Sunday, 13 November 2011

Y-fronts or shorts? - what a decision...

Geese continue to make the headlines this week – thanks to Alan Walkington for this pic showing the ‘re-naturalised’ greylag flock which is sucking them all in:

Starting on Thursday Jess and Derrick managed to find 22 white-fronted geese on Watton NR – an excellent count for the reserve (again pics are on pink cuckoos). However that number has continued to swell – small groups such as on decoy fields here found by Eric and Jeff being around the site all of today:

Later Martin managed to get today’s peak count of 52 white-fronts on D res, along with 4 pink feet and 2 whooper swans (and the ross’ type goose - see on).

We were planning to view these on the Robert Fuller gallery walk yesterday, however attentions were diverted. Earlier in the week Erich and myself had been discussing the potential of the new Hempholme meadow for short-eared owl and hen harrier habitat in future; and within a week we have had our first ‘shorty’ in several years hunting the margins of the meadow. Most of their attentions are over the river on the east bank of the Hull, where later two birds (plus barn owl and heron) were hunting. Today Les and Margaret managed a single bird hunting Hempholme meadow itself through the mists – a great endorsement. Here’s hoping they’ll stick around all winter…

No photo’s yet – but here is a library one from Spurn some time ago:

Incidentally it took ‘til today to get hen harrier – Martin recording one south – though not quite hunting Hempholme yet!

This delay meant a quick yomp to South Marsh East to look for the otters – predictably that meant no sightings when one goes specifically to look for the animal as on Thursday! – again see Jess’s blog – but as you’ll see from the Youtube clip there is still quite a spectacle…

Elsewhere we have had 250 fieldfare on the approach road, 2 little egret, 4 black-tailed godwit, calling jay on Watton, and a lone dunlin over. Yesterday also saw the reserve’s first recorded woodcock of autumn too in D woods, and possibly the very last migrant hawker at Hempholme. This inkcap was sent in by Alan, also looking a bit past its best:

And another last of is this feathered thorn in the moth trap which pretty much ends the season - a few mild nights in mid winter may turn up a december moth but that is it for 2011 trapping essentially:

Finally; what is hopefully a bit of closure on the ross’ type goose – James Harding-Morris is a Tophill member and 'Scarborian';

“It was first seen at Wykeham Lakes over a month ago, and I was pretty confident that it was a Barnacle x Ross' hybrid. A couple of weeks ago it turned up at Burton Riggs, Seamer, where I was able to view it a bit closer and it still seemed a pretty good fit for Barnacle x Ross'.

It was then seen at Filey Dams, and reported as blue phase Ross'. From the photo's on your blog I am pretty much 100% that this is our bird. A discussion of it, and a picture, can be seen here

Many thanks James - I am glad the concensus opinion here too has tallied with ours! Just in case you want to see the bird again, check out Tony’s blog for another picture which is the best yet of the bill pattern. Perhaps it is time to send it on somewhere else to go and give some more birders some fun…