Friday 28 September 2012

Some Stuff

Photos of some birds I have seen this month. Other bits included adult Sabine's Gull, Leach's Petrel, hundreds of skuas including 5 Long-tailed Skua, 5 White-beaked Dolphins and Manx & Sooty Shearwaters in abundance.

Long-tailed Skua
Long-tailed Skua
Intermediate Morph adult Arctic Skua
In the field I thought Pom but this shot made it much clearer.
Today I have been Vismigging at Barmston for 90 minutes from 8.30 until 10am. Best of the lot was 31 Pintail north. Also House Martins were moving south in number. I imagine Spurn will have a big count today.

Meadow Pipit 48
House Martin 128
Swallow 24
Skylark 1
Goldfinch 17
Linnet 1
Pied Wagtail 1
Greenfinch 3
Tree Sparrow 3

Reed Bunting 4
Goldfinch 23
House Martin 1
Pintail 31

I also did my final WeBS low tide counts and it was pretty steady although there were big numbers of Turnstone and Lapwing on one of the sectors plus a Grey Heron that managed to get recorded on two sectors. Aside from that nada of interest. Out tomorrow for a bit but unsure what to do due to westerlies.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Cracking Kilnsea

So the first bird I saw was a Yellow-browed Warbler in the Crown and Anchor which was followed very swiftly by a Red-breasted Flycatcher and a Pied Flycatcher. It was a good start that would have improved immeasurably if I had connected with the Rose-coloured Starling at Easington. Up there I saw a few Redstarts and plenty of Meadow Pipits plus a few Chiffchaffs. I returned an hour later to Kilnsea and got stuck into the migrants in the area. Further Yellow-brows in Kew and a Spotted Flycatcher on the roof of the church along with more Pied Flys, a Goldcrest and a Willow Warbler. More common migrants were knocking about and 2 Red-breasted Flycatchers were showing in Kew Villa.

A Lesser Whitethroat showed well at the gate and we were shown a Tree Pipit in the hand.

I was heading along the River along the canal with ample numbers of Redstarts, Lesser Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler. A Little further along and a Whinchat topped a post. I became aware of a Greenish Warbler a few hundred yards away at Riverside Hotel and quickly turned round. A wise decision as my second Greenish showed at first piecemeal and finally atop a bush before departing to Steve Exleys plantation. Cracking view at the end although very brief. No sooner had this bird gone than a Hen Harrier was seen hunting the fields to the west near Beacon Lane.

I headed back to the Crown where the Red-breasted Flycatchers were showing intermittantly. I managed a few record shots and heard a Yellow-brow. I connected with another Yellow-brow across the road in Cliff Farms walled garden along with a Reed Warbler and a couple of Lesser Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler. A Great Spotted Woodpecker hit the nets in Kew and flycatchers were everywhere. I dipped a Barred Warbler and it was time to go after a rendez-vous with Michael Flowers to purchase a couple of his Calenders. At last knockings the report of an interesting warbler in long grass near Clubleys led to a probable Locustella sp. missing the mist nets. In light of the 3 mainland PG Tips today several long faces were present.

The two RB Flys are probably different birds.

Friday 21 September 2012

Glaucous Surprise

I went to sea for a few days this week which went really well but I am not really allowed to say what we saw so I won't. But it was good enough to induce a visit to Spurn for a seawatching and viz-migging afternoon. The weather was a bit hit and miss with strong sun, drizzle, cloud and gusting westerly winds. Not exactly ideal but I persisted.

I managed 3 hours in the seawatch hide by the warren with a couple of other guys. The undoubted highlight was a Glaucous Gull drifting south. I only saw the back end as it disappeared following the road but a big brute it was. There was little else moving save a regular passage of Swallows plus the occasional House or Sand Martin.

The sea was a little more productive with a couple of Arctic Skuas, both adult types with one light and one dark morph. A single Manx Shearwater worked distantly north before settling on the sea. A steady flow of Red- throated Divers went south with 32 in total.

Small numbers of wildfowl were also moving with 10 Pink-footed Geese coming in off. Several small groups of Teal and Common Scoter moved south along with a single flock of Wigeon. All said it was an enjoyable if not spectacular three hours. Hopefully I get the opportunity as the autumn progresses to get out and about a bit more. Infact there is a Pec Sand at Swinemoor so hopefully I can catch up with it today.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Mothing the Night Away

It was warm and calm last night so I stuck the moth trap out after a couple of blanks last week. I finally caught something with some new species for the garden. 10 moths were trapped but a carpet type thing legged it before I got there. The trap consisted of:

1 Lesser Yellow Underwing
2 Common Marbled Carpet - new for garden
2 Green Carpet - new for garden
1 Garden Carpet - new for garden
1 Silver Y - new for garden
1 Flounced Rustic - new for garden
1 Square-spot Rustic

Flounced Rustic

Flounced Rustic

Green Carpet

Green Carpet (worn)

Common Marbled Carpet

Sunday 2 September 2012

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

Today I hit up the RSPB Skua and Shearwater Cruise out of Bridlington on the Yorkshire Belle, where my father joined me and a couple of mates. A quiet start was punctuated by the call of "POM". Now this is a bird that I need still for Yorkshire but I only got poor views of this bird. For me the ginger tones, extensive wing flash and bulk without a double underwing flash made it a slam dunk juvenile Great Skua and I dismissed it but all the people up top spotting seemed delighted and crowed about it throughout. I'd love to string it but I cant in all good conscience.

Not the contentious Bonxie
A few family parties of Sandwich and Common Tern were the sole entertainment on the way out but we soon bumped into large parties of becalmed Little Gulls. At this point we were surrounded by Harbour Porpoises and I had high hopes of something better but this seemed unlikely as the time ticked away. A juv Arctic Tern came into the boat briefly amongst parties of Commons and a Black Tern was called at the back of the boat but it didnt materialise. A handful of Manx Shearwaters swept past as we hit the limit of the Yorkshire Belles allowed distance from land and we turned back, seeing more Little Gulls. Amongst these I saw a slightly bigger gull with a distinctive grey wedge on its back. It was flying away and the light was bad but I was sure it was a Sabine's Gull. Unfortunately nobody else picked it out amongst the large group of Little Gulls. I was treated sceptically by the spotters (who I note reported their 'Pom' to birdguides but not the Sabs). Now here I need to have a little moan. The caller who was relaying sightings seemed to not know who his target audience was, which birds were worth calling, how to give directions. He was also far too slow to relay information for it to be useful so it was frustrating from what is normally a smooth operation. I appreciate the level of experience of the passengers was pretty low meaning that the spotters were doing bulk of the work but they didnt listen properly. Additionally, due to the slowness of the calling a number of birds were only seen by one side of the boat leaving the other side frustrated.

Its a juvenile LBBG

An Arctic Skua came into the back of the boat and it seemed just that. It wasnt cold looking or particularly barred. Nor did it bounce but it seemed that the callers were obcessed with turning it into a Long-tailed Skua. Generally I was unimpressed by the operation as it seemed very amateurish - the info on the birds was largely platitudes or plain wrong when on previous trips that years breeding success etc would be rolled out plainly. A crib sheet would have been easy preperation. Anyhow, enough moaning - it was largely an enjoyable experience. A Bonxie gave a good fly by and there were plenty of Puffins nobbing about on the water. As we returned a Spotted Flycatcher flew over the front of the boat which was a surprising year tick. As we returned to the harbour a couple of Purple Sandpipers were residing on the breakwater.

Not a Sabine's Gull
Due to a dictat from my wife there was to be no Arctic Warbler today (but I have got permission to go tomorrow if it sticks). Instead I headed home with my dad. Whilst having a quiet coffee in the garden reflecting I noticed a Holly Blue in the trees which I digitally rendered.

Holly Blue
Moving on to all things lepidopteran I had the trap out last night. 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings were expected and unsurprising was a worn Square-spot Rustic after the 3 we had indoors the week prior. Better was a Single-spot Wave and a Common Carpet. Addtionally something green and marbled flew off before I could work out what it was or photograph it.

Common Carpet
Single-spot Wave

Saturday 1 September 2012


Lesser Yellow Underwing
Mouse Moth
Common Rustic agg.
Grey Tortrix agg.
Large Yellow Underwing
So mothing has commenced. Only 9 moths trapped, one of which legged it but I did manage the following.

3 Lesser Yellow Underwing
1 Large Yellow Underwing
2 Mouse Moth
1 Common Rustic agg
1 Grey Tortrix agg

and a Pug sp that legged it...

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

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