Thursday, 24 November 2011

A mystigul experience

If you’ve managed to see further than 20 metres through the mists of this week you may have glimpsed some of the continued winter delights.

This made no difference to viewing the greatest bird of the week as found - as often is – courtesy of Martin; Cetti’s warbler. Tophill Low a few years ago was honoured by housing the UK’s most northerly known breeding pair just near North Marsh hide, however it is usually an ephemeral number of wintering birds that we receive. We didn’t get any last winter, but the year before there were at least 3 birds around site – one near the back-to-back hides being the best to locate.

This year we have found one at South Lagoon in the reed and bramble thickets. It should now be pointed out that you won’t see the bird – they make a garden warbler look like a show off! And spend all their time creeping amongst the stems out of view – in my 4 years at Tophill I was honoured with a glimpse of an eye and a supercilium once! You need to rely upon sound – their call is explosive and obvious. Have a look on this Youtube link to get the idea.

Geese continue to delight – 55 white fronts still bring recorded regularly including this afternoon. No sign of the ross’ for a couple of weeks now but Egyptian still here, 2 pink feet have been about, and Tom managed to locate the years’ first bean goose – a tundra rossicus race from NW Siberia on Monday in decoy fields – where this assemblage was taken:

Remember they are mixed with a current 680 greylags though! 15 whoopers were on the river Hull on Monday too.

On the duck front the lone red head smew has been re-located regularly again back on Watton, along with up to 3 pintail. 2 female scaup were on South Marsh East on Tuesday briefly, along with a female goosander this evening – roosting on D res earlier in the week. Roosting between Watton and SME have been the curlew – hitting a high of 152 combined this evening, and possibly 3 little egrets who were lost in the darkness somewhere on site. This is one of a handful of black-tailed godwit still lingering on site – photographed by Maurice Gordon on his Tuesday course:

He also got these lichens – I dare not suggest a name for them – they are perhaps the next untapped frontier at Tophill?

Otherwise at least one short-eared owl still on Hempholme, and a long-eared was apparently reported earlier in the week? – again if anyone would like to shed any light on this one it would be appreciated – because as ever it will go the way of the bonaparte’s and great white egret if no further info is forthcoming…

On the subject of raptorish topics - check out the great new look Yorkshire Red Kites Page here.

Treecreeper in car park:

And common gulls in the mist:

Finally if you can’t see things through the mist you may as well take pictures of it! D res gantry:

Who needs the ‘mara when you have Watton Carrs?:

Hempholme meadows – an interesting snapshot – as next year it’ll be totally different again:

It's work is done...after three months of devastation we can now watch a whole new habitat develop for many years to come...