With this in mind Pete passed me these shots later in the day:
At the time of writing we're still hoping it'll reoccur and vindicate itself fully with some nice flight shots.
So with the above in mind what can you see with a bit of application? A good barometer is the annual year listing event - we had a tough target this year, with 80 from 2018 the all time record to top. So...
Arriving at the start of proceedings Angram Farm, Lukas and I leapfrogged down the road recording
2) Rook - 200 over Decoy
3) Carrion crow
5) Barn owl unexpectedly flew overhead and straight into the Angram outbuildings
6) Blue tit
7) Great tit
8) Tree sparrow were all on the feeders - but alas no house this year
9) Feral pigeon / Rock dove - hanging around the yard
10) Stock dove - calling, but further good sightings later
13) Great black backed gull - was on some prey item in the fields
14) Mistle thrush on the approach road was welcome for a some years troublesome tick
16) Common buzzard on Easingwold
17) Chaffinch was on the muck-heap first of many
18) Red legged partridge - a small covey at Easingwold Farm
19) Jackdaw - in the garden
20) Moorhen - 5 this year unfettered by last years otters at this time in Barmston Drain
21) Goldcrest in the car park conifers
Many thanks to all the great assistance we got through the day today - a great turn out of regulars and visitors helped keep the tally coming. Jeff and Chris in the reception hide had already had:
23) Pied wagtail
24) Coal tit
29) Great spotted woodpecker
31) Song thrush
32) Lee Johnson bagged a couple of good ticks - grey partridge
33) Woodcock at first light (John Coish another later on Easingwold). This was all by 9am!
10am saw the first of the two walks; We started with a proper look on the D res -
34) Black-headed gull
37) Common gull
38) Tufted duck
40) Great crested grebe
41) Mute swan
45) Greenfinch as we left heading south
46) Long tailed tit
47) Marsh tit - flew along the north lagoon willow tunnel calling - alas no willow today
48) Teal on south lagoon - with masses more on Watton and South Marsh East
49) Mallard there too
51) Redshank - an impressive 18 on the lowered South Marsh East (although already a digital tick on camera)
53) Sparrowhawk - sat on a post surveying the scene on SME
56) Canada geese - Watton
57) Kestrel - hovering at the rear - Lukas Rowe:
60) Little egret - a single and more going along the river to roost at dusk
61) Cetti's warbler called from the top of Watton. Not seen anywhere but heard multiple places.
62) Bullfinch - again on call in South Scrub
63) Water rail - another call
64) Herring gull overhead
Arriving back at the reception hide we met up with the other teams who had also recorded;
65) Pink-footed goose - another from Lee
66) The drake smew had made a welcome return for the day. Mid afternoon it flew and dropped straight into the river Hull behind north scrub - perhaps where it goes?
67) Grey heron
68) Peregrine falcon
70) Grey wagtail
74) Reed bunting - a confiding bird on north scrub later entertained everyone.
75) Common snipe - final bird of the morning Lukas uncovered on Easingwold footpath on the carrs:
76) Lesser black-backed gull was picked out by Chris Straw, before the long walk north through D woods and around Hemholme and back. Chief target was a willow tit but to no avail.
77) Little grebe was the other target - the morning surveyors had failed; but we managed four downstream of the weir
78) Meadow pipit were in a small party over Hempholme lock.
79) Collared dove was not as enigmatic as the intended little owl at Hallytreeholme Farm - but a tick none the less and perhaps as uncommon now at Tophill.
80) The clincher came when a group of "large finches" alighted opposite north marsh. A scope view found them to be a party of 16 corn bunting. Best birds of the day - and a fitting end as we knew that;
81) Tawny owl was an inevitability around the reception hide as darkness fell.
We had a collection along the way for Ryedale Wildlife Rehab - so if you are suitably impressed by our efforts we'll be keeping the tin open for donations until Sunday the 6th of Jan - which is the last day for viewing the photo exhibition too.
Hopefully the rest of the year carries on as strongly...