Friday, 31 August 2012

Summer goes out with a whimber

After the excitement of the gull-billed tern last Saturday it failed to reappear that night, or indeed anywhere else in the country - still worth trying for exciting nuggets in the res still in any case.

Whimbrel was likely today's highlight - found by Andy Marshall and Derrick Venus on D res wall where it remained for a hour before being flushed by a female marsh harrier.  Its not often they put down on the reserve so a picture was called for even though distant:

In addition to the marsh we also had a female hen harrier over today too.  Common buzzard over Hempholme:

Two snipe were on South Marsh East tonight with two greenshank earlier.  It's well worth checking Tony's great shots of them and the Angus McBean hide on Flickr.  Another great count on Tuesday of a further 8 on the marsh, along with spotted redshank in what's been a bumper year for them.  Elsewhere common sandpiper, dunlin and several little gulls through on Monday. 

Check out Dave Ware's blog for a range of the reserve butterflies.  And thanks to Andrew Pell too for this range of kingfishers - still showing today by all accounts:
So what to look for this week? On the basis of John Wilkinson's 7 yellow wagtails on D wall this morning it shows they're on the move - turning the blog back a year shows when we had around three days of 'wagtail passage' on the approach road.  Always first thing in the morning numbers exceeded 200 and a check turned up a whinchat and many meadow pipits and linnet - but there was plenty of potential for better.  Apparently other reserves saw a similar phenomenon - one untested theory being that agricultural intensification and climate change is pushing the yellow wagtail population north, and we are now seeing these passages not previously witnessed.

Also worth checking the passerine flocks - plenty of goldcrests in now:

But again plenty of potential for better.  Another taster of things to come is the greylags on Hempholme - finding good grazing:

Whilst these may not set the pulse racing hopefully it shows potential for some of their northern cousins later in winter.

Reserve walk tomorrow at 10am (September 1st) for anyone wanting to take in some of the above.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Pot of Gull'd under the storm

All the thunderstorms of late have carried the promise of something dropping in on the reservoirs out of the clouds.  In a previous post we suggested it was worth checking any tern that was about at the moment - and it certainly proved fruitful this afternoon.  Martin Hodges (previous offences include finding whiskered tern) picked this out and our hopes for an uncommon sandwich tern rapidly faded as Doug and myself too realised we were looking at something far better.  For the full write up see Martin's page here.

This gull-billed tern is a reserve first and is number 268 since the early 60's - no shortage of pictures - some of around 150 taken as it made repeated passes close by the car park hide showing the impressive bill:
Also sat on the wall showing its long black legs:

Also around the res were 3 little gulls and a common tern:

Unfortunately despite getting the news out quickly as soon as we were confident of the ID, only two other regulars managed to get there in time - Jeff Barker and grandson Fergus who managed a quick flypast before it went north and disappeared - along with most other gulls which had arrived in the storm.

A great end to an excellent week which has seen more good greenshank counts - 8 on Wednesday being the second best count in 5 years - with up to 5 birds most days since including today.  All 8 here on Hempholme:

And some great digiscoped images by Roy Vincent:

 2 spotted redshanks on South Marsh East today, with another on Thursday.  2 whimbrel and a ringed plover over today. 6 redshank on the marsh, up to 3 ruff, 3 green sandpiper and 12 snipe:

Roy Vincent:

One common sand around too - RV:

Amongst all the lapwings - RV:

Thursday and today saw ospreys moving through - we managed this shot from O res:

But Bill Eggleton did better with this catch of the day from the river Hull being carted off to Hallytreeholme:

He also got some nice marsh harrier pictures - tag free - so just how many individuals do move through?:

Hobby over Hempholme on Thursday, and an old favourite - egyptian goose back on South Marsh West yesterday:

A grand week all round.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

New spot for waders

We know that the new Hempholme Meadows habitat has looked promising for some time but had yet to come into its own.  This morning Jeff Barker and Alan Walkington managed to get a first for the habitat in the form of a spotted redshank which is the first on Tophill for some time.  Alan's photo is on Flickr after which it had flown onto the river.  A quick look at 5pm tonight though revealed a fine sight - just a shame all the folk who have helped out volunteering couldn't be there to see the fruits of their labours this time!:

Spotted redshank on the right with two of three ruff which were present.  Also present was a black-tailed godwit:

And 10 greenshank which is perhaps the most at Tophill since D res was drained in 2007:

There is also a movement between Hempholme and other habitats at the reserve.  1 greenshank flew to Standingholme Ponds whereas the spotted redshank and ruff moved onto South Marsh East at 6pm.  There too have been good numbers of birds - 18 snipe today:
Roy Vincent also got some shots on Sunday:

When they were scared off by the sparrowhawk and a pair of herons:

2 green sandpipers and 2 common sands also on today:

Hopefully this run will continue the rest of summer.  Alan also had another untagged marsh harrier over North Marsh.

On O res we've also had two little gulls today:

Gull numbers are building substantially now:

Mostly black headed's and common gulls:
Although Martin has already had 3 mediterranean gulls go through D on Monday.  Thanks to Roy also for more odonata - blue tailed damselfies: