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.