Michael Clegg Memorial Yorkshire Bird Race 2018

This year, we again had five teams covering the York recording area on 7th January.

Paul Doherty summarised the day: “An excellent day’s birding for all the teams yesterday and by my count there were 102 species seen in the York area. 

A bit of a triple whammy with some great birding, lots of records for the club report (please use the spreadsheet) and money raised for conservation – this year’s proceeds will go towards providing a Sand Martin bank at Kilnsea Wetlands. There will be a collection after our February indoor meeting and my thanks to those who have already contributed generously.

Once again congratulations to all the team members and many thanks for taking part.”

Here are the reports from the teams, in species count order:

Nevermind the Woodcocks
A fantastic day to be out birding round the York area. We were the same Woodcocks team as last year; Emanuela Buizza, Paul Brook, Richard Baines and me [Jono Leadley]. We scored 94 [actually 96 on a recount and one more than last year].

Cettis Warbler at Castle Howard was a big surprise, found on call but showed briefly.
Hawfinches – 72+ at the Arboretum
Marsh Harrier, NDC
Peregrine Bank Island
Green Sandpiper 3 at Rufforth
Brambling, 3 Elvington (thx Adam!)
Red Kite, 2 LDV

Missed birds: Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Willow Tit, Jack Snipe, Redshank, Scarce gulls, American Wigeon

York Upstarts (well, they were called that last year!)
Firstly congratulations to all other teams taking part in the bird race , particularly to the ‘woodcocks’ in acheiving the highest total !
This year our team consisted of Paz Fletcher, Georgia Locock, Ollie Metcalf and myself [Chris Gomersall], last year’s incredible total of 105 was always going to be difficult to match, and the water levels in the LDV making it even tougher for all the teams, the high totals achieved are testament to the perseverance and skill of everyone taking part, well done!

Ahem! (Sorry team members) after a recount, we finished on a respectable 93 (forgot to add curlew, I could well be off counting duties next year!), though as with other teams, there have been some favourite ‘bird race nemeses’ for us!
Grey wagtail
Grey partridge
Grey heron
Great spotted woodpecker
Marsh harrier
All missed!

We did have some highlights though!
Church bridge: Kingfisher, Corn buntings, Water rail, Little grebe, Woodcock
Thornton: Peregrine, Hawfinch, Golden plover
Refuge: Red kite, little egret, Curlew
Allerthorpe: Crossbill, Green woodpecker
Castle Howard: Nuthatch, Willow tit, more Hawfinch, ,Mandarin
Hes east: Jack snipe, stonechat
Rufforth: Green sandpiper, Lesser black backed gull

Once again well done everybody!

Chairman’s Pick
Peter Watson, Duncan Bye, Masha Sitnikova and Neil Hildreth as well as myself [Rob Chapman].

We started at Allerthorpe Common about 6.30, then on to Field Lane, Thornton and Church Bridge and then East Cottingwith. After that Castle Howard for the Hawfinches and back to the LDV via Hes East, finishing at Ellerton. Our total was 89 which was up on last year though we still missed some that we might have hoped for like Little Owl and Peregrine.

Highlights were the Hawfinches, Willow Tit at Allerthorpe and near Church Bridge, two Marsh Harriers at the Refuge, Woodcock at Allerthorpe Common and Red Kite.

York SE53 team
Paul Doherty, Jonathan Begbie, Jim Reid and Alan Swain covered SE53 (the 10km square in the extreme southwest of the club area) and we saw 83 species. An excellent total for a 10km square and helped by some favourable flooding along the Lower Wharfe and a wonderfully crisp, sunny day. We started at Bishop Wood in the dark and got 5 Tawny Owls without really trying, then on to Milford Common, before going along the Lower Wharfe to Kirkby Wharfe, then back to Milford Common.

The highlights were:

Milford Common: Little Egret 3; Barn Owl 3; Peregrine 1; Jack Snipe 4

Lower Wharfe: Whooper Swan 3; PF Goose 62 (56 flew N, 6 with the local geese); Shelduck 2; Pintail 21; Shoveler 15; Gadwall 12; Tufted Duck 10; Goldeneye 2; Goosander 23; Red Kite 2; Peregrine 1

Kirkby Wharfe: Nuthatch 3; Hawfinch 1

Same team as last year, Helen Searstone, Sue Ball, Keith Reynolds and me [Liz Reynolds], we had a species count of 69 birds, an increase of 2 on last year’s total. A great day out, we focused on the Derwent Valley and then Castle Howard. No time for anywhere else, again!

Highlights included the sight of flocks of Lapwing in flight at Field Lane and again @ Thorganby giving great displays in brilliant sunshine. Always a treat, the displaying male Goldeneyes @ Castle Howard were great to see. We noted several groups of 10+, 15+ Pied Wagtails in fields and around the frozen water margins @ Aughton and Thorganby.