Not quite a Canvasback

Spent a couple of hours at Cleethorpes on a bitterly cold & murky afternoon. The 1w Goosander was still on the boating lake (though over half of the lake was frozen).
A quick look at Cleethorpes Country Park produced a Water Rail which gave itself away with its squealing call & then showed briefly in flight.

Kirkby Pits & Moor Farm

Visited the pits today though half of it was frozen over. Highlights were: 3 Whooper Swans east, 4 Egyptian Geese, 50 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 11+ Shoveler, 2 Kingfisher, 3 Green Woodpecker & a flock of 25 Siskin.

Also checked out Moor Farm though large parts were deathly quiet. Did have a flock of 50+ Siskin in alders and 2 Redpolls over. 2 Green Woodpeckers made it 5 for the day.

Donna Nook to Grainthorpe Haven

Donna Nook at sunrise today

I wonder what happens to the seals that don't make it

Birding from dawn till dusk today. 2 Barn Owls on the way to Donna Nook along the A1031 coast. Once at Donna Nook I covered the area between the flashes at the southern end of the reserve all the way to Grainthorpe Haven. Highlights were as follows: 6 Red-throated Divers, 50 Cormorants, 21 Little Egret (inc 20 going to roost from Grainthorpe marsh), Whooper Swan, a pale-bellied Brent, 8 Eider, 50 Teal, the wintering Greenshank, 100 Bar-tailed godwit, 11 Snipe, male Hen Harrier still, Peregrine, Merlin, Barn Owl, 30 Goldfinch still at Pyes, a mixed flock of Linnet & Twite totalling 25 birds, 3 Lapland Buntings (inc one showing well feeding amongst Golden Plover) & 19 Snow Buntings.
Bird behaviour of the day was witnessing the Merlin following the Hen Harrier around the marsh - presumably looking to take advantage of any pipits/larks the harrier flushed? I also saw a Merlin (the same bird?) doing exactly this with the Hen Harrier when I visited the area on 21/12.

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall

I got the feeling the seals have just about had enough of photographers.

Took my Mum to see the seals for a couple of hours & though most of the seals have now moved off, there were still a few to cater for the masses who are still making the pilgrimage. Though not a "full-on" birding trip, I did walk up to Pyes & trip highlights were a male Hen Harrier (probably the same individual from my last post), Peregrine, Merlin, 10 Little Egret, flocks of 15 Twite & 30 Goldfinch.

Cleethorpes & Grainthorpe Marsh

The wintering Purple Sandpiper was still showing very well this morning at Cleethorpes. A Black-tailed Godwit flew over.
Went on to Grainthorpe Marsh where a male Hen Harrier was quartering the marsh. 2 Merlins, 2 Little Egrets & a flock of 30 Fieldfare were also seen in the hour I remained there.
Ended up back at Cleethorpes to check through gulls but nothing of note, though the 1w Goosander was still on the boating lake & 2 Little Egrets were on the saltmarsh.

The wonders of migration

I was surprised to find that this Canadian colour-ringed Turnstone which I initially saw at Cleethorpes last winter, has returned to the same stretch of Cleethorpes beach this winter. The bird was ringed at Alert, Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada several years ago. The distances birds migrate never fails to amaze me.

Sunny Cleethorpes

A nice sunny day with light winds. Tried North Thoresby fishing ponds first but very quiet. Did flush a Little Egret from a a roadside ditch next to the A1031 S of Tetney village - this species is certainly starting to spread inland.

Went & spent the rest of the morning at Cleethorpes and took in the 1st winter Goosander that's been on the Boating Lake for a few weeks now. Tried to "bread a Med" but this normally only has a chance of working when there's actually a Med Gull in the area, so today the exercise had to be amended to "bread the Black-head". A pale-bellied Brent was with 165 of its Dark-bellied relatives out on the saltmarsh & a female Stonechat showed well in the dunes.

Heard today from Admiral Nelson that there was a Purple Sandpiper wintering at the N end of Cleethorpes so went to check it out and was rewarded with a very confiding individual which at times came so close that I couldn't focus the camera! Good to see a Purple Sand back wintering in the area after a few barren years. As far as I am aware this is the only wintering bird in the county.

Kirkby Pits

A pic of some of the stunning scenery I encountered today.
(note the defused bomb in the centre)

Winter is generally prime time for checking through ducks and gulls so Kirkby Pits with its adjacent landfill site seemed a good location to try. There was clearly a large number of ducks on the reserve, I counted 230 Tufted Duck on one pit alone, but after checking through the widfowl and also the gulls on the landfill, I couldn't find anything different. Plenty of plastic geese but the 20 Gypo Geese that have been around were elusive. The day's highlights - 2 wintering Green Sandpipers, 2 Redshank, 30+ Wigeon, 2 Green Woodpecker, 2 Grey Wagtail, a flock of 42 Fieldfare,3 Bullfinch & 2 Redpolls + a Siskin over.

Finished off at Kirkby Moor until dark and saw 2 Green Woodpeckers & had 3 more Redpolls over. Did however add a new tick to my Lincs birders list there, a very pleasant chap called John, originally from Wales but now residing down the road at Coningsby. He also has his own blog - JH birding - well worth a look for goings on in the Kirkby area which is his local patch (+ bits from further afield).