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April 2006

1st - Their were further Bumble Bee sightings today, and the daffodils are now at their best. The Crab Apple and garden Hawthorn are also now leafing. Some thundery hail showers in the afternoon, the first thunder recorded since the 31st of August.

2nd, North Cave Wetlands - Went to our favourite local reserve, where the signs of spring are now really beginning to come along. This included new arrivals such as a few Avocets, Sand Martins, Ringed Plovers, and even a Little Ringed Plover, and earlier in the week a Swallow had been reported over the reserve. Wildfowl numbers now reduced, though still a good variety, including a couple of Pink footed Geese, and also a few Ruddy ducks. The Great Crested Grebes were seen displaying, and Skylarks were in good song over both the reserve and the local fields. Also seen in the area was a Brown Hare. A good morning with up to forty three species recorded.

3rd - Siskin’s still visiting the Niger feeders.

5th - A Jay was spotted in the garden this morning. It didn’t stay long, but it did allow some good views for about five minutes in the Hawthorn. It must have been a migrant as there are no Jays locally, or at least very few anyway. Only the second time I have seen in the Beverley area. The Horse Chestnuts around the local area are now beginning to leaf, and the local Hawthorn hedges are now widely in green. In my garden the Primulas on Sticks are now in flower, though the Snowdrops and Crocus’ are now just about finished.

6th - Gull numbers have now reduced in the area. (Avian Flu case reported in Fife today.)

7th - The Siskin’s seem to have now moved on.

8th - Gave the lawn its first mow of the year. Thundery hail showers in the afternoon, some of the stones larger than a centimetre.

9th, Bempton Cliffs - Visited our nearest seabird colony this morning though the weather was very poor with a strong gusty wind, and it felt very cold. Most of the usual nesting seabirds were seen, this including Kittiwakes, Gannets, Guillemots, & Puffins, though no Razorbills were seen. Indeed numbers were not that high of any of the species, and it is still a little early in the year. However in a few weeks time numbers should start to pick up, and I’m sure we’ll be back very soon to check on the progress.

10th - Greenfinches were seen with nesting material today, and a few were seen fighting in mid air. Next door the Copper Beech is now in full blossom, and the Blackthorn in the local hedgerows is likewise. In local gardens Forsythia is also coming out widely.

11th - Had some great views of a Barn Owl along Long Lane this morning.

12th - There are quite a good number of Violets out in the garden this year, particularly in the bed by the greenhouse.

13th - Quite blustery today, the wind gusting up to 44 mph.

15th, Bempton Cliffs - Visited Bempton again this morning where there was much to see this week and the weather was a little better, though it was still cloudy and a little damp. As we arrived early (7.30 am) we had the cliffs pretty much to ourselves, and from there we could seen that the Razorbills have now arrived, and there were Guillemots, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Puffins, & Fulmars out on the cliffs. However the main highlight of the morning came on top of the cliffs, with a Wheatear spotted out in the fields, a new species for my list. Also seen in the fields were Meadow Pipits, and there were also quite a few Linnets seen. Also notable was the sighting of a Swallow over Bempton village, the first I’ve seen this year. A great mornings birding.

16th - Heard my first Chiffchaff of the year this morning.

North Cave Wetlands - Another interesting visit to our local reserve, where there was plenty to see. The two Pink footed Geese were seen again, mixing in amongst the Greylag geese, and a Ruddy duck was again seen. Still some Pochards about but numbers are certainly beginning to reduce. However waders were the main theme of this visit, with a few Dunlin seen, along with seventeen Avocets, Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, and four Little Ringed Plovers. Sand Martins also seen. A good mornings birding with forty four species in total.

17th - A Chiffchaff was again heard today.

Millingtondale - Violets are now flowering at the top of Millingtondale, and in some of the valleys the Cowslips are now looking good. The gorse is now about 70% out in the area as well.

18th - About half a dozen Reed Buntings were seen and heard along Weel Road this morning, and out over Swinemoor the Lapwings were seen displaying. A lone Shelduck was also seen heading northwards. In the garden I heard a Chiffchaff again.

19th - Three Barn Owls were seen this morning near Hull Bridge, one of which I was able to get within ten metres of.

20th - A foggy start to the day, and remaining grey all day. However that didn’t stop me noticing that the Grape Hyacinth’s are now in full flower, and that the Tulips are now not far from being out. The earlier spring flowers are now going over though, with the Copper Beech in its final stages, and the Narcissus’ are beyond their best.

21st - Went down to Beverley Parks Plantation this morning, which is a very pleasant and quiet piece of mixed woodland, including birch, willow, hazel, and spruces. Blackthorn blossom also widely out in the area, and at the south edge of the wood there was a nice clump of Primroses. Coming back along Long Lane I saw a very fine Linnet, and back at home a Chiffchaff was singing up in the local trees.

22nd, Harewood House & Grounds - Went to Harewood House this morning which is really nice, the house grand but not extravagant, and the grounds were particularly pleasant, with a large lake, and abundant woodland. There was an especially nice Himalayan garden. The grounds are also home to a birdlife collection, with some interesting wildfowl from around the world, plus some Parrots and alike. The lake itself was home to a fair amount of native waterbirds, with Tufted ducks, & Herons, and flying overhead were the famous Red Kites, as it was from here that our own Red Kites in the Wolds came from a reintroduction scheme. A fine day.

23rd - Gave the lawn its second mow.

Bratt wood - A lovely spring walk on a cloudy though warm day. In the woods the Primroses, Violets, & Wood Anemones were in full flower, and though the Wild Garlic is not yet in flower it is giving off plenty of odour. At the bottom of the wood the Bluebells are just beginning to appear here and there. Hedges are now widely greening throughout the Wolds, as are a few trees, particularly the Horse Chestnuts, Sycamores, & Larches. In the woods Chiffchaff’s were heard in full song, and in the local hedges Yellowhammers were singing widely, and a few Linnet’s were also seen. A fine morning.

24th - The fine and sunny weather drew out the first Blue Butterfly of the year, and Mining Bee’s were seen burrowing around the shed in the garden. The local Chiffchaff was also seen at close quarters in the Crab Apple.

25th - Three drake Mallards were on the lawn this morning at 5.45 am. The weather was inclement, with low cloud and rain, and I can only think that this was the reason that the birds ended up in the garden. They were soon scared off by my movements, but to my surprise a female Mallard arrived at 7.30 am, certainly very strange. Later in the day I saw my first Swallow of the year over Beverley.

28th - A fine Linnet seen on the racecourse this morning, and I also went up to explore Burton Bushes, arriving early to avoid the dog walkers and alike. There the Bluebells are coming into flower, whereas the Wood Anemones are now fully out. The wood was filled with beautiful bird song, and a Woodpecker was also heard drumming. It is a fantastic bit of woodland, and indeed apparently quite ancient, a remaining piece of the far larger one which once covered the whole of the Westwood in times gone by.

30th, Far Ings - Visited this reserve on the south bank of the Humber for the first time which to be honest was on the quiet side with a modest thirty four species seen in total. Passerines were the main highlight, including Chiffchaffs, Willow warblers, & Reed warblers. No doubt this reserve will benefit from an earlier visit next time.