A decision on whether Hassacarr Nature Reserve in Dunnington, run by YOC stalwart Terry Weston, will be given Local Nature Reserve status is due soon. See the article in the York Press today. Good luck with getting the right decision, Terry.
As not much had been reported in the region aside from passage birds over the sea, we decided on a round trip for the day starting off at Flamborough lighthouse and ending at North Cave Wetlands (the advertised destination).
13 of us started off sea watching at Flamborough Head – 3 hours in lovely conditions for us (seriously – not too breezy, sunny and way warmer than expected) yielded several Sooty Shearwaters, a couple of Skuas – one was definitely Arctic, but there was debate amongst other birders around us as to whether the other was a Pomerine (reading the Flamborough list from Sunday, 1 Pom was seen going South). A few Manx Shearwaters went past, but all of us missed the single Storm Petrel, though we were there at the time! At least 12 Red-throated Divers went past and possibly 1 Great-Northern Diver, 4 Velvet Scoter, Sandwich Terns, Shags, Kittiwakes and a number of Little Gulls. Gannets predominated, as expected. The conditions were too good for an impressive passage (but watching was much more pleasant!!) and it was even quieter after 10.30 am.
We headed on to South Landing – where Lesser Whitethroat and a small flock of Siskin were the best additions to the list along with a flock of about 60 Common Scoter in the bay. Then on to Hornsea Mere where there had been a report of a Red-Necked Phalarope – sadly gone long before we got there – however we had great views of Little Gulls really close in (including youngsters) – both feeding over the water and perched up on the jetties by the boats and more difficult (sunlight on water making it tricky) views of Red-necked Grebe. We decided not to carry on to North Cave Wetlands and to watch the Little Gulls come in to roost instead – only to get booted out of the car park at 5.30pm! We ended the day with a fruitless search of the seafront for interesting gulls (Little or otherwise). So, a relaxed day’s birding in warm sunny conditions and a list of about 61 species seen.
Despite the rain and black clouds overhead, 17 of us joined John Lawton on the Club’s evening walk round Heslington East last night. It was great to be joined by new members of the club too. Apart from one notable exception it was relatively light on the bird species count (and all the insect life was firmly out of sight in the cool damp conditions).
John showed us how he ‘works’ the site to best advantage, at each stage describing how the site has been developed and what the University has done and is intending to do to preserve and encourage the widest range of flora and fauna possible. The only wader of the night was one Green Sandpiper (which was only picked up because it flew past the ‘scope’ as Jane was scanning the far end for grebes!) which landed on the furthest part of the main lake from us and was sadly not picked up again when we got closer.
The real surprise of the night was the size of the Greylag flock – not only was it a great spectacle seeing several hundred fly in to join the flock already on the lake – when counted there proved to be an astonishing 870 there; to put this into perspective, the previous highest count was around 450 last week and before that, 420 in 2013. 169 Canada Geese, 1 Egyptian Goose, 2 Mute Swans and their Black Swan companion were also swimming about with them, as were 11 of the feral flock of Barnacle Geese (the latter more often seen at Hes West).
The University’s Snow Goose flock (32) flew over the lake too (not seen often at Hes East, they usually stay on Hes West), heading off in the direction of the playing fields/golf course.
30+ House Martins were feeding over the fields bordering Low Lane and School Lane, Heslington (near the upper end of the lake)
1 Teal was with c. 90 roosting Black-headed Gulls on Top Lagoon
8 Little Grebes (including 1 well grown juvenile) were counted on the upper and main lake.
1 Cormorant, 5 Grey Herons, 11 Tufted Duck, a handful of Goldfinches, Coot, Moorhen, Woodpigeon, Mallard, a couple of Skylarks, and Sand Martin (still visiting row 5, hole 2 to feed young) were also seen.
Rain and rapidly fading light brought the walk to a close earlier than hoped, but everyone appeared to enjoy the walk and the opportunity for many to find out more about a site they have not birded at regularly before.
Many thanks to John for taking us around and for giving us all the background information.
This was posted to the Yorkbirding Googlegroup by Craig Ralston.
Belated news from yesterday (12th) of a juv Aquatic Warbler caught and ringed at Wheldrake Ings as part of the ongoing warbler/migration monitoring work being carried out by NE, the local ringing group and YWT. Obviously not seen again follow its release – the belated news comes following careful consideration and confirmation of ID features and discussions with the trust. It also comes hot on the heels of the Barred Warbler caught and ringed there last August
It follows two others caught and ringed elsewhere in the country this week – in Suffolk and Guernsey (9th). Needless to say it’s the first record for the LDV and wider YOC area and a notable Yorkshire record, especially away from the Spurn area! Good numbers of warblers are presently on the move through the valley
A monthly round up of sightings is planned for the new club website. Look out for them soon.
A refresh of the YOC website is currently under development. We hope that it will be going live in early autumn.
On a fine, sunny day, the club trip on 7th June saw us start off at Yearsley Moor, where 14 of us met Jonathan Pomroy, who led us on a walk through the woods and down to the lakes. Whilst the raging, simulated battle of Ampleforth School’s CCF did conspire to drown out some birds and prevent us walking around the main lake, alongside more common woodland birds, we did have good views of Tree Pipit, Siskin, Bullfinch and Spotted Flycatcher and more fleeting views of Redstart in the woods; though sadly no Pied Flycatchers were seen near the lake. Mid-morning, we headed to Jonathan’s house, aptly named Swift House, to see his resident Swifts screaming overhead and view the Swift nest-cam that he has set up. Nesting House Martins were much appreciated here too. We were also treated to coffee and a chance to look at his sketch books and paintings, as it was one of his Open Studio days.
We then went on to Hawnby , where birds were in rather short supply, possibly due to the increasingly windy conditions, although we did all eventually manage to see a pair of rather mobile Pied Flycatchers and had rather better views of Redstarts; there were also several Mistle Thrushes and Meadow Pipits about. A highlight for many was seeing three scarcer butterfly species there (in a sunny sheltered spot), namely Duke of Burgundy, Green Hairstreak, and Dingy Skipper, which Mike Walton identified for us – for some members of the group, three British butterfly ticks! A few of the group then ended the day at Wass Woods (very quiet also), the reward for perseverance being a fine Spotted Flycatcher perched on top of a tree out in the open as we returned to the cars to head home! A total of 49 species was seen and heard during the day.
Sand Martins have been spotted using the Sand Martin Hotel at Heslington East. However, there are fewer House Martins around this year than might have been expected.