Saturday, 24 January 2015

Bittern by winter at last

For the first time in a couple of years now we've finally had something resembling winter - even if the birdlife doesn't quite reflect it.  So far the lack of cold winds haven't brought much in the way of promised winter migrants with just the one glimpse of smew back in autumn so far.  However we've finally managed to liberate a seasonal gull after a run of southern European species like little, yellow legged and Mediterranean - Roy Lyon:
Martin Hodges finally bagged a 1st winter glaucous gull on the D res roost tonight; as yet the only of winter.  This leucistic black headed gull from Roy Lyon otherwise had been the nearest to a white winger we have had:
Otherwise species like chiffchaff and green sandpiper were glimpsed in early January and snowdrops, great spotted woodpecker and goldeneye displaying suggesting that winter may have passed us by - Mal Jones:
The velvet scoter hung about until the 13th or so and it was discovered had been coming and going between the O reservoir and river Hull where it was presumably feeding.  Thanks to Roy for this shot - more of write up on Erich's blog:
Possibly the howling winds saw it on its way - Some spectacular waves captured by Darren Smith:
And Brian Colley:
A fixture continuing all month and including today has included the un-missable red crested pochard that shines like a beacon across the res - Brian Colley:
Roy Lyon:
Perhaps slightly less so visible has been the scaup which tends to melt amongst the tufties but is always there - Roy:
Likewise up to two drake pintail have always been present such as this by Frank Bell:
The subsequent freeze up saw many birds concentrated and pushed out by the cold:
Like water rail by Darren Smith:
A few waders in the open like the assembled curlew - Brian:
Redshank - Mal Jones:
But undoubted highlight has been bittern - check out the Flickr page for some excellent shots by Tony McLean and co.  And also Steve Routledge's site for the same plus an umcommon snap of merlin from the reserve too.  Otherwise it has been there more obvious cousins the Grey Heron - Steve Brimble:
And little egret - Steve:
Goldcrest in the woods by Brian Colley:
Barn owls typically suffer in bad weather - but hopefully its been short and sweet for them this year - Steve Brimble:
However not so good for this Tawny found by Doug Fairweather - one presumes this has been scavenged by the look of the opening:
Otherwise peregrine, marsh harrier, otter and perhaps the finest has been a ring-tailed hen harrier seen multiple times around the reserve - common buzzard here by Mal Jones:
We had some debate on whether to run the reserve walks again this year but there seems to have been a few enquiries so we will be running the walk on Saturday the 7th of February as before - free with standard admission.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Velvet bookend

Christmas day saw both the velvet scoter and red-breasted merganser seemingly disappear.  Thanks to Mal Jones for this of the latter showing well at the viewing screen:
The week following saw regular bittern sightings on Watton at dusk with goosander, red crested pochard, pintail, scaup, little gull, Mediterranean gull, yellow legged gull and a merlin on Watton Carrs on the 31st.

Today was the annual year listing event with great results;

The approach to the reserve saw
1. Woodpigeon
2. Carrion Crow
3. Kestrel
4. Jackdaw
5. Black headed gull
6. Curlew
7. Moorhen
8. Chaffinch
9. Blackbird
10. House sparrow
11. Feral pigeon
The start of the walk in the car park saw
12. Siskin
13. Pheasant
14. Herring gull
15. Blue tit
16. Long tailed tit
17. Wren
18. Great tit
19. Redwing
20. Robin
21. Cormorant
22. Dunnock
23. Great spotted woodpecker
Chatting with regular Ian Spalding he'd already recorded
24. Little egret
25. Tawny owl
26. Kingfisher - pics by Mal Jones:
Moving to the car park hide
27. Song thrush
28. Goldcrest
29. Coal tit
30. Shoveler - Steve Hines
31. Gadwall
32. Goldeneye - Mike Grantham:
33. Pochard
34. Coot
35. Wigeon
36. Tufted duck
37. Common gull
38. Teal
moving through the woods saw
39. Treecreeper
40. Sparrowhawk
41. Common buzzard
Rejoining the res at East Hide saw
42. Red crested pochard
43. Scaup
44. Mallard
45. Great Black Backed Gull
46. Greylag goose
The Hempholme and Struncheonhill area saw (in addition to snow goose we omitted to add to the list in the same way as the cockerel at Standingholme Farm)
47. Canada goose
48. Rook
49. Grey Heron
50. Goldfinch
51. Common snipe
52. Meadow pipit
53. Little grebe
54. Marsh harrier
A return to the woods saw
55. Marsh tit
56. Willow tit
At the car park meeting Roy and Derrick who'd been watching the res we added
57. Hen harrier (ring tail)
58. Bullfinch
59. Pied wagtail
60. Magpie
61. Barn owl
At the old centre was added
62. Tree sparrow
And reaching O res
63. Great crested grebe
64. Greenfinch
65. Pintail - pic by Steve Hines from earlier:
South Marsh West yielded a calling
66. Water rail
67. Goosander (back on D from Martin)
From the O res we were surprised and elated to get a brief view of
68. Velvet scoter - found by Tom Hughes on the walk which flew virtually as it was discovered - luckily Roy Vincent got these snaps:
69. Mediterranean gull was picked up by Martin on D
And reaching Watton gave a
70. Lapwing
71. Bittern - somehow picked out by Pete Thorne in the binos
72. Fieldfare
73. Starling

This represent the finest ever year listing tally by 3 sp. - even with some obvious omissions; mistle thrush, stock dove, partridges etc; And most notably collared dove which it appears may again become a tophill Rarity. 

Please note as a result there will be no reserve walk on Saturday