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November 2006

1st - Heard a few Fieldfares in the area this morning. Much cooler today, the temperature remaining below 10 C for the first time this winter, and for the first time in nearly seven months. A grass frost overnight, the first of the winter.

2nd - Large Fieldfare passage around dawn, with groups of about twenty or so passing over the area and heading inland. Other thrushes amongst them too. In the garden a female Blackcap was seen in the Elder.

3rd - A male and female Blackcap seen feeding in the Yews today, on what was a gorgeous November day. A chilly night though, down to 1 C.

North Cave Wetlands - Went birding this evening on a fine and pleasant autumns day. The sunset was particularly fine and gave the whole trip a fantastic atmosphere and golden glow. Bird wise the highlight of the trip was a Whooper Swan, which dropped in shortly after we arrived. It swam about for a short while in the Village Lake but then flew off south towards the Humber, but it was nevertheless great to see one of these impressive birds for the first time this winter. There was also plenty else of interest, including twelve Wigeon, with three of them baring a golden crown, abundant Teal, 22 Shoveler, 20 Pochard, 250 Golden Plover, 20 Snipe, a Curlew, Redshanks, and five Fieldfares. The Golden Plovers were particularly good to watch, because as dusk fell the Plovers flew over the area in swirling flocks, and in the golden glow and the falling temperatures it was quite magical. Great stuff and reminds one why I love to be out in the fields of this jolly fine Isle of ours.

4th - A Treecreeper seen on the Swedish Whitebeam today, and a female Blackcap was again seen. The Great Spotted Woodpecker was also spotted on the peanut feeder.

Flamborough Head - Went to Flamborough Head this morning to see if we could catch up with some autumn migrants at this famous headland. The clear skies and westerly winds didn’t make for great conditions and we didn’t see anything particularly exciting either, though at Thornwick Bay there were a few Stonechats in the rough grassland. Three Rock Pipits also seen along our walk, and out on the coast a few Oystercatchers & Cormorants were observed. A pleasant morning by the sea.

7th - A foggy start to the day.

8th - Got within six feet of both Long tailed tits & Goldcrests today, one of the Goldcrests almost landing on my shoulder. A male Blackcap was also seen this morning.

9th - A late Red Admiral Butterfly was observed in the garden today. Overnight the temperature fell to -0.4 C, the first air frost of the winter.

11th - A windy afternoon, gusting up to 50 mph.

12th, Tophill Low - A great morning, possibly our best ever here at Tophill Low with good numbers of birds to be seen. Saw our first Goldeneyes of this winter, with about ten seen around the reserve, and wildfowl were generally around in good numbers, including numerous Wigeon, 20 Gadwall, many Teal, 5 Shovelers, 10 Pochards, numerous Tufted ducks & Mallards, and twenty Ruddy ducks. Of other interest included a Ruff, 12 Curlews, 15 Redshanks, three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a few Redwings, and a single Bullfinch. The count of twenty Ruddy ducks represents the most I’ve ever seen together in one place. A fine mornings birding, with a total of 46 species seen around this varied reserve.

13th - A male Blackcap was seen today, and another late Red Admiral Butterfly was observed.

14th - A Redwing was seen in the Yews today.

15th - Noticeable leaf fall from the Beech tree today. A hedgehog was also seen this morning on the garden lawn.

16th - Yesterdays breeze brought down quite a few leaves, and you can now see through the Hawthorn tree as a result.

18th, Paull Holme Strays - Visited this new Humber reserve located to the east of the village of Paull. It looks a really good reserve, with waders the main theme, but also some good wildfowl too. It was easier to get to than expected, with a small car park located behind the sea wall, and from the top of the sea wall you can look across the brackish lagoons and inter-tidal mudflats. There was a strong and cold wind this morning but nevertheless it was a very enjoyable trip with highlights including a Little Egret, abundant Shelducks, many Wigeon, some Teal, one Avocet, abundant Golden Plovers, Knots, Dunlins, & Curlews, many Redshanks, and Meadow Pipits. However the sighting of the day was a hunting Merlin, a new species for me. A great morning, and it’s good to add a reserve of this type to our local portfolio.

20th - Leaves continue to come down, with all but the Beech & Sycamores now largely bare. The birds were very active today, and a Song thrush was singing in the garden.

21st - The Song Thrush continues to sing. During the night a flock of geese were heard passing overhead.

23rd - The Lime, Copper Beech, Crab Apple, & Swedish Whitebeam are now completely bare. The Sycamore and Beech have also lost about a half of their leaves too in the past week, as it has been quite breezy lately. Indeed pressure fell to 974 mbar today.

24th - A Hedgehog was seen on the lawn early in the morning.

26th - Cut the lawn for the last time this year.

North Cave Wetlands - An average sort of morning, though I did see my first Green Woodpecker for many years. It was seen along Dryham Lane and was flushed out of the grass verge as we drove down to the hide. There were other highlights too though, including up to fifty Gadwall, many Teal, a single Ruddy duck, a hunting Grey Heron, a Sparrowhawk, three Redshanks, and a couple of Redwings. Things do seem to be slowing down now as we move into December, customarily the quietest month of the year here locally.

27th - A windy morning with gusts of up to 50 mph. Very mild though, up to 14 C.

29th - A very late Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was seen in the garden today.