Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Recent Roundup

Hawfinch in the Worsbrough Valley - Carl Dixon. A few around at the moment.

December in Yorkshire can often be the quietest month of the year and so far there has been little for the Yorkshire birder to get excited about with the exception of shed-loads of Waxwings. These berry guzzling beauties have been pretty much everywhere, but are particularly prominent in South Yorkshire where flocks of up to 400 are carrying out ‘supermarket raids’. 

Waxwing, Hoyland - Pete Garrity. Shed-loads around at the moment!

The odd northerly blow has given sea watchers a little bit of reward with a few Little Auks (mostly Spurn), a Pom’ Skua (Flamborough) and even a Sooty Shearwater (Filey) recently. The main excitement however, was reserved for the fortunate few, with a brief-visiting King Eider at Filey on 8th easily the highlight so far. Wintersett Reservoir remains as good as anywhere at the moment with the returning drake American Wigeon being joined by a couple of Long-tailed Ducks (one still present), a drake Smew and several Scaup, not to mention the odd Caspian Gull coming into the gull roost. And judging by today’s news, a visit to West Yorkshire may need to take in a visit to Mirfield too, as apparently, the adult Ring-billed Gull has returned to Sands Lane Gravel Pits for the third consecutive winter. The odd Hawfinch is getting sighted in the County at the moment, definitely a bird worth looking out for. Bitterns are scattered around, Old Moor RSPB being the ‘best chance site’ and currently and there is the odd Mandarin about too, though as always Hackness Lake near Scarborough offers the best chance of connecting, 27 birds (14 drakes) displaying from in (well up) and around the trees this weekend - a spectacular sight indeed!

One of up to four Bitterns seen recently at Old Moor RSPB - Jeff Wragg

Monday, 19 November 2012

Remains fairly quiet in the County with just a few snippets over the weekend such as Richard's Pipit at Flamborough and Wood Lark south at Spurn. Even the Waxwings have leveled out a bit although bird's moving down the coast suggest plenty more to come. The Glaucous Gull still keeps popping up at Scarborough and one or two Caspian Gulls are there to be had too.

This Caspian Gull (probably a second-winter) was 'phone-scoped' at Orgreave Lagoons this weekend. - Roy Twigg

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The National Trust’s High Peak Moors Vision and Plan Project

Red Grouse - Ron Marshall

This is probably a once in a lifetime chance to influence management of this critically important part of our County. It is vital that conservationists offer support and propose specific actions. We all know what goes on! So if you want to see more birds like this:

Hen Harrier - Ron Marshall

And this:
Merlin - Ron Marshall

then please follow the link and take action. You can give your feedback online, or via a form that you can download from the website. The deadline for comments is 30th November.
http://www.high-peak-moors.co.uk/ to view the plan, or call 01433 670368 or email peakdistrict@nationaltrust.org.uk to be sent a copy through the post.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Berry nice!

With the exception of the American Wigeon still in situ at Wimtersett Reservoir the news is pretty much all Waxwings. This selection of photos from Hull kindly supplied by Mike Ashforth.

Monday, 12 November 2012

throwing the teddy out?

No sign of the 'Azorean Yellow-legged Gull' in the Wintersett roost this evening. The potential of a future split didn't appear to convince many Yorkshire listers and of the 16 birders present at dusk all but two or three were locals. Not a complete waste of time for some of those who had come a fair distance though, as at least one managed to ensure Ring-necked Parakeet was added to his tally in between numerous telephone calls about push-chair accessories!

Sunday, 11 November 2012


A fairly quiet weekend excepting large numbers of Waxwings, a good arrival of Richard's Pipits (two each at Cowbar and Flamborough + one at Spurn) and a very brief Little Bunting on The Humber near Skeffling. Something that might get the insurance listers going though was a bird thought to be an 'Azorean Yellow-legged Gull' that roosted on Wintersett Reservoir tonight. A potential tick for the future? Depends on youre life expectancy!

The gull thought to be 'Azorean Yellow-legged Gull in theWintersett roost tonight - Steve Denny

The gull thought to be 'Azorean Yellow-legged Gull in the Wintersett roost tonight - Steve Denny

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Time to do the Christmas shopping?

It's Waxwings, Waxwings and more Waxwings at the moment!

Part of a flock of over 100 Waxwings in Sheffield today - Keith Pickering

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Its shot-off!

Still not much change in last few days, just more signs of the impending winter, so here's a few reminders....

This first-winter Caspian Gull was roosting at Anglers CP. earlier in the week. Don't bother looking for it now though, as the men from DEFRA went a hunting there with devastating results. Not a single gull roosted today and some of the popular birds that birders had been traveling there to see had also deserted. Little wonder there's so much hatred towards the men from the ministry! Photo - Steve Denny

I'd heard everything was bigger and better in Yorkshire but berries this big.............. Photo - Ian Smith

No talk of impending winter in Yorkshire is complete without a picture of a Holbeck Med' Gull. Photo - Justin Carr

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Winter reminder

A rather winter-like weekend once the Great White Egret flew off from Scarborough. Glaucous Gulls, Waxwings, Snow Buntings and Twite featured prominent but alas no late autumn hoped-for's such as Dusky, Hume's or even Pallas's Warblers, yet..........

This rather dark looking Glaucous Gull was found in Scarborough Harbour Friday - Roy Harvey. The rather long wings and rounded head may suggest this bird to be a female.
The Glaucous Gull in Scarborough Harbour today looking a bit more typical perhaps? - Dave Mansell
 Waxwing - John Hewitt. This bird was photographed in Easington this morning and later found its way on to the photographers garden list.
Yes, winter is here as this flock of Snow Buntings at Beacon Ponds seems to confirm. - John Hewitt

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Great White Egret still at The Mere, Scarborough late afternoon.  Otherwise, the drake Yank Wigeon still at Anglers CP. and a couple of adult Caspian Gulls at Orgreave.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dogging gets the bird!

Today's main bird was this cracking Great White Egret in Scarborough. It was still present late afternoon and according to local fable (dog walkers) it was there yesterday too. Well who'd have thought?
The Great White Egret at The Mere in Scarborough today - Dave Mansell

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Waxwings are coming!

The Waxwings are coming, aren't they? - Ian Smith
 Things have predictably quietened a bit in the last couple of days, however, Waxwings are starting to pop-up inland now as well as on the coast. Could this be another Waxwing winter? Time will tell. Otherwise pretty much status-quo, the exception being a Shorelark that flew south at Spurn.

One of two Olive-backed Pipits at Sammy's Point, Easington on Saturday - Ian Smith

The Bluethroat at Easington Lagoons late last week - Ian Smith

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bright bits of a dull weekend

As expected the coast produced a decent passage of Little Auks including this one at Filey Brigg
- Dave Mansell
The strong northerlies Saturday produced the expected movement of Little Auks along the coast as well as a selection of other seabirds, Long-tailed and Pom' Skuas, Grey Phalarope and a Black Guillemot at Filey, which is always a good Yorkshire bird. Bush-bashing was difficult however, although the birds were out there as proven by a surprise Short-toed Lark at Spurn, and couple of Olive-backed Pipits and a Little Bunting at Easington. Good numbers of thrushes, particularly Blackbirds were grounded and many flocks of Starlings came in off the sea sometimes with the odd Little Auk thrown in. Woodcocks, Black Redstarts and Ring Ouzels were also a-plenty and a sprinkle of Waxwings brightened up the dull weather.

The Black Guillemot that's currently lingering at Filey - Dave Mansell

Friday, 26 October 2012

Still a few bits and pieces today including Great Grey Shrikes at Easington and Old Moor + a sprinkle of Waxwings. Seabirds included a scatter of Little Auks along the coast (first of many?), a Leach's Petrel at Spurn and a juv Sabs' past Long Nab Scarborough. Most interesting record concerns that of a White-billed Diver photographed flying over Flamborough yesterday. A Yorkshire lingerer would certainly be welcomed, particularly by the 'new kids on the block'.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Jack Snipe at Spurn - Ron Marshall
Predictably a few birds again before the onslaught of colder weather reaches us. Dusky Warblers at Flamborough and Long Nab, Scarborough. Olive-backed Pipit at Spurn by Borrow Pits this aft. Bluethroat still at Easington Lagoons. Pallas's Warbler Filey. Richard's Pipit Brotton, Four Cranes still at Goole Fields. American Wigeon, drake Anglers CP. still.

Jack Snipe at Spurn - Ron Marshall

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Inland rules ok - Where else would you expect a Pallas's Warbler?

Highlight of the day was a Pallas's Warbler at Hatfield Moors. The bird showed to a handful of observers late afternoon at Boston Park. The Little Bunting remains at South Gare, albeit illusive(do hope they are looking very carefully at this bird following events on Shetland?) and likewise the Bluethroat at Easington Lagoons. Four Cranes again visited Goole Fields.As for the predicted OBP - well that (or they?) were at Flambrough on Monday and Tuesday. We didn't know - honest!

Hawfinch trapped at Spurn yesterday - Rich Willison

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

News so far today: Bluethroat, Easington Lagoons, Richard's Pipit, Kilnsea (early am), Little Bunting, South Gare.
No Radde's, Dusky or OBP yet............................

Monday, 22 October 2012

Spurn sets the Ring-tone!

Short-eared Owl at Spurn, Ron Marshall
Mist and light north-easterlies along the coast saw the long awaited great arrival today. Spurn's numbers were always likely to stand out, among which were 57 Ring Ouzels, 21,000 + Redwings, nearly 10,000 Fieldfares, 800 Goldcrests, a record 2,675 Brambling and 20 Black Redstarts. Also seen there today were Richard's Pipit, Yellow-browed Warbler, Hawfinch, Lap' Bunting and a Storm Petrel. Most other sites had lesser numbers of the commoner species listed above but surrounding east coast County's had the likes of Olive-backed Pipit, Red-flanked Bluetail and Dusky Warbler. It doesn't take a genius to make this prediction but - surely tomorrow?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A quiet weekend overall with the most  noteworthy birds being the Pallas's Warbler at Flamborough and the American Wigeon at Anglers CP. Hardly big fodder for late October. New arrivals included a couple of Rough-legged Buzzards, one at Langsett and the other at Sleddale which is probably Yorkshire's most reliable spot for this species. Most intruiging report was that of an adult Franklin's Gull flying north past Saltburn yesterday. Now that would be nice.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Pallas's Warbler - Rich Willison
The Pallas's Warbler continues to grace the headland at Flamborough and a Wryneck was discovered nearby in 'Booted Gulley' at South Landing. Lapland Buntings are increasing with birds logged over Spurn, Long Nab Scarborough and Sunk Island today.

The Pallas's Warbler at Flamborough - Rich Willison

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Not too much change today with the Tawny Pipit still lurking between Easington Lagoons and Beacon Ponds (+ Bearded Tit at Spurn) and  Spoonbill/s at Fairburn/Swillington Ings and Blacktoft Sands RSPB.

The Tawny Pipit is still present today - Rich Willison
 And so is this bonny Bearded Tit along the Canal at Spurn- Rich Willison

Monday, 15 October 2012

Strange happenings

A strange sort of weekend in the County really neither good or bad. Best bird had to be the Tawny Pipit found at Easington Lagoons on Saturday. Tawny Pipit is a scarce bird in Yorkshire, so was it really coincidence that it was  in the very same spot as one there last year? It also played very hard to get most of the time, just like last year's bird did and last but not least it was found by the self same person. Remarkable! So could it be last year's bird? Well, the jury's still out on its age but the 2011 bird was trapped and ringed and this one isn't. At least we don't think it is. So that would presumably make it a different bird unless of course the scrap metal thieves have been at it again...................  

The Tawny Pipit at Easington Lagoons in one of those rare moments when it didn't  play hard to get.
Photograph - Mick Turton
Today's main birds are: Pallas's Warbler at Flamborough, a juv Black Guillemot off Filey Brigg late afternoon and the Tawny Pipit still at Easington. And fridays big talking point was that of a Lanceolated Warbler at Long Nab, Scarborough apparently seen by just one lucky observer. Oh well!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Place you're bets!

He's back! 
It seems the wind only has to fart from the east and birds appear along the coast. That's exactly what happened today as Flamborough and Spurn soon received RB Fly's with the latter site also attracting Yellow-browed Warbler and best of all a Radde's which was trapped at The Warren although it went to ground pretty quickly after release. Earlier this week four Common Cranes were at Goole Fields where a Honey Buzzard was seen passing over. A drake American Wigeon that appeared at Anglers Country Park is presumably last winters bird. A Cory's Shearwater seen passing south at Skinningrove Tuesday may well have been the bird seen at Flamborough next day. A Dotterel made a brief visit to the Top Fields at Filey. Interesting conditions over the next few days might hopefully do the business and the weekend invasion of birders at Spurn will surely produce something. Filey has been in decent form recently considering how little there's been on the coast in general this autumn, but of course the last few year's have seen the big prizes fall to the Great White Cape. Watch this space!

The drake American Wigeon at Anglers CP. today - Ron Marshall
(and header picture)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Tick as a parrot?
Following the recent article in Yorkshire Birding (Volume 20, pages 26 - 33) by David Hursthouse and Martin Blick covering Ring-necked Parakeets in Yorkshire, including their status and ‘tickability’, and an appeal for Yorkshire birders to let us have their views on the matter, a decision has now been taken to allow the species to be countable in The Yorkshire Listers League Table. The appeal for opinions met with no opposition to the species being deemed countable and the decision also falls in line with that of The Yorkshire Naturalist’s Union who state in the latest (2010) Yorkshire Bird Report ‘Due to increases in the feral British breeding population and to keep in line with BOURC’s decision to give it a C1E* categorisation, this species was moved into the main list in 2004. With small populations in neighbouring counties, it has now been decided to add this species to Yorkshire’s Category C list.’ We are aware that many, if not almost all participants of the Yorkshire Listers League will be able to add Ring-necked Parakeet to their tally, however, in the interests of accuracy we do need you to let us know this. As always, the ‘common sense rule’ must apply so please do not count any obvious escapee. For those already in possession of the electronic version of the Yorkshire Listers League List, Ring-necked Parakeet should be inserted between doves and cuckoos. Alternatively, as always, an updated version is available from yorkshirelists@blueyonder.co.uk which of course is also the address at where to let us know you have added the species.

Although the east coast has been pretty quiet recently it was action-stations inland when a 'ring-tailed' harrier which had been present at Firsby in South Yorkshire since around 10th September was sussed to be an adult female Pallid, that's the general opinion anyway. The bird chose a fairly small area of set-a-side to roost but despite this was somewhat erratic in its choice of bed, sometimes choosing to kip elsewhere. Despite this, with determination, most visitors were able to nail it with Saturday (October 6th) being its best day, however, even then it was not necessarily easy. At the time of writing it seems to have gone AWOL but hopefully may yet choose to return.

The Firsby harrier generally thought to be an adult female Pallid - Justin Carr

 Justin Carr
John Hewitt

This Yellow-browed Warbler was photographed at Ogden Water in late September - Brian Sumner

Thursday, 27 September 2012

At long last......................

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Kilnsea - Ron Marshall

 As predicted the easterlies that finally arrived at the weekend ‘did the bizzo’. A crisp clear sunny day on 22nd saw a mass arrival of Yellow-browed Warblers and thereafter many drift migrants were deposited along the Yorkshire coast making for some great birding. Red-breasted Flys’, Barred Warblers, Red-backed Shrikes, Common Rosefinches, Wrynecks, a couple of Corncrakes, Rose-coloured Starling and both Little and Ortolan Buntings all featured in a wet but wonderful period and although there was no major rarity found, Filey, Flamborough and Spurn all managed to pull in a Greenish Warbler a piece. And for those birders who found time to take their eyes off the bushes a host of seabirds were passing too, with multi-sightings of Long-tailed and Pom’ Skuas, Leach’s Petrels, Sabines Gulls Corys Shearwater and Grey Phals’ to name but a few of the species recorded. Below is a selection of photos from what has been a wonderful week.
Juvenile Long-tailed Skua, Spurn - Andy Deighton

Juvenile Long-tailed Skua, Spurn - Andy Deighton

Grey Phalarope, Old Moor RSPB, - Keith Pickering

Greenish Warbler, Kilnsea - Ron Marshall

Friday, 21 September 2012

Mostly seabirds in last couple of days including 2 Sabs' at Flamborough and a good spread of Long-tailed Skuas. New Pec' Sands at Swinemoor and Fairburn. The easterlies are coming at last and the first drift migrans are already arriving on the coast. Prepare for action!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Two birds much sought after by many Yorkshire listers made brief appearances today: A first-winter Gull-billed Tern was reported flying north at Flamborough at 09.15 and an almost as brief juvenile Black Kite alighted briefly at Spurn late morning before flying off north.

Monday, 17 September 2012

A rather uninspiring westerly wind has kept excitement to a minimum in the County during the last few days. Seabirds dominated and although the sea wasn't brilliant it did produce a couple of Leach's Petrels at Spurn and provided many headland birders with sightings of Long-tailed Skua. Perhaps the biggest (or smallest?) surprise was an extremely early Little Auk that flew down the Humber at Spurn. Also over the Humber there, were several Manx Shearwaters and huge numbers of Gannets, a couple of juvs of which even had the audacity to land in the bushes! A Pec' Sand also made a couple of brief appearnaces at Spurn when it flew over the Warren. Maybe the Pec' at Newington floods on the South Yorkshire / Notts border should have copied that birds elusive behaviour, as it sadly bird fell prey to a Sparrowhawk today. Lastly a Barred Warbler was at North Landing, Flamborough this afternoon.

Friday, 14 September 2012

No sign of American Golden Plover in Dearne Valley by mid-day. Ring n Duck still at Orgreave and of interest a Long-tailed Duck at Pugneys.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Today's main bird was an adult American Golden Plover that spent much of the day at Edderthorpe Flash (Barnsley) although it also made a brief visit to nearby Wath Ings. It was present at Edderthorpe until about 6.30 pm before flying off with a small group of Golden Plovers but may hopefully reappear tomorrow.

Adult American Golden Plover, Edderthorpe Flash - Kev Denny
Adult American Golden Plover, Edderthorpe Flash - Kieth Pickering
Adult American Golden Plover, Edderthorpe Flash, showing underwing - Kieth Pickering
Meanwhile, the Pec' Sand was still at Filey Dams (am at least), the Ring-necked Duck still at Orgreave and the photogenic Osprey still at Spotbrough Flash.

The juvenile Osprey at Sprotbrough today - Ron Marshall