Monday, 27 February 2012

Roving Report – Humber

Well that’s all folks; I’m done on the Humber (work-wise at any rate). So here’s my round up of the 18 days over four months that spent surveying on behalf of Footprint Ecology and the Humber Management Scheme.

Over the last four months I’ve chatted to really awesome birders and photographers, who were always keen to tell the newcomer the best spots to see cracking birds. I’ve hung out with the Lincs. Wildlife Trust dawn patrol (giving up their lie-in to protect Donna Nook from certain feckless photographers). I’ve been delivered pie and chips by considerate birders. And I’ve experienced one of my favourite places in the world in wind, rain, hail, snow and glorious sunshine. All in all, it’s been rather good!

Gadwall in flight over Faxfleet
As someone who’s not generally a fan of early mornings, I have to say that the light at that time of day makes it more than worth it (even if I was sometimes mistaken for a shady character!). I have also decided that my idea of heaven is a sunny morning, dew on Phragmites, and Meadow Pippits singing (and you sure get a lot of that here)!

What's Lurking, I Wonder?
I can also say that if you’re going to do a lot of driving you need to take more than 4 albums as the radio these days is AWFUL. However, if you can only take one, make it the new Van Halen album. I was singing like a mentalist at the traffic lights!

"She's the WOMBAT!" (seriously, listen to the chorus and deny it!)
Keep a stash of coffee in your rolling office/hide and keep your filing cabinet/boot in good order.

Trusty Office and Occasional Diner
Also if you’re taking a camera, for god’s sake charge the battery… and take a spare… you have no idea how much I have cursed my lack of preparation! And take spare trousers, that mud is sticky...

They were clean on too...

So here it is, the summation of my working trips to the Humber.

Species List (it’s amazing what you can see over three 30 minute breaks!):
  • ·         Kestrel
  • ·         Buzzard
  • ·         Merlin
  • ·         Hen Harrier
  • ·         Sparrowhawk
  • ·         Peregrine Falcon
  • ·         Barn Owl
  • ·         Tawny Owl
  • ·         Short Eared Owl
  • ·         Ringed Plover
  • ·         Golden Plover
  • ·         Grey Plover
  • ·         Dunlin
  • ·         Knot
  • ·         Sanderling
  • ·         Common Sandpiper
  • ·         Turnstone
  • ·         Redshank
  • ·         Black Tailed Godwit
  • ·         Bar Tailed Godwit
  • ·         Curlew
  • ·         Lapwing
  • ·         Oystercatcher
  • ·         Black Headed Gull
  • ·         Herring Gull
  • ·         Common Gull
  • ·         Kittiwake
  • ·         Lesser Black Backed Gull
  • ·         Greater Black Backed Gull
  • ·         Dunnock
  • ·         House Sparrow
  • ·         Tree Sparrow
  • ·         Robin
  • ·         Wren
  • ·         Goldcrest
  • ·         Greenfinch
  • ·         Gold Finch
  • ·         Chaffinch
  • ·         Bullfinch
  • ·         Blue Tit
  • ·         Coal Tit
  • ·         Great Tit
  • ·         Long Tailed Tit
  • ·         Reed Bunting
  • ·         Pied Wagtail
  • ·         Meadow Pippit
  • ·         Yellowhammer
  • ·         Starling
  • ·         Black Bird
  • ·         Song Thrush
  • ·         Fieldfare
  • ·         Collared Dove
  • ·         Wood Pigeon
  • ·         Stock Dove
  • ·         Jackdaw
  • ·         Rook
  • ·         Carrion Crow
  • ·         Magpie
  • ·         King Fisher
  • ·         Grey Heron
  • ·         Cormorant
  • ·         Little Egret
  • ·         Pheasant
  • ·         Grey Partidge
  • ·         Golden Eye
  • ·         Smew
  • ·         Redbreasted Merganser
  • ·         Tufted Duck
  • ·         Pochard
  • ·         Shoveler
  • ·         Widgeon
  • ·         Teal
  • ·         Gadwall
  • ·         Mallard
  • ·         Moorhen
  • ·         Coot
  • ·         Shelduck
  • ·         Greylag Goose
  • ·         Brent Goose (Pale and Dark bellied)
  • ·         Canada Goose
  • ·         Mute Swan

Bringing me to a grand total of 79 birds (plus a few tame Muscovy at Cleethorpes Discovery Park), not including extras seen during the Naturebites birdrace which I competed in on one of my days off!

Spot the birdy, Faxfleet.

At Faxfleet good weather encouraged the Reed Bunts to begin displaying.

Just Missed (birds that were reported to me by passing birders, but I didn’t have the time to go and find):
  • ·         Bittern (at Farr Ings, showing infrequently, so in the 20 mins I had spare I went for female Smew instead)
  • ·         Snow Bunts and Bearded Tits at Brough (I had a possible bearded tit between 12 and 12:30, but I couldn’t be sure, so no tick)
  • ·         Marsh Harrier at Faxfleet (the weather was so promising, I stayed for an extra half hour until I lost the light, still no sighting)

Mammal-wise:
  • ·         Roe deer
  • ·         Fox
  • ·         Badger
  • ·         Hedgehog
  • ·         Wonderful, wonderful Weasels
  • ·         Rabbit
  • ·         Hare
  • ·         Common Seal
  • ·         Grey Seal
  • ·         Water Vole
  • ·         Shrew
  • ·         Brown Rat


Winner of the Most Fantastic View:
Falling Flocks at Paull

There sure were a lot of birds...

...and watching them all come in to land was incredible... and deafening


Winner of Most Frustrating Image:
Long Tailed Tits at Fax Fleet

Autofocus Failure (Sob)


If you’re planning a visit to the Humber my pick of the sites would be Far Ings and Water’s Edge at Barton, Paull just outside Hull, Killingholme near Immingham, and of course, Spurn Point. Give yourself two days for a site if you don’t know the area. On day one, have a wander, talk to the locals, then on day two, get up early, beat the crowds and get a peaceful view of the area. And if you see a blonde in a daft hat, she’d appreciate any tips offs you care to pass on!

Teasel

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