Sunday, 21 March 2010

A visit to Tophill Low N.R.

Barn Owl, Watton, East Yorks.

Barn Owl

Sanderling, Hornsea

Gannet, Bempton





Sunday 21st March 2010
Had to tear myself away from all the excitement of the Midlands birding scene and spend a couple of days in East Yorkshire visiting Jan's mum. I usually find time to visit some of the areas where my fascination with birds, particularly birds rarely seen in the Midlands, really began. On Friday I just pottered about Hornsea and Atwick. Each time I go to Atwick more of the cliff top and much rough grassland has disappeared due to coastal erosion. There were a few Skylarks and Meadow pipits but little else except a pristine White wagtail. On the shoreline a few Sanderlings and a couple of Dunlin were constanly on the move.
On Saturday it rained all day. I visited Tophill Low N.R. between Beverley and Driffield. Based on a Yorkshire Water pumping station Tophill Low shot to prominence when an Amur Falcon was belatedly identified there. The nature reserve and the adjacent Watton N.R. have been developed to provide a variety of habitats and attract a good variety of species. The first bird of the day was seen from the approach road. Two Barn Owls were watched at quite close range. Other birds seen during the morning around the reserve were a red head Smew, Brambling, Tree sparrows, a Common Buzzard and another Barn Owl.

Sunday was a glorious day in complete contrast. A walk along the cliffs at Bempton seemed a good plan and it was clear that many Seabirds were already establishing territory and engaging in courtship. Kittiwakes were on the cliffs in huge numbers whereas Guillemots formed large rafts on the sea with smaller numbers of Razorbill and a few Puffin. There were also good numbers of Gannets, all adult birds, some on the cliffs but many wheeling about effortlessly. It was great to watch so much activity going on.

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