entirely unsuccessful as i'm sure the title indicated. I deserved it - I went round the golf course - I scoped all the quiet corners. I didnt even get any decent compensation birds - it was a bollocks afternoon with a chilly wind late on. Highlights run like this - flyover Yellow Wagtail, 3 White Wagtails, 5-6 Pink Feet on north Marsh, a Grey Partridge in the gorse field by the lighthouse and 4 Wheatears. 4! Anyway to brighten the mood here are 2 terrible Wheatear photos - one digibinned one digiscraped. I even managed to dip the female Ring Ouzel in the gorse field. Score.

Wednesday 22 April 2009


There was a Little Bunting at Flamboro today. I dipped it hideously but did find a White Wag, Tree Pipit and little else. Bums.

Tuesday 21 April 2009


My little sister, Laura and her boyfriend Ady are running a 10k for WheelPower. A worthy cause im sure you'll agree. Laura bless her has barely done a days exercise in her life and thus I will be massively impressed if she makes it. If you feel like supporting her and Ady's run then donate here:



A Very Funny Joke by Clement Freud

Monday 20 April 2009

Snowdon Pics

Halfway there up Pyg Pass

Bob climbing far quicker than I could manage

The slackers get there eventually
Us at the summit
Proof we got there if you dont believe the closeup. Bit busy!

South Stack

Sunday 19 April 2009

Warm Weekend in Wales

Spent the weekend camping in the shadow of Snowdon with a couple of my best mates, (Mark) Tucker & Bob (Sheard). It was essentially a non-birdy weekend but I took the bins just in case. Journeyed down in the hazy sun with limited visibility but had several Buzzards over the roads and the first Raven and my first of the year soaring over the A55 in Conwy. It was still light when we pitched up and the tent was soon up with the amber nectar flowing. A velly drunken evening ensued with portable barbecue and drunk darts.
Unfortunatly I had to share a blowup bed with Tucker for the weekend and whilst im a rotund gent this bloke is a man mountain. EEK. I survived until morning and we had our fry up before departing for an ascent of Snowden via Pyg pass. We went up at my pace as I lacked the fitness to spring up. Bird highlights on the journey to the starting point were a handful of Wheatears and some singing Phylloscs. On the climb we had Ravens landing between us and circling over Tucker. A good feed there? Many Herring Gulls hung over the colls and as we climbed the sun illuminated some breathtaking scenery with glistening lakes and sheer drops. The summit was great both relief and achievement. A thrush shaped passerine sliped over the scree but I only get a glimpse of black. Doh.
A long slog down the Llanberis route was terminated in a cold bottle of Cider with Siskins calling in the trees around us. On the way down a group of 13 Ravens soar around us. The evening involved pain and beer. Sleep was more uncomfortable.
Waking up to another sunny day we quickly headed off after a brekkie of fried things. A nod to my birdwatching led us onto Anglesey and more specifically a brightly lit South Stack. Many sea birds buzzed about and a corvid was a Raven and then as I asked at the visitor centre a Red-billed Chough buzzed past. We then rested on the grass atop the cliffs the lads soaking up the sun and me admiring Choughs buzzing backward and forward. I scoped a few Puffins for Bob and got a few views of Porpoise which was great stuff. No manxies but a few Wheatears and hirundines were good. A smart male Stonechat entertained the lads and then a Chough zipped over my head only to be joined soaring by 6 others. Lifers. Brilliant. Time ticked on and the big game approached -not the FA cup semi but Spurs(my team) vs Newcastle (Bobs). Bragging rights to me with a turgid 1-0 win. Possibly gonna be the last match between the 2 in a while. We spent the time in a 'nice' pub in Conwy ut we enjoyed it nonetheless. A quick blast and we were home. I will be sticking some photos of the weekend up tomorrow. No Chough pics but some rugged scenery and pretty visages. And those are the pics with Bob in.

Thursday 16 April 2009


Looks like the Lesser Scaup may have been a hybrid after all - no detail on the nail but a lack of vermiculation makes a Pochard * Tufty the likely source. Also please note that there is no access to the West end of Hornsea Mere from the public footpath.

Some photos from my old mobile

Dont expect quality - more a splash of colour
Yellow-browed Warbler 1st Winter - the day of my first (although this bird wasn't it). Many were knocking about the Rose & Crown Car Park that day.
Black Redstart on the Church in Filey 2007 - another lifer at the time
2nd winter Glaucous Gull on Barmston Beach 2009 - I was chuffed with this refind.
One of the first Yellow Wags of 2009 on Canal Scrape.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Super Scaup

Paid homage to the Lesser Scaup thats been at Hornsea Mere (just down the road) for the last couple of days. The first bird I got onto was a Greater Scaup as was the second (no prior knowledge scores these as a self find) and then fast asleep behind them a cracking drake - I presume the Holme Pierrepoint bird headed north. Feel vindicated that I didnt twitch it in Notts. Some chat about the bird not being gen on the Hull Valley site but it looked the real deal to me with a peaked hindcrown with no tuft and lacking the green gloss that the Greaters had. Just a shame I didnt get a look at the underwing. Ne'ermind. OTL as they say. Going to Wales on Friday for a drinking, camping weekend with my mates so heres hoping for some redstart, paddy fly and Wood Wobblers.

Sunday 12 April 2009

Blackcap City

My ambiguity to the status of Warblers in my garden has been dispelled - the blossom-laden trees at the bottom of my garden have rung out to Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps all morning with 4 male Blackcaps eating their way through the attendent insects. This takes the new Garden List to 37 in under a year. Im trying desperatly to get a picture but they all buggered off!

Edit: Attached is the best effort thus far - ignore the glare off the conservatory window and the general blur and bask in the radiance of a garden tick.


Went to Spurn yesterday morning for a yomp about for some early migrants and I was not to be disappointed. The drive up produced a couple of flyover Little Egrets. A wander down the triangle from the Rose & Crown produced plenty of Snipe, Curlew and my first self found Wheatear this year. A year tick were a small party of Brents that flew past. I could hear both Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs but they were all a bit distant to distinguish. Calling in at Canal Scrape failed to produce much but as I wandered across Clubley's my first couple of Yellow Wags went over my head. At the seawatch hide a few were vismigging and I stopped with them for a while seeing a Long-eared Owl circle clubleys before heading to the canal zone and seeing my first Willow Warbler, House Martin, Blackcap and Green Sandpiper plus finding a very pale Lesser Redpoll which caused much debate before being ID'd - the first Lesser of the year at Spurn but I wanted it to be Mealy for the self found list...still a good find. I found a single Common Scoter whizzing past and a Merlin shot across the back of the field. A Gropper was singing by the entrance to Spurn YWT and eventually showed at the 3rd attempt, my earliest by a distance. Heading up to Sammy's with Geoff Dobbs & John Sadler produced little of any note but a self found Blackcap and many Willow Wobblers were additions to the self found yearlist. We did get some views of Yellow and White Wags on the deck - one a clasicish male and the other a grey rumped female. Eventually we headed back and trolled round Beacon Lane where 12 Little Gulls shot off the lagoon but no terns lurked. A failed attmept to find the Black Redstart at the holiday camp was a pain and just as I was leaving a pair of Garganey went onto Canal Scrape and then Clubleys. I missed these but as recommpence I managed to get a nice photo of a Yellow Wag on the phone which I will upload asap dependent upon carphone warehouse getting my new phone to me. Last of the day was a House Martin whizzing over a hotel in Wetherby where I was at a wedding. Mint.

Wednesday 8 April 2009

If you are easily offended ont watch this!

Carphone Warehouse - never use them

Carphone Warehouse are the biggest bag of useless shit in the entire service industry if by service you mean robbing scumbags who never deliver. Over christmas the instructed debt collectors to retrieve an unpaid debt (which they didn't bill me correctly for) and thus we spent 3 weeks behind locked doors. When I paid the debt - which wasnt a massive sum they still failed to inform the debt collectors that the debt was paid. They incentivised my stay with the company with £350 worth of credit and discounts and a free laptop but failed to respond to my complaint, when i enquired they claimed it had been dealt with satisfactorily. How that works im not sure - if by not telling the disgruntled customer is resolving it. Anyway Im expecting my upgrade to be delivered this week and they have misinformed me of the delivery 3 times, delivered it to the wrong address and keep suggesting I have it delivered to work despite the fact that I dont work in a set location. Now they tell me the phone and computer I ordered wont be delivered until next week despite the original promise of this monday. They have cost me £215 in lost wages and I am very upset. I urge you not to patronise this so called company. Carphone Warehouse are shit.

On a birding front - I went to Barmston this afternoon and saw 8 migrants. All mipits. Ad there was a howling westerly. Despite this I walked south from the car park for the first time and found some extremely good habbo that may aid the self found list later in the year (if i can get out of the baby filled house). Off out for an afternoon of it tomorrow and Spurn on saturday morning. Fingers crossed I see something. Anything...

Wife is still poorly but she has a bump now and we only have 24 weeks to go. Its mental. Got loads of baby stuff now, all very cute. Got a wedding to go to sat night and the wife is des...

Sunday 5 April 2009

Non birdy day

Had a day at my gran's which involved sitting in the sun whilst being virtually perched upon by a (very) confiding Song Thrush. The journey there is a pleasant one of 30 odd miles across the wolds and ryedale. A couple of nice birds, first a pair of Swallows at Kilham were my first of the year and a Red Kite south of Pickering was a good sighting. Other than that the wife had really bad morning sickness which threatened to spoil the interior of my car at one point.

Saturday 4 April 2009

Jack High

Woke up this morning to the sound of several Chiffchaffs around the house (does call constitute a garden tick? Im not sure of 'the rules'). Washed up to Zach de la Rocha singing his heart out only to be bested by a bird 11cm long.

Was watching Spurs when I got wind of a showy Jack Snipe at Tophill Low on South Marsh East. Decided to bin the football off (thankfully it turns out) and zoomed off. On the way to the hide I found these guys at the side of O res wood.
Cue recognisable photo shock!
I quickly made my way to south marsh east and showing incredibly on the mud islands at the back was a tasty Jack Snipe, my first that hadn't shot out from under my feet. Here is a short video in which the bird can be made out. Just. Noticeable field marks viewable are also scant but I promise it showed a dark central crown stripe and a pale mandible base and was in general a short fat, black and gold snipe. Also knocking about were a number of Common Snipe and 10-12 Sand Martins which were a year tick.

Friday 3 April 2009

Patch Warbler

First warbler of the spring on the new patch, a singing Chiffchaff (pictured in hi-def here) which was a delight as per usual. Nothing else except a large white, a small tortoiseshell and the usual garden birds.


You set off in the fog and put your lights on. Halfway to work and its sunglasses weather so it doesnt occur to you to turn the lights off when you arrive... Bollocks.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

A Lovely Sunny Day

Got Home from work at 3ish so headed to flamborough for a couple of hours. No great shakes - a few Mipits and alba wags vismigging and more on the deck. Warblers were represented by 3 Goldcrests in old fall hedge. Plenty of Kitts, a year tick, and the sea was like a mill pond but nothing of note was on it. Plenty of horny Linnets knocking about plus a few Yammers & a pair of Shellduck on the Old Fall flash. But it was sunny and warm so that made it amazing.

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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