Tetney 08/05/17

An unplanned afternoon visit but the report of a Dotterel by the southern boundary of the recording area meant I just had to give it a go.
Weatherwise it was still feeling very wintry with a blustery N wind and thick cloud throughout.

Star bird was of course the female Dotterel which thankfully showed well.

Other highlights from today: 2 Whimbrel, Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, Barn Owl, Grey Partridge, Cuckoo and 2 Wheatear. A group of 5 terns flew by but I failed to ascertain their identity so were logged as "Commic" terns.

One patch tick today: Dotterel
2017 patch total: 138

Female Dotterel - the Tetney/North Cotes area has traditionally been one of the best in Lincs for catching up with this special wader during spring passage. DW and I actually checked this field for Dotterel only 2 days previously!

Dark-bellied Brent Goose RDN6 
I also saw this bird in the same place 28/11 and a red-colour-ringed bird briefly seen there 21/4 was also likely to be the same individual. Ringed in the Netherlands in 2015. RDN6 is staying later along our coast this spring - last year he was back at his spring passage site in the Netherlands by 29/3.

Tetney 06/05/17

Out with DW. Covered the northern and southern boundaries of the patch as well as walking our usual circuit.
Weatherwise it was a cold NE starting F4 and eventually becoming F3. Thick cloud dominated most of the day.

On the humber: A single male Common Scoter makes it 8 consecutive months this species has remained present off Tetney.

Birds of prey: 2 Common Buzzard, Merlin, 2 Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel and a Short-eared Owl.

Other highlights: 7+ Whimbrel, 5 Common Sandpiper, a late Turnstone, 2 Grey Partridge, 13 Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, 3 Swift (1st of the spring), a few Swallows NW and 2 Sand Martins NW. Most of the warblers noted were territorial birds with numbers - 12 Blackcap, 20 Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler and 10 Reed Warbler - the latter included 9 birds along Tetney Lock and a significant increase on our last count along there.

A Hobby was seen close to Tetney village but was outside our recording area - the first of the year for both of us.

Other wildlife: Grey Seal and 4 Roe Deer. Sadly another Roe Deer was seen dead in a field by the seawall with presumed shooting cover close by.

One patch tick today - Swift.
2017 patch list so far: 137.

The Barnacle Goose seen at Tetney with Brents 21/4 has been "ticked" as a wild bird. Sightings of a single Barnacle Goose with Brents at Spurn 20/4, seen at Kilnsea 25/4 and Flamborough 2/5 all relate to presumably the same individual who's wanderings are certainly not typical of a feral bird.

Dead male Roe Deer - not a pleasant sight whilst walking along the seawall 

On a more positive note we managed to later see 4 Roe Deer alive and well

Tetney 29/04/17

SE F4 with sun in the morning and light cloud in the afternoon. The usual circuit covered.

On the humber: Great Crested Grebe and the usual 6 Common Scoter.

Birds of prey: Marsh Harrier, 2 Common Buzzard, Peregrine and 2 Kestrel.

In the bushes: 3 Blackcap, 4 Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler.

Other highlights: 5+ Whimbrel, Cuckoo, 2 Wheatear, 7 Yellow Wagtail (4 NW), Swallows and the odd Sand Martin moving mostly NW for most of the day, Linnets also moving NW, Reed Warbler.

Other wildlife: Brimstone and Holly Blue butterflies were the first seen in the area this spring.
the 2 Roe Deer were still in the dunes.

No patch year ticks today.

Male Wheatear

Tetney 28/04/17

Out with DW. Covered the usual circuit but also walked and covered the northern boundary of the patch.
Weather was quite variable - a mixture of sunny spells, light cloud and occasional light rain. Wind was largely an F4 NW dropping to F3.

Bird of the day was undoubtedly the drake Garganey seen flying up the humber - Garganey is a tough bird to get in the area due to no suitable habitat for them.

On the humber: The 6 Common Scoter still.

In the bushes: 14 Blackcap, 4 Common Whitethroat, 6 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler.

Birds of prey: Marsh Harrier, 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrel and 2 Short-eared Owl.

Other highlights: 7+ Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, 4 Grey Partridge, 2 Red-legged Partridge, Cuckoo (1st of the spring), 2 Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, 3 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler with Swallows and Linnets moving NW during our visit.

Other wildlife: 2 Roe Deer in the dunes, Common Seal, Orange Tip butteflies and a Drinker moth caterpillar.

2 patch year ticks today: Garganey and Cuckoo
2017 patch total: 135

 Not a combination you often see 

The first time I've ever come across a message in a bottle (well, jam jar) washed up on the beach. I don't think it had travelled far though - the sender lives in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Sent 31st June last year (though last time I looked there were only 30 days in June)

Horseshoe Point 26/04/17

An evening visit with the Lincs Bird Club Grimsby Area Members. A raw and blustery N wind but sunny.
Highlights: 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose with 100 Dark-bellied, 2 Greenshank, c40 Whimbrel, 60 Grey Plover, 370 Oystercatcher, a flock of 7 Arctic Tern NW (my 1st terns of the year/patch tick as viewed flying through the patch), Wheatear, 3 Swallow NW and a House Martin NW.

1 patch tick: Arctic Tern
2017 patch total: 133

Tetney 25/04/17

Morning visit only. Out watching the humber at first light. Tricky conditions with the temperature only 2°C and a raw F5 NW making it feel much colder than that. A largely sunny morning.

On the humber: Gannet NW, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Pintail NW, drake Red-breasted Merganser NW.

Birds of prey: Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and a Short-eared Owl.

Other highlights: 5 Whimbrel, Greenshank (1st of the spring), Grey Partridge, Yellow Wagtail NW, 3 Swallow NW, 3 Blackcap, 2 Common Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 4 Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler.

Other wildlife: A Brown Hare was on the beach and 2 Grey Seals close in to the tide edge.

3 patch year ticks: Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser and Greenshank.
2017 patch total: 132

Tetney 23/04/17

An F2 W appeared to have swung to a NE by mid-afternoon. A predominantly sunny day.
Nothing exceptional today but there was a good selection of waders for an area which lacks any freshwater pools or scrapes. Also nice to see hirundines and Yellow Wagtails moving through during most of the day.

On the humber: 6 Common Scoter, 2 Avocet appeared to come in off, briefly landing by the tide edge and then heading S.

Birds of prey: 3 Common Buzzard, at least 2 Kestrel, 2 Short-eared Owl were still present and both were hunting early afternoon as well as early morning. One of the buzzards headed NW along the beach and was the only raptor noted on the move today.

In the bushes: Very quiet. 3 Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and a Chiffchaff all apppeared to be territorial birds rather than passage migrants.

Other highlights: 7 Whimbrel (5N, 2W), 10 Golden Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 2 Grey Partridge, 2 Red-legged Partridge, 13+ Yellow Wagtail NW, alba Wagtail NW, hirundines not counted though largely Swallows heading NW with a few Sand Martins seen - only a single House Martin recorded. An increase to 2 Sedge Warbler and 2 Reed Warbler along Tetney Lock. Probably the best record of the day was a very late Snow Bunting that passed over calling and heading NW.

Other wildlife: Orange Tip butterflies and St Marks flies now on the wing, whilst Brown-tail moth caterpillars were all along the beach - an annual sight along our coastline.

No patch year ticks today.

With a lack of suitable habitat, this Little Ringed Plover stopped off in the saltmarsh. I thought this might be a tricky species to get for the Tetney area but that's now 3 for the spring (2 flyovers) and I know of 2 others also seen. It will always be hard to get good waders here but the beach will be seeing large numbers of migrant waders passing through in the coming weeks. Waders on a large expanse of beach is difficult to check compared to checking a scrape from a hide but I'm sure a Broad-billed Sandpiper or maybe even a Kentish Plover will pass through at some point - finding them is the big challenge!

The only raptor seen on the move today was this Common Buzzard that flew NW.

It's that time of year when you see plenty of Brown-tail moth caterpillars along the beach - in windy conditions many can be seen being blown along the beach.

Tetney 21/04/17

A visit to the northern end of the patch first thing with DW followed by our usual circuit at the central/southern end.
A largely cloudy day with brief sunny spells. Wind W-NW beginning F3 but soon increasing to a blustery F5.

On the humber: Red-throated Diver and 5 Common Scoter.

Birds of prey: Marsh Harrier, 3 Common Buzzard, 3 Peregrine, Merlin, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2+ Kestrel, Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl. One of the Common Buzzards was seen heading towards the Lincs coast from Spurn before continuing NW upriver and a Sparrowhawk came in off from Spurn only a couple of minutes after the Buzzard.

In the bushes: 10 Blackcap, 3 Common Whitethroat, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler and a pair of Bullfinch.

Also: The Black Brant was with 225 Dark-bellied Brents, a Greylag Goose flew out E towards Spurn, 4+ Grey Partridge, 6 Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper (1st of the spring), Wheatear, 12 Swallow NW (also several territorial birds), 10 Sand Martin (8 NW, 2E), 6 Yellow Wagtail NW, Grey Wagtail NW, 4 alba wagtail NW, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (1st of the spring) and a flock of 60 Linnet (+ a few small groups heading NW).

Interesting sighting of the day was a single Barnacle Goose initially seen flying over calling and later seen with the Brent flock - this bird was seen heading S with some Whimbrel at Spurn the previous day before joining the Brents there. A late date for a genuine vagrant and there is a small feral population nearby at Cleethorpes but could it be a late straggler? Hanging out with Brents is at least a positive sign. Case unanswered so it remains unticked for the year.

2017 patch ticks today: Common Sandpiper, Common Whitethroat and Reed Warbler
2017 patch total: 129

 1 of 2 Black Brants in the county at present. Comparing dates it seems feasible this individual is commuting between Spurn and the Tetney/Horseshoe Point area. No overlap of dates and parties of Brent Geese are frequently seen crossing the humber between the two areas, including today.

Note the colour-ringed Brent in the above photo - I was too busy concentrating on getting a photo of the Brant that I failed to notice it at the time. I have noted a colour-ringed bird also wih a red colour ring here before though, back in November - this individual was ringed on spring passage in the Netherlands in 2015 and then recorded through the spring of 2016 at Spurn, then in Holland and Germany.

It's not unusual to see Roe Deer prints on the upper areas of the beach but can't say I've seen them heading way out to the tide edge before.

Covenham Reservoir 19/04/17

Light S, cloudy with occasional light drizzle. 
An evening visit with the Lincs Bird Club Grimsby Area members.

Main highlights: Drake Garganey, 56 Tufted Duck, Common Buzzard, 2 Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, c300 Swallow, c60 Sand Martin, single House Martin, 16 Yellow Wagtail and 7 White Wagtail.

Weelsby Woods, Grimsby 19/04/17

Another passage Ring Ouzel was present in the same area as the previous 3 birds from just over a week ago. Nearby were 2 Common Whitethroats (1st of the spring) and 2 Lesser Whitethroats.

Tetney 15/04/17

Covered the area with DW.
A cold F3 NW soon became F5. Prolonged sunny periods.
A surprisingly productive day considering the conditions. I certainly wasn't expecting to see hirundine passage into a cold NW headwind.

Bird of the day was the 2nd Osprey of the spring that flew low NW up the estuary.

On the humber: Great Crested Grebe and 6 Common Scoter.

Other birds of prey: Common Buzzard, 3 Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Short-eared Owl and a Barn Owl.

In the bushes: Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat (1st of the spring), 5 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler.

Other highlights: The Mute Swan count was up to a new high of 19 birds, 2 Whimbrel (1st of the spring), Little Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Partridge, 5 Wheatear, 16 Swallow (15 NW), 2 Sand Martin NW, House Martin NW (1st of the spring), Sedge Warbler (1st of the spring) and 63 Linnet (24 NW).

4 patch year ticks: Whimbrel, House Martin, Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler.
2017 patch total: 126

Horseshoe Point 12/04/17

An evening visit to Horseshoe Point with the Lincs Bird Club Grimsby members. A sunny evening but a blustery and cold NW wind.
A flock of 80 Brent geese held a Black Brant and a Pale-bellied Brent. The Black Brant was presumably the sane individual we saw next door at Tetney on 07/04.
Also seen: Hen Harrier, Peregrine and a Yellow Wagtail NW.

Weelsby Woods, Grimsby 11/04/17

A walk literally across the road to Weelsby Woods to look for the Ring Ouzel found there yesterday by TH - I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 Ring Ouzels there today. A Swallow was also seen at nearby Gooseman's Field.

Distant record shot of one of the Rouzels. There has now been 5 Ring Ouzels in the Weelsby Woods/Gooseman's Field area in the last 3 days - this is a traditional spring stopover area for them.

Tetney 09/04/17

Hottest day of the year with the temperature reaching a high of around 21°C. Sunny all day but spoilt by the strength of the wind which soon increased to a very blustery F5 SW.
A bit of a half-hearted attempt today as my health hasn't been up to scratch. Also the beach held at least 3 (possibly 5) nudists, which always makes for uncomfortable birding!

Highlights: Common Buzzard, 2 Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail NW (1st of the spring), 2 alba wagtail NW, 3 Swallow NW, 2 Sand Martin E, 3 Fieldfare, Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest.

One patch year tick today: Yellow Wagtail
2017 patch total: 122

Wheatears are no longer being encountered as single birds

Tetney 07/04/17

A cloudy day. F3 NW with the temperature around 11°C though the wind chill made it feel like winter rather than spring, so not surprising the list for the day had a wintry feel to it.
Out with DW.

Bird of the day was the smart Black Brant with a flock of 175 Dark-bellied Brents.

On the humber: A Red-throated Diver and 2 Common Scoter south.

Bird of prey highlights: Hen Harrier, 3 Common Buzzard, 3 Peregrine, Merlin, Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl.

In the bushes: 3 Chiffchaff

Other highlights: 96 Golden Plover, Common Snipe, 9 Grey Partridge, Fieldfare, 5 alba wagtail NW, 15 Linnet NW and a pair of Bullfinch.

Other wildlife: Common Porpoise and the bizarre sight of a Field Vole scurrying along the tide edge.

No patch year ticks today. Black Brant isn't classed as a separate species from Brent Goose - well, not yet anyway.

Tetney isn't Tetney without a Black Brant making an annual appearance

Field Vole with a death wish - we managed to usher it back to the safety of vegetation

Tetney 03/04/17

An F3 S wind soon became an F4 SW. Largely sunny with the temperature around 15°C.

On the humber: A drake Common Scoter was the only notable sighting.

Bird of prey highlights: 2 Marsh Harriers NW including one in off and quartering the marsh before heading NW, Common Buzzard, Peregrine and Short-eared Owl.

In the bushes: 2 Blackcap, Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest.

Other highlights: 2 Grey Partridge, Swallow NW (first of the spring) and 2 Fieldfare.

Butterflies: 2 Peacock and 5 Small Tortoiseshell.

One patch year tick - Swallow
Total: 121

Tetney 31/03/17

A F3 SW soon became a blustery F5. A sunny day with the temperature reaching around 15°C.
Covered the area with DW.
The most productive visit to the patch so far this year.

The humber: Very quiet with nothing of note.

Birds of prey: An Osprey seen hunting over a saltmarsh pool, then over the tide edge and later seen on the mudflats eating a fish, 2 Marsh Harriers - including a male in off the humber which then carried on heading inland, 2 Common Buzzard, Peregrine, Merlin and Barn Owl.
In nine Tetney visits this month a total of seven Marsh Harriers were seen migrating through the reserve - I wonder just how many passed through undetected? Passage should continue through April.

In the bushes:  Willow Warbler and Blackcap (both firsts of the spring), 7 Chiffchaff and 10 Goldcrest.

Other highlights: 300 Pink-footed Geese NW in 2 skeins, 4 Avocet, Green Sandpiper, 75 Golden Plover, 4 Grey Partridge, Sand Martin NW (first of the spring), Wheatear, 10 alba wagtail NW, a female Ring Ouzel showed well often perching on an adjacent fence, 3 Fieldfare, Redwing and 6 Linnet NW.

Butterflies: Small White, 5 Peacock, 5 Comma and 4 Small Tortoiseshell.

6 patch year ticks today: Osprey, Green Sandpiper, Sand Martin, Ring Ouzel, Blackcap and Willow Warbler.
Total: 120

Female Ring Ouzel 

Distant record shot of the Osprey which was frequently harrassed by gulls.
My joint earliest Osprey record.

 Plenty of Brown-tail moth caterpillars are now becoming active in the countless webs woven on the Sea Buckthorn bushes

Tetney 29/03/17

Largely cloudy with spells of light rain in the morning and early afternoon. SW F4 with a temperature of 14°C.

On the humber were the usual 2 Common Scoter with a third bird heading upriver.

Bird of prey highlights: Marsh Harrier NW, male Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard, Peregrine and Short-eared Owl.

In the bushes were 7 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest.

Other highlights: 18 Mute Swan on Tetney Lock was a sizable increase on the usual 2 birds! Also - 7 Tufted Duck, 4 Avocet, Little Ringed Plover that flew over the beach calling, Common Snipe, c200 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Partridge, Wheatear, Grey Wagtail, 10 alba Wagtail NW, Lesser Redpoll NW and 7 Redwing.

2 patch year ticks - Little Ringed Plover & Lesser Redpoll.
Total: 114

Not the best weather today but there were still signs of spring

Getting anywhere near the male Hen Harrier is proving difficult.

Tetney 25/03/17

A sunny, calm day. An F2 NE becoming N kept a cool edge to the day and there were no signs of visible migration. Temp approx 9°C.

The humber was more productive today: 13 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Velvet Scoter and 2 Common Scoter. A pair of Shoveler flew NW then E towards Yorkshire.

Bird of prey highlights: Hen Harrier, 5 Common Buzzard, Peregrine and Short-eared Owl.

Other highlights: 30 Golden Plover and a flock of 20 Linnet. The pair of Tufted Duck were back at the lock gates.

Other wildlife: 5 Small Tortoiseshells (including 4 together).

No patch year ticks today.

Tetney 24/03/17

Out with DW.
A sunny day with a cold F5 NE that eased slightly to F4 in the afternoon. Temp 7°C.
The cold NE wind meant nothing was moving through the skies.

The humber was so quiet we didn't even manage a single bird of note either on it or over it.

Bird of prey highlights: 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Merlin, Short-eared Owl and 2 Barn Owl.

In the bushes were just a single Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.

Other highlights: 30 Golden Plover, 6 Grey Partridge, the commuting 2CY Glaucous Gull that flew past on the way to Tetney Haven, at least one Rock Pipit hanging on and 45 Linnet.

Other wildlife: 2 Grey Seal and 4 Brown Hares. Corpses of Badger and Weasel were found.

No patch year ticks today.

 We came across a Victorian bottle dump today though most bottles seen were broken. Looking on the internet the majority aren't worth a great amount though some rare bottles can be worth at least a few hundred pounds if found intact. It was quite fascinating to see bottles on the patch that date back to the 1800's.

Tetney 19/03/17

A visit to the northern boundary this afternoon.
Tricky conditions with SW winds reaching 20mph. Largely cloudy though occasional sunny spells. Temperature 13°C.

A female Wheatear was my first of the spring.

Other highlights: 3 Shoveler, 4 Wigeon, Peregrine, Common Buzzard, Common Snipe, Treecreeper, 4 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest.

One patch year tick - Wheatear.
Total: 112

There's always a feel-good factor to seeing your first Wheatear of the year

Tetney 15/03/17

A sunny and warm spring day. An F3 SW dropping to F2 mid-pm. Temperature reaching 14°C.
Covered the area with DW.

On the humber: 5 Red-throated Diver, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Velvet Scoter, 2 Scaup, 252 Wigeon and a single Guillemot close in.

A good day for birds of prey: A Red Kite was over the marsh before gaining height and then lost to view. 2 Marsh Harriers flew through - both heading NW - that makes it 4 migrating Marsh Harriers through in 3 of the last 4 visits.
Also today: Hen Harrier, 8 Common Buzzard, 2 Peregrine, 2 Merlin, 2 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and 2 Short-eared Owl.

The bushes held a Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrests

Other highlights: 3 Grey Partridge, Stonechat,  6 Fieldfare, Redwing and a Twite, while heading NW were 3 alba wagtail and 5 Siskin.

Other wildlife: 4 Roe Deer. A Small Tortoiseshell was my first butterfly of the year.

3 patch year ticks today - Scaup, Red Kite and Guillemot.
Total: 111

One of the two Marsh Harriers that passed through over Tetney today. My Tetney circuit involves a walk of over 10 miles - too much of a distance for carrying my heavy dslr which sits at home gathering dust. I try and make do with a bridge camera but it's not ideal and particularly struggles with flight shots (see above!). Currently in the process of trying to resolve this camera dilemma. 

Tetney 11/03/17

Thick cloud all day, murky and a F3 SW wind.

A 2CY Glaucous Gull flew in from the south and landed on Tetney Haven - comparing recent sightings with those at nearby Donna Nook it seems that this bird is commuting between the two sites.

An obvious arrival of Chiffchaffs noted along the east coast today and I managed 2 Chiffchaffs (my first of the spring) amongst the sparse bushes in the southern half of the reserve. DW managed 6 birds at the northern boundary today.

On the humber: 24 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Velvet Scoter and 2 Common Scoter.

Bird of prey highlights: Hen Harrier, Peregrine, 2 Merlin, 3 Short-eared Owl and a Barn Owl.

Other notable sightings: Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Siskin and 2 Twite.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls were becoming more conspicuous whilst a few Meadow Pipits, alba wagtails and the above Siskin were on the move through the skies.

3 patch year ticks today - Tufted Duck, Chiffchaff and Siskin.
Total so far: 108

The confiding male Stonechat is hanging on but will soon be departing to the breeding grounds 

"Mermaid's Purse"

Yes, it's really taken this long to see Tufted Ducks at Tetney this year - largely due to Tetney Lock being the only reasonable area of freshwater habitat

Tetney 08/03/17

Light cloud until mid-afternoon and then sunshine. A cold F3 NW becoming F4.
Out covering the area with DW.

The humber held a single Great Crested Grebe, 10 Velvet Scoter and 2 Common Scoter.

Notable birds of prey: Marsh Harrier NW up the humber - this bird was bearing a green wingtag and is likely to have been tagged by the NW Norfolk Ringing Group. Also: 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Peregrine, 2 Merlin, Short-eared Owl and 3 Barn Owl.

Other highlights from today: 2 Pale-bellied Brent with 280 Dark-bellied, a redhead Goosander over Tetney Lock, 3 Avocet (first of the spring), 5 Grey Partridge, Grey Wagtail and a Stonechat.

Meadow Pipits continue to become more conspicuous in the area with a number giving their parachute display flights - we are in that transition period when Meadow take over from the wintering Rock Pipits.
A large scale clearout of wintering Blackbirds was clearly evident when checking the coastal bushes. 
Single Pied Wagtails NW along the tide edge and over the beach were examples of visible migration - hardy birds moving against a cold NW F4 headwind.

A young Common Seal was on the tide edge.

2 patch year ticks today - Avocet and Grey Wagtail. Total: 105

Tetney 01/03/17

Weatherwise:  F3 SW, sunny spells with occasional spots of rain. Temperature reaching around 7°C.
Covered the area with DW.

Bird of the day was the 2CY Glaucous Gull that was initially on the beach before flying south.

On the humber: 3 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Velvet Scoter, 2 Common Scoter and c500 Wigeon that had been flushed off the haven by someone carrying out survey work. A few Lesser Black-backed Gulls were heading upriver.

Notable birds of prey: A Marsh Harrier flew NW up the humber, 2 Hen Harrier, 6 Common Buzzard, 3 Peregrine, 2 Merlin, 3 Short-eared Owl and a Barn Owl.

Other highlights: A skein of 120 Pink-footed Geese flew NW up the humber, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 3 Grey Partridge, 3 wintering Stonechats still present, 9 Twite and 11 Linnet.

No patch year ticks today.

A Barn Owl was seen first thing along the A1031 as we drove to Tetney with 3 Roe Deer seen along there on the way home.

Tetney 24/02/17

Out with DW. A cold F3 NW wind with a mixture of light cloud and sunny intervals. Max temperature 6°C.

After yesterday's "Storm Doris" there were high hopes for some good birds on the humber but yet again it remained quiet with just a Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, a Gannet upriver, 5 Velvet Scoter, 3 Common Scoter and a pair of Mallard.

Bird of prey counts were: 2 Hen Harrier (including a fine adult male), 6 Common Buzzard, 3 Peregrine, Merlin and a minimum of 5 Short-eared Owls.

Other highlights: Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Water Rail, 3 Grey Partridge and 3 Stonechat (the wintering male and female back together again and a male along Tetney Lock). A flock of 25 finches flew through and didn't call but jizz suggested Twite.

One patch year tick today - Greylag Goose (a tick is a tick!). Total: 103

Unfortunately deceased but actually the first Puffin I've seen in Lincs - highlighting what a difficult species it is to see in the county. The state of this bird suggests it died before yesterday's storm. The Donna Nook to Tetney stretch of coast has seen a Shag, 2 Guillemot and a Razorbill all washed up in the week before Storm Doris even hit the UK.

Grimsby Waxwings 18/02/17

Received a message that a flock of c40 Waxwings were close to Grimsby College so made the short trip to see them. This is the largest flock reported locally this winter and I managed to count 36 Waxwings. The berry bush they wanted to visit was defended by 2 Mistle Thrushes who constantly saw off any Waxwing that attempted to land on it.

Tetney 17/02/17

Out with DW. A largely sunny day with a variable F2 wind and the temperature reaching double figures.

The humber was like a millpond but quiet yet again with just a Great Crested Grebe, 4 Common Scoter, a Pochard and 3 Teal seen. There was some gull movement along the tide edge though and this included a fine adult Med Gull flying north.

Birds of prey today were: 2 Hen Harrier, 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Peregrine, 3 Merlin, 4 Short-eared Owl and 2 Barn Owl.

Other highlights: Pale-bellied Brent Goose with c850 Dark-bellied, Black-tailed Godwit, Water Rail, 6 Grey Partridge, the wintering male Stonechat, 31 Twite and a Lapland Bunting.

There were two Guillemot corpses along the strandline and the remains of what on size was presumably a Little Auk.

There was also an obvious wreck of Common Cuttlefish shells, along with a few Sea Urchins and a Common Sunstar.

Two patch year ticks today - Pochard and Med Gull. Total: 102

1 of 2 Guillemots washed up

Common Sunstar

Common Cuttlefish shell

Submerged car was new for my Tetney list

Tetney 15/02/17 - 100 up

An afternoon and rare visit to the northern boundary as it's the only part with a significant area of trees and thus my best bet for ticking some woodland species for 2017.

Weather was pleasant with sunshine and an F2 southerly. Temperature around 9-10°C and I could actually feel the warmth of the sun in sheltered areas.

Four patch year ticks today which included three i'd targeted - Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Coal Tit. The bonus tick was a Black-tailed Godwit on the Yacht Club Pools.

Other notable species were a pair of Shoveler and at least one Gadwall on the pools in amongst the wintering Wigeon. A pair of Common Buzzards soaring and 2 Twite over.

To highlight the lack of freshwater pools I find I still need Pochard and Tufted Duck for 2017. Also how I've not had Grey Wagtail yet is baffling - especially as I was encountering them regularly in December! 

No.100 - Black-tailed Godwit. "Blackwits" are solely a passage migrant through the Tetney area.

Tetney 08/02/17

Covered the area with DW. Dull all day with occasional sleet showers. Temperature not rising above 4°C - a raw F3 easterly made it feel much colder.

Star bird of the day had to be the Great Skua that flew south close in - a good winter record.

We had hoped the easterlies would've pushed some birds up the humber but apart from the skua it was the usual species with 2 Red-throated Diver, 43 Great Crested Grebe and the Common Scoter flock now down to just 3 birds.

Bird of prey highlights: Hen Harrier, 2 Peregrine, Merlin, Short-eared Owl and 2 Barn Owl

Also logged today: Pale-bellied Brent Goose with 350 Dark-bellied, 2 Shoveler, 3,500 Golden Plover, 11 Grey Partridge, the wintering male Stonechat and 10 Twite.

2 pairs of Oystercatchers noted back on territories.

Not surprisingly Great Skua was a patch year tick - total now 96.

Tetney 04/02/17

F3 SW and sunny all day. Temperature around 6°C.

On the humber there was an excellent count of 47 Great Crested Grebes - smashing my previous highest of 22. A pair of grebes were observed displaying.
Also on the humber were the usual 15 Common Scoter and also 3 Red-throated Diver and 3 Teal.

Notable raptors: a Marsh Harrier went south, 2 Hen Harrier, 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Peregrine and a Merlin. An immature Peregrine was seen to briefly catch a Wigeon but subsequently dropped it.

Other highlights: Pale-bellied Brent Goose, 9 Grey Partridge, female Stonechat, 30 Linnet and 6 Twite.

Skylark, Dunnock, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and Chaffinch all in song. A few Meadow Pipits are starting to appear back in the area (littoralis Rock Pipits dominate here during winter).

A young Grey Seal was up the beach along the dune edge.

No Tetney year ticks today.

Sanderlings are certainly opportunistic feeders - this individual was feeding on a seal carcass and with patience I won its trust (though always keeping one eye on me it seems)

Tetney 30/01/17

A cloudy day with a F2 NE.

On the humber were 13 Great Crested Grebe and the 15 Common Scoter still. A flock of 13 distant seaduck looked good for Velvets and a redhead Goosander flew past.

Birds of prey today were Hen Harrier, 3 Common Buzzard, 2 Peregrine and a Merlin.

Other highlights: 2 Water Rail, the wintering male Stonechat, 60 Linnet, 6 Twite and a Lapland Bunting.

Also seen were 2 Harbour Porpoise and 3 Roe Deer.

No sign of the Glaucous Gull today.

Three more species added to the 2017 patch list -  Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Long-tailed Tit. Total now 95.

A new arrival on the patch. Duly added to my plastic list (as a presumed Greylag x Mallard hybrid)

Tetney 27/01/17

Back doing the Tetney circuit with DW today.

A raw F3 S-SE wind with the temperature not rising above 3°C. Also a largely cloudy day with murk throughout limiting the distance we could view over.

The best bird was again the 2CY Glaucous Gull which has now been visiting the Conger Eel carcass for at least 7 days (observed by others 22/1 and 24/1). Not surprisingly, there's not much left of the carcass so this white-winger is likely to be moving on very shortly.

The humber was quiet with only 2 species seen - Common Scoter and Great Crested Grebe, with counts of 15 and 22 respectively, the latter actually our highest count for here.

Notable birds of prey were 2 Hen Harrier, 2 Peregrine and 2 Merlin.

Other highlights: Jack Snipe, 9 Grey Partridge, the regular male Stonechat, 6 Mistle Thrush together, 4 Twite and 60 Linnet. 

The 2017 patch list is now up to 92 with latest additions being Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Meadow Pipit and Bullfinch.

Cleethorpes Slavonian Grebe 25/01/17

With Cleethorpes Country Park less than 3 miles from the doorstep it would've been rude of me not to pay the recently found Slavonian Grebe a visit. Also noted were a Kingfisher and 2 Water Rails (one seen, one heard).

The Slavonian was first seen 22nd Jan. Two Slavonians turned up here on the 28th Jan last year - maybe this latest visitor is a returning bird. 

If at first you don't succeed, try again

I just had to go back the following day and have another go at seeing the White-billed Diver. There have been only 2 previous records in Lincs - an adult found dead at Friskney Marsh in 1976 and the adult bird on the River Witham at Tattershall Bridge in 1996 - the later taken into care having swallowed an angler's bait and subsequently died. The latter bird was taken into care on the day I was going to see it. I had also dipped on one in NW Scotland in 2000 so you can see I was keen to finally see one!
I parked at Southrey as the diver had cleared moved north along the river the previous day - of course it turned out this morning it had moved back south again so a long walk south from Southrey it was then. The trek proved to be well worth it as eventually I had amazing views of the juvenile White-billed Diver. It didn't seem that bothered by all those there on the riverbank watching or photographing it, actually coming up close to us from dives at times. What a way to see my first ever White-billed - a memorable experience. Here's hoping this bird doesn't suffer the same fate as that 1996 bird.
I really liked the habitat along the River Witham - an area I hadn't visited until yesterday. I decided to take advantage of the fine weather (very cold but sunny with light winds all day) and stayed for a few hours birding along the river.
I noted 15 Goosander (13 drakes) and a ringtail Hen Harrier between Kirkstead Bridge and Southrey.

White-billed Diver (juvenile)

Whisby and the Witham 21/01/17

At Whisby with JF, TH and IS today for a joint LBC/LNU talk though we would not get to attend the talk. We had a good look around the Whisby reserve with a Green Woodpecker, c25 Siskin and a single flyover Redpoll being the only highlights.
Around midday news came through of a White-billed Diver nearby on the River Witham, close to Kirkstead Bridge. Three of us had never seen White-billed Diver before (me included), in fact the last record for Lincs was amazingly on the same inland river some 21 years ago!
We drove straight to Kirkstead bridge and walked a good way north of where the diver had been reported but there was no sign. We eventually left the area frustrated - no diver and too late to get back to Whisby for the talk.
We decided to try and salvage something from the day by heading to Kirkby Pits for the trio of good birds there and thankfully all were still present - the drake Ring-necked Duck on Riverslea Pit (though it spent most of the time asleep!), the Great White Egret seen and the 2CY Glaucous Gull that's been in the tip area for sometime. A Scaup was also seen on Riverslea Pit.
Got home to find the White-billed Diver had been found close to dusk just a little further north than we had walked - grrrgh!!

 Iron sheep showed well at the River Witham but frustratingly a White-billed Diver didn't

Tetney 20/01/17 - persistence pays off

Out with DW today.
Very light winds and a blue sky all day though a low layer of mist engulfed the area in the morning for approx an hour.

If you keep birding a patch long enough then eventually something good should come along and today that happened with a fine 2CY Glaucous Gull feeding on a carcass on the beach. We were obviously both happy with the Glauc but there was another impressive sight to be had - when the Glauc flew off we went over to inspect what the carcass was and found it to be a Conger Eel! Neither of us had ever seen a Conger Eel before - what a beast! Looking on the internet it seems though Conger Eels do occur in the North Sea, though they are far from common.

As always with the Tetney area, a good selection of birds today:

30 Pink-footed Geese flew upriver while on the humber were - 3 Red-throated Diver, 9 Great Crested Grebe, 15 Common Scoter, a drake Goldeneye and 4 Teal.

Birds of prey seen - 3 Hen Harrier (all ringtails), Peregrine and Merlin. We actually failed to see any owls today.

Other highlights were - Water Rail, Kingfisher, the regular male Stonechat, 35 Twite, Lapland Bunting and pleased to see the Snow Bunting still present.

2 Harbour Porpoise were also seen.

Patch year list now at 88.

 2CY Glaucous Gull

Conger Eel - approx 6ft long

Cleethorpes Bittern 19/01/17

Received a call from DW this morning to say a Bittern was showing well on the edge of the island at Cleethorpes Country Park. I drove straight there and luckily the bird was still posing nicely. This is likely to be the same bird that's been seen here in previous winters - good to see it's made it back again.
Water Rail and Kingfisher heard whilst photographing the Bittern.

The Tetney challenge

I've decided to commit to doing a year list for the Tetney/North Cotes Point area. The thought of birding the area through the seasons, an area that hardly anyone watches, is something I'm finding quite appealing.
 I like the challenge of something new and with the Tetney area the majority I see will be birds I've had to find myself - that should test my birding skills.
The area lacks wader scrapes and the bush habitat is somewhat limited but I still think it has got great potential so let's see if it can deliver - watching it since November has already produced Pallid Harrier, White-fronted Geese, Slavonian Grebe, Shag, Grey Phalarope, Velvet Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Scaup, Waxwing and Shorelarks, so there is hope.
Anyway, I've just totalled it up and I'm only currently on 83 species for the year so much to be found!

Tetney 17/01/17

Light cloud for most of the day. F3 southerlies but at 4°C it was still chilly.

A good push of Pink-footed Geese upriver in the first half of the morning  - 6 skeins totalling 760 birds.

I'd hoped the recent strong NW's might've shaken things up on the humber but it was the usual fare - Red-throated Diver, 14 Common Scoter, 4 Goldeneye, 18 Gadwall, 65 Wigeon and 5 Teal.

Birds of prey seen were 2 Hen Harrier, 2 Peregrine. 2 Merlin and 2 Barn Owl.

Other highlights - Water Rail, 12 Grey Partridge, Stonechat & 25 Twite.

The confiding male Stonechat still going strong

The local farmer did his usual letting off of a rocket to scare the Brents off his fields but they flew straight into the adjacent field in front of me - needless to say, the farmer drove around to near where I was standing and this time fired a shotgun to put them up. At least I can take some comfort knowing they'll soon be back once he's gone.