Thursday, 5 January 2017

A tour of the Humber

It seemed like I was doing a tour of the Humber today. I arrived at Welwick Wetlands near Spurn at 8am and spent about three hours walking up and down the sea wall looking for the juvenile pallid harrier which I saw last year on the otherside of the river at Grainthorpe Haven near Donna Nook but which has since relocated here.

I thought I was going to miss out today, I only found it 15 minutes before I needed to leave, but what a great view it was, easily my best view ever of pallid harrier, and the light was perfect. Not that I was able to get a decent photo though, probably because this is one of those species which mesmerises me so much that I forget to raise the camera! I only took two photos of the bird, and it wasn't even in one of those! The name is a bit unfair on the species I think, yes the adult males may be a bit pallid looking, but the juveniles are the most beautiful of all harriers of any age in my opinion. What really struck me today in the excellent sunlight was how orangey the birds underparts were, and what about that face? One of the most exciting birds there is in my opinion, I may go back again if I get the opportunity before the end of the winter.

The three hour wait to see it wan't bad either, I had excellent views of 2 short-eared owls, 2 adult peregrines (together), merlin and 2 marsh harriers, plus thousands of waders.

Then I drove back through Hull and over the Humber Bridge, which was quite spectacular today. The sky was breathtakingly blue and the river was like a mirror as I crossed. On my right as I neared the southern shore I could see the Far Ings reserve and then I turned west and headed towards Alkborough Flats nature reserve. I stopped briefly at South Ferriby where the road runs along the river, because it was just so beautiful. There were hundreds of waders on the glistening mud flats, including about 20 avocets, as well as many shelduck and teal. Near Scunthorpe I stopped and did a survey, before heading east again, this time on the south shore of the river. I ended up doing a dusk survey at a site near Cleethorpes and was rewarded with 2 more short-eared owls. The photos of the harrier flying left is from today, the other of it flying right is the same bird but from Grainthorpe Haven last November.

Brown-billed dunlin!

Pallid harrier Grainthorpe Haven November 2016.

Pallid harrier today at Welwick Wetlands.




Welwick Wetlands.

Welwick Wetlands.

South Ferriby.

Dark-bellied brent geese with a single pale bellied bird at Tetney Marshes 06/01/2017.

On my way home I called in at Ulleby reservoir in South Yorkshire for this tundra bean goose.

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