Friday, December 30, 2011

2011.....A Review Of My Year In The Natural World.

Donna Nook,November.
Worlaby Carrs,October.
Pyramidal Orchid,Barton,June.
Male Azure Damselfly,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR,June.
Male Red-eyed Damselfly,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR,May.
Ovi-positing female Hairy Dragonfly,Messingham Sand Quarries LWTR,May.
Female Scarce Chaser,Woodwalton Fen NNR,May.

Well 2011 was a great year in some respects,particularly on the birding front,but was a poor one for my beloved insects,particularly Dragons and Butterflies,this is a rough account of what i observed.


Birding began in earnest in January with myself,along with the Grimsby lads,making the journey to Norfolk on the 16th for the juv. male Northern Harrier,our first NEW bird of the year.And thankfully after the long journey he didn't disappoint showing particularly well when he roosted at Titchwell along with 3 Hen Harrier and 12 Marsh.Other goodies during the day included a fine Drake American Wigeon at Cley,20 Shorelark(11 at Cley and 9 at Titchwell),Black Brant at Wells,2 Red-necked Grebe and 2 Redhead Smew at Titchwell and a juv. Rough-legged Buzzard at Burnham Overy,my 2nd of 5 through the year.Local highlights through Jan,had included the wintering juv. Rough-legged Buzzard at South Ferriby,Hooded Crow at Donna Nook and 9 fine Bewick's Swan at New Holland.Another trip out of the county on the 29th with,again the Grimsby lads,added juvenile Great-northern Diver at Scarborough and at least 4 Goshawk and Great-grey Shrike along with 25 Crossbill at Wykeham Forest/Troutsdale ending a good month and start to the new birding year.


Another potentially new species was seen at Whitton on the 6th,a 1st winter Greenland White-fronted Goose amongst the 'Pink' flock,providing me with my first sighting of this distinctive race and a 'mooted' future split.The patch also provided a nice surprise today in the form of a flock of 23 Waxwing,gorging themselves on Guelder Rose berries at the railway crossing.An excellent day out on 27th saw Chris and myself seeing a long list of good birds,which included the 1st winter Greenland Whitefront,this time at South Ferriby,a pair of Long-tailed Duck and male Arctic Redpoll at Barton along with 2 Otter and my first male Adder of the year later at Laughton.


Another visit to Laughton on the 12th saw me recording at least 6 male and 1 female Adder and a visit with Chris to Donna,next day saw us re-aquainting ourselves with the Hooded Crow again at Quad 3.On the 19th a big movement of Whooper Swans moving north,saw at least 78 birds passing through the Ancholme valley,with one flock of 55 birds being impressive and 8 'Taiga' Bean Geese on the local patch at Worlaby,providing me with my first sighting of this race in Lincolnshire.Another good day out next day saw me adding a cracking male Black Redstart and Firecrest to my yearlist at Barton,with both birds showing very well.The 27th saw a trip only just over the border to South Yorkshire and Hatfield Moor with Chris and Dave,were we where treated to superb views of 9 Black-necked and the superb male Red-necked Grebe,with firsts for the year including Sand Martin and Little-ringed Plover.The day ended with me dashing to Worlaby to add a cracking Great-grey Shrike to my local patch list.A repeat visit next day saw me seeing the Great-grey again and adding a long awaited Red Kite to the patch list.A visit to Messingham on the last day of the month,saw me enjoying another encounter with that superb aquatic mustelid on Grebe lake,with me also seeing my first Swallow and House Martins of the year and quite a few insects which included Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.


On the 2nd,the bizarre experience of twitching a rare bird in someones living room!saw Graham,Neil and myself heading to Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire to pay homage to the wintering 1st winter Oriental-turtle Dove and it put on a great show,right infront of the patio window.This garden was a sanctuary for birds with us also seeing 14 Brambling and very tame pair of Bullfinch.
A visit to Chambers farm Wood on the 17th saw me enjoying an array of birds and wildlife which included my first Garden Warbler,Cuckoo,Grasshopper Warbler and Turtle Doves of the year,the latter,sadly,1 of only 2 birds seen throughout the whole summer!.Also seen on this day were 3 Grass Snake,14 Common Lizard,3 each of Muntjac and Brambling and my first Orange Tip butterflies of the year.The 23rd was the first BIG insect day of the year,with high temperatures,and an early emergence of Odonata took place and provided me with my earliest records ever of Hairy Dragonfly(3),Common-blue Damselfly(64),Azure Damselfly(11),Blue-tailed Damselfly(5) and Four-spot Chaser(1).Also seen were 2 Large-red Damselfly.Typically,with all this insect action,2 1st summer Hobby were watched taking advantage of the abundance of flying prey.On the 24th a family day out was diverted to see and hear 3 superb singing male Nightingale at their Lincolnshire stronghold at Whisby Pits at Lincoln.A very busy 3 days at the end of the month saw some crackers being seen,with me adding to my yearlist a gorgeous Collared Pratincole at South Killingholme,Tawny Pipit and 7 Dotterel at Tetney and the majestic,wintering White-tailed Eagle at Ruckland.The Tawny Pipit and W.T.E. being important additions to my 'Linc's' list also.


On the 1st,the largest count of Hairy Dragonfly i have heard of recorded in the county,saw at least 50 being counted at Messingham Sand Quarries,an amazing number.A return visit next day,saw me enjoying a lovely Drake Garganey and 3 Wood Sands on the reserve and my first Swift and Brown Argus of the year.With the kind offer of a trip to Woodwalton Fen in Cambridgshire on the 7th,Colin and myself enjoyed seeing and photographing one of,if not,THE UK's most striking dragonfly species,Scarce Chaser.We managed to find a total of 18 insects and they were all the striking,orange abdomened tenerals,superb!!.Also here,highlights were provided by 3 Chinese-water Deer and 3 singing male Nightingale.A visit to nearby Holme Fen on the journey home saw us recording a new moth species for ourselves in the form of 2 Peacock Moth.Some good dragon counts on the 9th and 21st at MSQ saw me recording my highest counts for Four-spot Chaser(48,7th) and Azure Damselfly(1020,21st) for the reserve,being pretty exceptional.The month ended with some nice views of a pair of Common Crane at West Butterwick beside the Trent,with a singing male Quail and Hobby also recorded.


A trip to one of my favourite sites,Crowle Moor on the 4th saw me seeing and recording some good numbers of insects,with the highlights being provided by 97 Large Heath,55 Four-spot Chaser and 201 Large-red Damselfly.On the 11th, a visit along with Dave and Teresa to Troutsdale in North Yorkshire,saw us enjoying the amazing spectacle of 2 displaying male Honey Buzzards,with 2 females being seen also,superb stuff.Also here were at least 2 male Goshawk,19 Crossbill,3 Spotted Flycatcher and 4 Grey Wagtail.On the 20th June,a few nice sightings at MSQ included singles of Crossbill,Siskin and Hobby,with my only Broad-bodied Chaser of the year being seen,a female.On the 25th,a visit to the patch,saw me seeing the 2 summering 'Special' birds,the 2nd calendar year female Osprey and 2nd calendar year Common Crane.They were both to be enjoyed on several more occasions through the summer months.Another trip over the border into Yorkshire on the 26th to the superb upland habitat at Fen Bog,saw the highlights including 35 Small pearl-bordered Fritillary,1 Dark-green Fritillary,30 Keeled Skimmer,3 Golden-ringed Dragonfly and the biggest surprise of the day,a cracking male Nightjar flushed from a bracken covered hillside while walking over the moor!.


The month began with an out of county trip to the huge Rockingham forest complex in Cambridgeshire/Northants,with the highlights being 15 Silver-washed Fritillary,12 White-letter Hairstreak and my first Violet Helleborines.Bird wise,this superb area saw us enjoying a cracking Honey Buzzard in the air with 2 Common Buzzard,single Crossbill and several Nuthatch and Marsh Tit.A visit later to the nearby Fairmyn Wood/Lady Wood area,saw us enjoying at least 5 magnificent Purple Emperor,which included an egg-laying female.On the 9th/10th a couple of visits to the patch at Bonby Carrs,saw me enjoying more superb views of the summering Osprey and Common Crane and me finding 2 cracking caterpillars in the form of Sallow Kitten and Puss Moth.The latter,one i had wanted to see since i became interested in wildlife as a child.The 12th had me dashing from work to Alkborough,to get brief views of my first Marsh Sandpiper,another quality find by Neil Drinkall.Fortunately the bird began to settle into a pattern,residing at Blacktoft Sands RSPB,so a visit there on the 16th,got me superb,prolonged views of this cracking adult.Other birds enjoyed at this flagship reserve included 2 Wood Sandpiper,2 Spoonbill,17 Little Egret and 7 Green Sandpiper.The next day,while taking part in my monthly WEBS count at New Holland,a nice find in the form of another Honey Buzzard,flew south west inland there.Finally,another visit to the patch at Bonby,saw me finding a fairly good insect for the area,a male Roesel's-bush Cricket.It was of the migratory 'Macropterous' form and is the first record i have personally heard of in the area.


A visit to Alkborough on the 7th to lead a Butterfly and Dragonfly walk,resulted in very few highlights insect wise,due to the weather,but a few birds were logged in the form of 3 Spoonbill,3 Ruddy Shelduck and 6 juvenile Beardies.Local patch watching on the 9th and 14th provided some nice sightings,with the continued presence of both the Osprey and Common Crane,with a juv.Peregrine on both dates and a Whinchat and Spot Fly on the 14th.On the evening of the 12th,a visit to my sisters,coincided with a visit to see the massive numbers of Little Gulls at Hornsea Mere,with me seeing at least 900 birds!,this included at least 700 on view at one time,an amazing sight to see.Another trip out of the county,this time to Filey Brigg on the 28th,saw Chris and myself seeing nothing out of the ordinary,but enjoying superb views of Arctic Skua,Manx and Sooty Shearwater,Bonxie,Whimbrel and Wheatear,an enjoyable day just watching common birds.


The 3rd saw more local birding to start off the month,with me visiting Bonby Carrs,South Ferriby and Alkborough Flats and enjoying some nice sightings of the 2nd calendar yr. Common Crane at Bonby,followed by 3 Hobby at South Ferriby and finishing the day at Alkborough with 9 Spoonbill and 17 Little Egret.The Spoonbills being the largest flock i have observed,a great sight.Another visit to Alkborough again on the 11th saw me adding a nice juv. Pectoral Sandpiper to the yearlist.The 17th and 18th saw me adding 2 quality birds to my Lincolnshire list,the first on the 17th was a first record for the county and came in the form of a 'Surinamensis' Black Tern at Covenham Res,this is the american form of Black Tern and was found by GPC.The bird showed superbly to the expectant crowd and proved very popular over the coming days.Also here were an adult and juvenile Red-necked Grebe,which showed possible characters of the american race.The 18th saw me at last, adding Sabine's Gull to my Lincolnshire list,with me visiting the juvenile bird at Leadenham Tip.It gave superb views,actually flying past me at one point,before returning to its favoured pool,an absolute cracker!.A bonus find after enjoying the gull,was a Clouded Yellow along a roadside verge.A trip down the coast on the 24th,saw very little of note apart from 2 juv. Little Stint,5 juv.Curlew Sandpiper and my first Lapland Bunting of the autumn,all at Rimac,with a return visit to Covenham on the way home,enjoying more superb views of the American Black Tern and another couple of juv. Little Stint.Local patching on the 26th saw my second juv. Whinchat of the autumn being logged and 16 Common Buzzard and 5 Marsh Harrier ending another superb months birding.


On the 6th,more long distance twitching along with Graham and Neil,saw us heading to Boyton Marshes in Suffolk for the superb adult Sandhill Crane.The bird showed admirably and we managed some great views of it feeding and in flight also,a beauty!.This was obviously my first sighting of this migratory american species.Other birds seen during the day included a single Hobby,4 Wheatear and a 2nd winter Med. Gull.An all day effort down the Linc's coast on the 14th,had us seeing a few nice bits which included a late Pied Flycatcher at Rimac and a Yellow-browed Warbler and an 'In off' juv. Rough-legged Buzzard at Seaview Farm.Other niceities through the day came in the form of 2 Short-eared Owl,Peregrine,2 Merlin and male Stonechat.The 15th had me dashing to Barton to see only my second Ferruginous Duck and like the last one a male,albiet this one being a 1st winter,another class find by Graham.Local patching again between 18th-22nd saw us all enjoying another Rough-leg at Worlaby,my fourth for the patch and a lovely surprise addition to the patch list in the form of 6 Crossbill on the 18th.The month ended on a high,when Neil found another quality bird,a Lesser Yellowlegs,firstly at Bagmoor,but then it re-located to an accessible site,Alkborough Flats,were it was enjoyed by many and made for a nice end to the month.


The month started with a bang on the 5th,no pun intended,with Dave and myself heading to Spurn to see our first Isabelline Wheatear,the bird put on a great show to the gathered crowd,an absolute cracker.Next day,bird of the year for the patch,came in the form of a Lapland Bunting seen twice in flight and was a long awaited addition for myself after me already seeing Snow Bunting.Also seen on the 6th were a whopping 15 Short-eared Owl,the largest count i have recorded at Worlaby,superb stuff!!.On the 12th an all day visit to the coast with Chris saw us seeing the previous days 'Desert' Lesser Whitethroat,found by Graham and Neil and what a superb little bird it was too.This turned out to be a very productive day with us also seeing 3 'Tundra' Bean Geese and 50 Eurasian White-fronted Geese at Pyes's Hall along with Black Brant,9 Lapland Bunting,2 Peregrine,3 Merlin,2 Hen Harrier and 9 Whooper Swan at Donna Nook,what a day!.A visit to the Tetney area again with Chris on the 12th,was also a great day out with us seeing an ultra tame Great-grey Shrike,3 Bewick's and 5 Whooper Swan,2 Short-eared Owl and 2 Merlin.A return visit to Donna Nook on the 23rd saw me logging my latest Northern Wheatear,with a juv. along the beach near Pye's.Other goodies recorded included 4 White-fronted Geese south,Peregrine,Merlin and 15 Lapland Bunting.On the journey home,i popped in at Covenham and found a further 2 'Tundra' Bean Geese and 7 White-fronted Geese on an adjacent cereal field and a superb 1st winter male Snow Bunting watched feeding along the reservoir wall.More geese on the 26th and 27th included me seeing 26 more 'Tundra' Bean's on the wold top above Worlaby and 20 White-fronted Geese at Winterton(26th) and 2 'Tundra' Beans and 17 White-fronted Geese at Messingham(27th).The latter date saw me seeing a single Mealy Redpoll with a flock of Lesser's at Messingham.


No real highlights were observed until mid-way through the month on the 17th,with a trip firstly to Donna Nook seeing again the Black Brant from back in November and a few other bits which included 4 Pale-bellied Brent,6 Lap. Bunt. and a Kingfisher.Later we went to look for the reported juv. Rough-legged Buzzard at Withern,but only managed brief views of it perched on a roadside hedge before it disappeared onto a distant hawthorn.A bit of local birding on the 26th looking for the elusive Great-white Egret,saw me again missing this bird,but i managed to see an unseasonal Green Sandpiper,3 Goosander and superb views of a flyby Bittern.Next day saw Chris and myself heading for the Yorkshire coast,with us getting nice views of the 1st winter male Desert Wheatear at Bempton,with a bonus Short-eared Owl thrown in for good measure and later a visit to Scarborough paid divedends with us seeing Great-northern Diver,6 Med. Gulls,34 Purple Sandpiper and the resident pair of Peregrines.Another day out on the 30th with Chris and fellow Grimbarians,Tony and Ian,got us a nice list of birds despite the poor weather conditions,these included superb views of the RLB at Withern,Red-necked Grebe and 2 drake Goosander at Covenham and finally 4 'Tundra' Bean Geese,10 Whooper and 2 Bewick's Swan,2 Short-eared Owl and a Barn Owl at Thoresby Bridge.The year ended on the 31st with a day out with Dave and with us finally catching up with Great-white Egret and also seeing a very interesting Great-grey Shrike at Wroot,that was showing some characters of the 'Homiyeri' race.To end the day 3 'Tundra' Beans above Worlaby village on the wold top and 3 Short-eared Owls on the patch ended a great years birding and wildlife watching.

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