Sunday 15 January 2017

Yorkshire Birding - Xmas and New Year 2016/2017

A nice trip back home for the Xmas break. Weather was generally good throughout, no snow but more or less a wintry feel. Birding summary below.

South Yorkshire Moorlands
The moorlands and moorland edge provided steady birding over the period. 3 Buzzards at Midhope and similar numbers at Strines were noted on one visit as were scattered sightings of Kestrels. A skein of 35 Pink-footed Geese flew W over Strines Moor (29 Dec). The feeders at Broomhead Reservoir were busy with Coal and Great Tits regular and a couple of Crossbills flew over (24 Dec). Ingbirchworth Reservoir held at least 25 Bramblings in the Beech trees along its western edge.

Wath Area
A brief visit to Old Moor RSPB on a crisp frosty morning (28 Dec) saw a flock of ca. 60 Pink-footed Geese heading NW over the reedbed screen. However, the birding highlight was the sighting of a couple of Bearded Tits in this area - Wath Tick #188.

Gull Roost
Three visits to Anglers CP, West Yorkshire, produced a decent number of large gulls but no white-wingers. Each visit saw an adult winter Caspian Gull present and on one visit a small dark LBB Gull was in the roost (01 Jan), intermedius type. Several Goldeneye and Goosander were on the lake and Barn Owl hunted the scrub. A Woodcock flew over the car park at dusk (01 Jan).

After a slow start dipping birds at Crosspool, Sheffield, eventually saw the 'trillers' nearby at Stannington (15 on Dec) and south of Sheffield city centre (50 on 02 Jan). Elsewhere, when headed east stopped off at Hessle Sainsbury's near the Humber Bridge to see a flock of 50 (31 Dec).

Restricted to East and North Yorkshire. Connected with the wintering juv. Pallid Harrier near Welwick on two visits (27 and 31 Dec), with an excellent supporting cast of Hen and Marsh Harriers, Merlin, Peregrine and Short-eared Owls. Little Egrets present on the Humber shore are now to be expected and a couple were spooked by a hunting Short-eared Owl. The Peregrine flushed the shoreline waders (27 Dec) apart from a single Curlew that simply turned its head as if to give a Kermode-esque style 'Really?' The falcon changed its attention to the nervy Lapwings. A walk east on the same date along the river wall to a small marsh about a mile from the central watchpoint yielded a flock of 10 Geese (7 'White-fronts' and 3 'Tundra Beans') with a further 3 'Pink-feet' closer to the river wall.

Twitched the stunning (Eastern) Black Redstart at Skinningrove and despite a howling wind sandblasting the birders and the Chat, I managed to get a few record shots. It was very active constantly looking for food between the jetty boulders. En route Red Kites were evident over the A1M over a decent stretch running south from the A19 junction.

As always, looking forward to returning home soon.

More photos at 'Latest UK Bird Photos' and video compilation plus a separate one of the Caspian Gull available via 'Birding Videos (YouTube)'.