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Fourteen of us met up at Kilnsea Wetlands on Sunday 8th for one of our annual autumn jaunts to Spurn. It was lovely to have Jenny back with us again, now that she has recovered from her broken hip. The winds weren’t looking too promising (where are the easterlies this year?) and the tides times weren’t overly great either, but it turned out to be a much, much, better day than expected; with around 74 species seen and that doesn’t include the Marsh Harrier spotted on the way there!

With practically no birds on Kilnsea Wetlands as the tide was out, we stopped long enough to pick up a couple of Curlew on the fields opposite the car park and enjoy seeing a large skein of Pink-footed Geese flying over, then headed promptly to the Bluebell car park with the intention of walking the Triangle from there. Stonechats, Skylarks and Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers were all showing well south of South Field and there was obviously a good passage of Meadow Pipits going through. The first Redwings of the autumn for most of us passed over too. We were intending to stop to look for the Jack Snipe at Canal Scrape when we were told of a Barred Warbler by the Warren so we all hot-footed it to there instead. With a bit of perseverance most of us picked up the bird which was being rather elusive and exhibiting skulking/‘crashing through bushes’ behaviour before giving a brief but good flight view, while a male Blackcap did its best to fool everyone into thinking it was the Barred Warbler. There were also three or four Brambling by the Heligoland trap. News of a Rosy Starling, relocated and showing well from the bank along the Canal Zone caused us to continue our detour as we headed along the bank to try to catch up with it. With patience, great views were obtained – it was feeding in buckthorn, with a few Starlings, before flying about with a Starling flock that grew to 50+. In excellent light and calm conditions the pale colouration stood out from the rest of the flock and when perched, the yellow on the bill was evident. The flock was pretty mobile flying between wires and bushes – the Rosy Starling even spending some time on the Solar panels on Southfield farm (rather distant from our viewpoint on the bank). We finally made our way back to Canal Scrape Hide to see the Jack Snipe – picking up a mobile but showy Yellow-browed Warbler on the way (another treat for the day, though given the number of them that were about, it was surprising that that was the only one we managed to catch up with). The Jack Snipe proved to be hard work – even looking through a ‘scope trained on it, it was incredibly well camouflaged. Fortunately, it did bob up and down at times which clinched the bird for many who had been looking in the wrong patch of reeds! We then returned to Canal bank and continued with the Triangle. A few Golden Plover were showing well on the mud in the sunlight, and we also picked up Redshank, Ringed Plover and a couple of Knot (one in summer plumage still). A few Fieldfares flew over and most of us saw Wheatear and Chiffchaff too. There were also one or two Swallows and House Martins seen. Stopping off at Church field, we were given a guided tour of the new viewing platform behind the observatory – great views from the top, but not many birds about, though a GWE was supposed to have come down in Kilnsea Wetlands somewhere.

Back at the Bluebell car park for lunch, a bit of sea-watching gave Noel and Neil a Short-eared Owl fly past (the only two lucky enough to see this); then we all picked up a flock of Common Scoter, a few Gannets and a Red-throated Diver.
Heading to Sammy’s Point, we dipped on Ring Ouzel (present there earlier in the day) but had good views of a Bar-tailed Godwit on the mud and more Wheatears. As it had turned quiet we headed off to Easington Cemetery to see if anymore YBW were about – we didn’t find any, but did pick up a Pied Flycatcher, which was much appreciated, and some more Brambling.
Knowing that high tide was only an hour off we then headed back to Kilnsea Wetlands for birds coming in to feed and roost up. We were also rewarded with seven Brent Geese flying over. The wetlands were far more productive this time – Spotted Redshank, White Wagtail, Shoveler, Pintail and Med Gull all being added to the list. We then walked up to overlook Beacon Ponds and hope a few owls might be about near the listening dish. We had a flock of eight Greenshank, good numbers of Grey Plover, several Little Egrets and, satisfyingly, the Great White Egret too on the shores of the ponds. Heading back to the cars in fading light, and a fitting end to the day, most of the group got all too short views of a Short-eared Owl as it flew over the wetlands bank and dived into the long grass, not to be seen by any of us again.

An unpromising weather forecast for seeing much, but we came away having had a really satisfying day’s birding – even if many of the birds weren’t ones we might have expected to see at the time of year.

The full list of species seen (not necessarily in this exact order) was:
Teal, Wigeon, Meadow Pipit, Shelduck, Goldfinch, Little Egret, Curlew, Kestrel, Pink-footed Goose, Starling, Lapwing, Little Grebe, House Sparrow, Grey Heron, Greenfinch, Skylark, Stonechat, Wren, Reed Bunting, Robin, Dunnock, Yellowhammer, Pheasant, Redwing, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Swallow, House Martin, Brambling, Blue Tit, Blackcap, Barred Warbler, Rosy Starling, Great Tit, Yellow-browed Warbler, Jack Snipe, Snipe, Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Redshank, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Knot, Fieldfare, Chaffinch, Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Short-eared Owl, Mallard, Herring Gull, Great black backed Gull, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Pied Flycatcher, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Linnet, Cormorant, Spotted Redshank, Common Gull, Collared Dove, Brent Goose, White Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Shoveler, Pintail, Med Gull, Greenshank, Grey Plover, Great White Egret, Mute Swan, Black-headed Gull.

Jane Chapman

We had a great birding trip yesterday to Frampton Marsh, Lincs, followed by Fairburn Ings, West Yorkshire. We had a great day with Long-billed Dowitcher, Cattle Egret, Spoonbills, Merlin, Little Stint, Marsh Harrier among the highlights.

A full account can be read here:


Cheers Jono

Richard Baines has had to cancel his talk next Tuesday but he has lined Steve Race up to replace him. The talk will have a similar theme.

Possibly a first for the Club, an evening where the number of species seen and heard only just beat the number of us on the walk! Another fantastic turnout with nineteen of us assembling at 6.30pm at Galtres Car Park on a mild evening. Peter Reed took us on a circuit out around the Common (away from the firing ranges – which we have done previously), so for many of us it was an introduction to parts of the Common we hadn’t been to before or only know hazily. Sadly, many of the goodies we were hoping to see did not materialise, nevertheless it was a very enjoyable walk – apart from being eyed up and stalked by the Bull and his harem of Cows as we took a detour to look at Kidney Pond (botanically a very special site, holding some rare species). The highlights were Green and Great-Spotted Woodpecker, a small party of 7 Tree Pipits actively flying between trees and perching up, a pair of active Stonechats and late on, a brief glimpse of a Barn Owl. The Rook roost held over 120 individuals and a few hirundines were also about.

The total list, a miserly 20, was: Woodpigeon, Tawny owl ( H briefly), Herring Gull, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Carrion Crow, House Martin, Swallow, Rook, Blue Tit, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail (2), Linnet (6 ), Stonechat (pair), Tree Pipit (7), Robin ( H), Wren ( H), Goldcrest ( H), Treecreeper ( H), Barn Owl.

Many thanks to Peter for showing us a different part of the Common (and for pointing out where we might hope to see/find other specialties of the Common if we tip up on the right day in the right conditions!).

Jane Chapman

As a departure from the usual June talk we held a summer social and BBQ at Bank Island on the evening of 5th June. The weather was very kind to us as can be seen by the clear skies in the photos. Almost 40 members attended the event and the consensus was that it was a success.

BBQ walk on the Ings © Jono Leadley June 18

Elephant Hawkmoth © Jono Leadley June 18


Many thanks to Craig Ralston for the use of the facilities at Bank Island, for some inspired BBQ set up and for showing us some ringing and moth trapping. The Elephant Hawkmoths were superb.

Thanks to Jono and Duncan for leading the bird walks and Jono for the accompanying photos.


Veggie BBQ ©JL 18

BBQ burgers ©JL 18

On the catering side, special thanks to Jane for her hard work arranging the event, sourcing, preparing and cooking the food, to John for his expert BBQ skills, Julia and Peter for further help with the food and drink and not to forget Sue and Robin for sorting out the vegetarian side of the menu.

Shall we do it again next year?

Please email with any views.

On Sunday 10th June, we had the monthly club trip which was to the south east extremities of the recording area. Twelve of us, including two young visiting birders from France, met up at the North Duffield Carrs car park. Though just outside the SE73 10-km square, we spent some time in the two hides where highlights were one of the summering Whooper Swans, a Redshank or two, at least two Little Egrets and great views of Sedge Warbler and Reed Buntings. A couple of us thought they might have had a snatch of Corncrake too.

Stopping at Bubwith Bridge to listen for further signs, without success, we did have some more Curlews. We parked at Highfield and walked along the Rail Trail to Dingle Dell. We heard and saw a selection of warblers: Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler that was mixed-singing. Also calling was a Cuckoo and we saw Buzzard and, pleasingly given recent correspondence, decent numbers of feeding hirundines and Swifts. Indeed Sand Martins were apparently nesting in the old railway bridge over the River Derwent and nesting Treecreepers were notable in the wood.

After lunch, we walked a loop around the Foggathorpe area where we had Swallows and House Martins plus a couple of Egyptian Geese. The day had started hazy and overcast but by now the sun had burned through and the afternoon was sunny and warm though bird activity dropped off. Most of us finished off by visiting Eastrington Ponds NR where the avian highlights were Great Crested Grebe and a showy Reed Warbler, other items of interest were Four-spotted Chasers, Black-tailed Skimmers and a superb display of orchids.

We recorded around 60 species of birds during the day and one or two in the group were lucky to see Weasel and Stoat, most saw Roe Deer as well.

Rob Chapman

Five early risers met Derek Cooper at the Barff car park at 6.30. Derek very kindly showed us around the area. Here are his bird notes:

  • 1 Whitethroat along the Bypass Trail. Another on Barff Lane. Yellowhammer at feeders in the main Car Park.
  • 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff and over 12 Blackcap. A little concerned by lack of Spotted Flycatchers and Garden Warblers
  • Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Treecreeper, Great, Blue, Coal and Long Tailed Tit. Pheasant, Crow, Stock Dove and Wood Pigeon.

We would like to thank Derek for kindly showing us around the various parts of the woodland and telling us about its wildlife.

What a total contrast to our weekend trip to Norfolk the previous week – 14 of us met up at Kilnsea Wetlands in blazing sunshine and, increasingly hot, calm conditions. Although the wind increased a little as the day went on, it remained like that throughout. Who would have thought we would be wearing t-shirts and going home with sunburn?

The smart new Sand Martin hotel is up at Kilnsea Wetlands (partly funded by the YOC with money raised from the Bird Race) but no birds have yet taken up residence. The wetlands were quiet; the best birds being a male Scaup which was with four Tufted Ducks, Avocet, several Oystercatchers, three Wheatears on the bank and Little Terns spotted in the far distance over Beacon Ponds (more of these later).

We headed off towards the Warren to see the waders congregating at the high tide, but had an impromptu stop when Rob and I spotted a Wryneck on its ‘usual’ spot on the path almost opposite the small caravan site as we drove towards the Bluebell. It flew into a bush by the side of the road as everyone else stopped too, then went over the road eventually perching up long enough for most of us to pick it up, before flying over a hedge not to be seen again! Waders on the high tide included a Whimbrel (and at least 6 others were showing well in the last field before the gate down to the Warren), a single Knot, lots of Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew and Brent Geese on the water.

Walking the triangle gave us Whitethroats in profusion; Lesser Whitethroat also showed well – Reed Buntings, Sedge and Reed Warblers were calling from the reed beds and common resident species from the trees and shrubs about. We also had reasonable views of a Whinchat and more distant views in hazy conditions of a Black Redstart. Hirundines, apart from Swallows, were in short supply – just a couple of House Martins and Sand Martins. More surprisingly, we had no Swifts at all. After lunch, a walk towards the Little Tern colony via Beacon Lane was productive with up to 20 Little Terns seen loafing about and fishing (from a safe distance). Ringed Plover, a Goosander, Sandwich Tern, Marsh Harrier were also about in that area.

We ended the day on a high at Sammy’s Point, where a very well concealed Long-Eared Owl in the last paddock was quite unconcerned by us all looking at it. Thank you to the very kind birder from Cumbria, who showed us the exact location – not sure whether we would have got it otherwise! The only other bird of note from Sammy’s was a Yellow Wagtail before we all met up – a couple of others were also seen elsewhere.

For the six of us who visited North Cave Wetlands on the way home, the birds added to the list were: Little Ringed Plover, nesting Mediterranean Gulls, Pochard, Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Common Tern. A magnificent dog fox was also eyeing up the BH Gulls as it strolled past the colony!

Many thanks to Peter for leading the trip. Yet again Spurn gave us some unexpected delights – which is why we keep going back!

Jane Chapman

Peter Watson (who lead the trip) neatly summed up the weekend as ‘Wet, windy and worthwhile’. Despite the almost continual rain for two days out of three, we came away with a very creditable total of around 120 species and some cracking birds. A total of 19 of us went on the trip.

With different start points for some, who had gone down the day before, the majority met up at Frampton RSPB Reserve at 11 am on Friday to start the trip in earnest. Swifts and Swallows over the reserve reminded us it was supposed to be spring, while birds seen from the hides included both Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit coming into breeding plumage, with some of the birds being particularly well marked. Avocets and both Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover were also about and a few wild Barnacle Geese. As the rain eased slightly, walking along the bank to overlook the marsh, we were surprised to see a flock of around 1000 Brent Geese still about, along with a couple of Wheatears and Yellow Wagtail, and back on the reserve a Spotted Redshank in breeding plumage was showing well. But that was only a taster of what was to come – Emanuela and Sue having seen a single Dotterel in with a small flock of Golden Plover earlier in the morning, we were keen to catch up with this too after lunch. On the way to where it had last been seen, the hedge by the car park yielded a Lesser Whitethroat and Cetti’s Warbler. By this time Keith and Liz had walked round the Reserve the other way and had located not only a Green-winged Teal (sadly not seen by any of the rest of us), but even more excitingly, a Red-rumped Swallow, which was subsequently seen and much enjoyed by all as it swooped up and down along the reservoir near Marsh Farm. For several of us this was a British tick and for some a lifer. In ever heavier rain we kept on walking and eventually caught up with the Dotterel too, through rain-soaked binoculars and ‘scopes. A Common Sandpiper was only spotted by Neil and Noel, while John saw and heard a Greenshank. Most supposedly waterproof coats had given up by this time, so we set off for the rest of the journey in a rather soggy state. Weather conditions prevented any further birding that day so we settled in to Heacham Manor Hotel and draped wet clothes all over our rooms in an attempt to dry things out for the following day.

On Saturday seven of us headed out before breakfast to try to locate a Golden Pheasant – without success this time – though we did see a couple of Jays and a handful of Muntjac Deer and hear a few common woodland birds. We headed off to Cley straight after breakfast, some of us picking up Red Kite – or was it a Black Kite (one had been in Norfolk earlier in the month)? – the debate goes on, en route. Cley was…wet! Heading first for the hide on East Bank, we picked up various waders and ducks there, including a small flock of Bar-tailed Godwits, one in very orange breeding plumage and a Grey Plover. We also had three Marsh Harriers up together (looking towards Salthouse). Sea-watching yielded a few Gannets, but the cold and wind defeated us pretty quickly and we returned to the centre to pay for entry to the central area and spent quite a while in the three hides there. With the left hand scrape having been dredged there are now an impressive number of Avocets nesting, some very close to the hides. A Glaucous Gull was distant but quite visible and a couple of Wheatears were spotted – one perched up in a bush for a short while – and more Yellow Wagtails. A Bearded Tit was pinging away in the reedbed, but only gave very brief flight views – Sedge and Reed Warblers likewise were vocal, but not showing well. After lunch we headed off to Holkham Woods, hoping to get a little shelter from the conditions. Woodland birds were calling and some were even seen – Long-tailed Tit and Treecreeper spring to mind and a mixed flock of hirundines was swooping low over one of the ponds. Reaching the Tower Hide was well worth it though as we all managed to see the Spoonbills from there in the end. Those who got to the hide a little earlier had five, but most saw two, their brilliant yellow bill markings showing well in the gloomy conditions. We gave up early and returned to Heacham – just as the rain actually stopped! More clothes were draped over radiators etc. to dry out. Sadly the Barn Owl did not materialise later on, but some heard Green Woodpecker in the grounds and the Mallard ducklings kept all amused.

Sunday dawned dry but very cold as four car loads headed off back to Scissors Car Park for a walk out to Dersingham Bog before breakfast – a great start to the day ensued. Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were all singing in the woods, and a pair of Stonechats was showing well as they went back and forth with beakfuls of food to their nest site. Walking further into the open area, Peter saw a Woodcock flying off, another Wheatear was about and several Linnets, but the best birds were a Wood Warbler heard in the woods at the far side of the bog area and, on the way back, a very showy Woodlark flying about overhead, singing all the while.

We headed to Titchwell straight after breakfast and spent the whole morning there. Sea/beach watching was hard going in the strong winds, but a flock of Common Scoter was seen on the sea and Sanderlings were scurrying along the beach. Curlew, Grey Plover, Turnstone and Dunlin were also about. We then heard that the Red-crested Pochard was showing well in the lagoon – it was, and quite close in. The large hide was busy but we spent a good while in there watching the hundreds of Sandwich Terns (unusual for the reserve to have anything like these numbers) and a rather jaw-dropping 90+ nesting Mediterranean Gulls mixed in with the Black-headed Gull colony. There was also a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits, many in breeding plumage. Marsh Harriers were showing well. Little and Great Crested Grebe were about, along with various ducks. Sedge Warblers were in full cry in the reeds and scrub, but the Cetti’s were not evident this trip. The trees and feeders by the shop were being well visited by common tits and finches – but the highlight was a Hawfinch, spotted (and photographed) by Jane and Rob, however it flew off before anyone else caught up with it.
After lunch and a quick stop at Choseley Drying Barns in the hope of seeing Turtle Dove there (none were) some headed straight back to Frampton, while others went via Abbey Farm Hide – a single Pintail was an addition to the list there – and Thornham Marsh, where a flock of 14 Whimbrel showed well.

Those who got back to Frampton early were rewarded with views of Wood Sandpiper and Curlew Sandpiper, large numbers of Ringed Plover and a flock of varied and well-marked Ruff, and the Spotted Redshank was seen again later on too. A great end to the trip.
Many thanks for Peter for organising and leading it.

The full list of birds seen and heard (counted from 11 am at Frampton on Friday until leaving Frampton on the way back on Sunday) was as follows: (hopefully none missed out!):
Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Pink-footed Goose (1 with damaged wing), Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Gannet, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Spoonbill, Little Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, Red Kite/Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Avocet, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Dotterel, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Whimbrel, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Redshank, Woodcock, Snipe, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous Gull, GBB Gull, Common Gull, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Swift, Green Woodpecker (H), Kestrel, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bearded Tit, Woodlark, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Cetti’s Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Wood Warbler (H), Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Tree Creeper, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Stonechat, Wheatear, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Hawfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting.

Jane Chapman

14 of us had a good trip to Staveley and then on to Nosterfield on Sunday. In all, by the time I left, we had clocked up 69.5 species (the 0.5 being 2 White wagtails at Nosterfield).
Other good birds were:
Numerous singing Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and (unexpectedly a bit early) Willow warblers at Staveley.
Also at Staveley:
A few Swallows
Loads of Sand martins
1 Redwing
One possibly 2 Cetti’s warblers (a local said they had first appeared on the reserve last year)
A pair of willow tits excavating a nest (photographed from safe distance by Tom).

We missed out on several waders reported from Nosterfield earlier in the day, but managed to find:
Slavonian grebe coming into breeding plumage
A lone Greenland whitefront with the Greylags
A Little owl in the ‘usual’ tree.


Thanks for a great day out to John.

We added Little Egret, Little Grebe, a lone Whooper Swan and one Dunlin in full breeding plumage (very smart)a few more Redshank and three Ringed Plovers at Nosterfield LNR.