Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Yorkshire List Increases Again

It's on the list!
As expected (see Yorkshire Birding volume 20 page 74), the British Ornithologists’ Union’s Records Committee has adopted recommendations by the Taxonomic Sub-committee that Eurasian Stonechat Saxicola torquatus should now be treated as three species: European Stonechat S. rubicola (added to Category A), Siberian Stonechat S. maurus (added to Category A) and African Stonechat S. torquatus (removed from Category A; extralimital). This of course means that the Yorkshire list has now increased by one and that many Yorkshire listers will have gained an extra species. European Stonechat is of course a reasonably common in the County whilst nowadays Siberian Stonechat is recorded almost annually. For the purpose of the Yorkshire Listers League Table we need to know if you have seen Siberian Stonechat in Yorkshire so we can add one to your tally, although in the case of the majority of observers we do have this on record and have altered the list accordingly. However, if you are unsure if this has been done for you or not (eg. your total given in the League Table does not tally with your own copy) then please let us know immediately. For those who have a copy of the list which currently does not contain Siberian Stonechat at all, this should be inserted below (Eurasian) Stonechat which should be now named European Stonechat.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Latest Issue now on sale
for contents details see latest issue section

Sunday, 18 December 2011

more on that goose............

Re the Scaling Dam Red-breasted Goose, whilst the age is encouraging its behaviour and locality are quite incompatible with likely BBRC acceptance and it is clearly much less likely to be wild than the Nosterfield Nature Reserve bird of February 1998. That individual was originally accepted by the BBRC based on its sighting at Dormans Pool, Cleveland, on 7 January 98 (BB 92:563). Unfortunately, this was only seen by birders from outside of Cleveland. Some locals were so peeved that they (disgracefully) lobbied against the record and had it overturned. Had it been widely seen by Teesside birders, keen to add a new species to their county lists, this would undoubtedly not have happened and the Nosterfield bird would very likely have been accepted the following year. It had not been submitted in time to be accepted alongside the Dormans Pool sighting. Scaling Dam Reservoir has had numerous records of escaped waterfowl. During the last six years, Baikal Teal, Speckled Teal, Grey Teal, Wood Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck, White-faced whistling Duck, Lesser Whistling Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Bar-headed Goose and Hooded Merganser have all been seen. It also has very small numbers of feral Pinkfeet and the occasional feral Barnacle Goose. Those that lobbied against the Dormans Pool (Nosterfield) bird might now be regretting that as they can hardly pursue the Scaling Dam bird which is obviously much less likely to be wild than the earlier bird. They have clearly been hoisted by their own petards!
Post from Dave Britton

Thursday, 8 December 2011

'Taiga Feet'?

The goose thought by many to be a 'Taiga Bean' with a Pink-foot.
A damned good November finished in style for Yorkshire birders when a Desert Wheatear was relocated at Bempton. Although the bird, a male had been present since at least 20th, news was slow to come out and it wasn’t until the final weekend of the month that the crowds began to gather. Although this was not the first Desert Wheatear in the county this autumn (one was at Loftus earlier in the month), it did allow some birders to brag off four species of Wheatear in East Yorkshire during the month. Northern, Isabelline and Pied had all been seen at Spurn of course and birders there were one again left wondering just how much longer they will have to wait for their 'just deserts!' And so into December and with 'Dessy boy', still at Bempton, a probable 'Taiga Bean Goose' just up the road, and a first-winter Red-breasted Goose just a little bit further up the road there was still plenty of reason for Yorkshire birders to visit the coast. Indecently, the latter continued to be the subject of much debate as regards to its validity but with news that the assumed wild south coast bird (also a first-winter) had left the Brent’s and joined up with Canada’s (as did the Spurn bird of 1978) it certainly made sense to go and see it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Yorkshire Listers League Table Appeal

A recent computer blip has caused technical problems with the Yorkshire Listers League Table database. Because of this we are requesting that all participants send us an updated copy of their list unless you have done so since 31st October 2011. A copy of the list to fill in (excel spreadsheet) can be obtained by emailing, however, if you have kept your original copy up to date then sending us that is quite acceptable. It is our intension to publish the League Tables in the next issue of Yorkshire Birding so please ensure you get your updated list to us as soon as possible.

East Feast

Bean Goose at Spurn - one of several that arrived in Yorkshire this weekend - A Gaggle

As expected the weekend didn't disappoint, the easterlies kept coming and with them came at least three Dusky Warblers as well as a scattering of Dick's Pipits and coastal Woodlarks, whilst those visiting the 'showy' Hume's Warbler at South Gare were also treated to a Black Guillemot, a tricky bird to catch up with in Yorkshire. The highlight of the weekend however was the widespread influx of White-fronted and Bean Geese with one of the largest gatherings being at Scaling Dam with 63 and 3 respectively. Scaling Dam - You don't get wild geese there though do you?

Friday, 11 November 2011

Some of the crowd think it’s all over……………

Isabelline Wheatear, Spurn, November 2011 - Ron Marshall

Fireworks at last, as November kicked off with the bang it’s supposed to with the discovery of an Isabelline Wheatear at Spurn mid-afternoon on 4th. Fortunately, for the many admirers who visited next day it ‘over-nighted’ and being only the second ever twitchable in the county (the first being at Kilnsea 20 years ago) it found itself being added to some high ranking Yorkshire listers tallies including Mike Bayldon, Mick Turton and John Hewitt. No sooner had the cars been parked back on the drives than another much required Yorkshire tick was discovered, a cracking Penduline Tit, this time at deepest inland Wintersett Reservoir. Although the news was put out pretty quick only a handful of quick-off-the-mark twitchers got-into-gear before the bird (or birds, as the finders thought there may have been two or even three) promptly disappeared leaving an ever increasing crowd of frustrated dippers. With easterlies still blowing what had been a near disastrous autumn for the east coast rarity hunter is finally coming up trumps with this week seeing the arrival of a splendid Pied Wheatear on the point at Spurn, and a male Desert Wheatear north east of Lotus amongst the numerous sub rarities. And, with at the time of writing, a Hume’s Warbler having just been discovered at South Gare and a weekend of south-easterlies to come its surely a bit too early to say……………… is now!

Penduline Tit, Wintersett Reservoir, November 2011 - Carl Dixon


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Wild Goose Chase?

On the last day of September a Red-breasted Goose was photographed feeding on the beach at Saltburn before later moving to Scaling Dam but should we take it serious? First reactions were no, but as time moved on the Cleveland lot soon liked what they saw and at the time of writing many appear to favour it being a wild bird. So why? Well, in its favour the bird is un-ringed, in pristine condition and perhaps most intriguing of all it is a juvenile, something which certainly won't harm its cause. Also, according to the locals it spent the first three days of its stay constantly feeding which might indicate a long journey previous, although pessimists might suggest it wore itself out cutting through the cage! On the flip side since it moved to Scaling Dam it is not particularly keeping good company (Canada Geese) although neither are the recently arrived Pink-feet which are presumably wild? So what to do? Easy really, what else is there to do in Yorkshire during an autumn of westerlies!

      The Juvenile Red-breasted Goose 'shaming itself' at Scaling Dam.
       Photographer - Edna Scruples

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Roll on the easterlies!

It's been a quiet start to the autumn so far for the Yorkshire lister, with a lack of easterlies ensuring very few drift migrants have appeared on the coast. Although predominately from the west the occasional switch to northerlies has at least kindled a bit of sea bird passage allowing one or two fledgling listers to add species such as Balearic Shearwater and Long-tailed Skua to their tally but the only real rarities reported (Black-browed Albatross, Fea's Petrel and probable Yelkouan Shearwater) were seen by just a tiny number of observers in total and could end up getting a rough ride with the BBRC. Undoubted highlight so far has been the juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper which was found at Beacon Ponds during the early evening of September10th but although it remained until dusk it had departed by next morning meaning that in the main only the Spurn regulars caught up with it. Amongst those who were able to add it to their Yorkshire list was finder Mick Turton, whilst his work colleague Rich Swales went one better and added it to his Brit’ list. Roll on the easterlies!

Action at last on September 29th when news broke that the Sandhill Crane which had previously been seen in Scotland was heading down the east coast. First picked up in Northumberland it continued south finally crossing the Tees into Yorkshire at about mid day. By this time many Yorkshire listers were heading to Spurn hedging their bets on the ‘funnel effect’ but alas when the bird got to Whitby it headed inland, and although it had been clocked at a few Yorkshire sites, it was generally only enjoyed by a select band of Cleveland listers, leaving those posted at Scarborough and all points south totally frustrated.

the Semi P' at Beacon Ponds, September 2011 - John Hewitt