July 2006

1st - A very hot start to the month with a high of 27 C.

Bempton Cliffs - Set off early again to these wonderful sea cliffs, arriving at around 7 am. It was again hot and sunny, the temperature would reach 27 C in Beverley, and we had to be careful not to get burnt again. Young birds widely in evidence, though all at different stages of development. The Gannet chicks are now as big as their parents, or at least they look like they are in their fluffy feathers. However though most Kittiwakes now have young, there are still a few which are on eggs. Razorbills & Guillemots also seen with good numbers of young. A couple of Shags also seen, along with several Fulmars & Puffins. A pleasant mornings birding by the sea on a hot and sunny mid summer day.



2nd - A male Bullfinch was seen in the Buddleia today, on what was another hot and sunny day.

3rd - Down by the river Hull I had a fantastic view of a Kingfisher this morning, and infact earlier I had also spotted one in the Beverley-Barmston Drain. It was very pleasant indeed sitting by the river this morning, as the sunny and hot weather continues, and other observations from the area included a couple of Willow warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, the first I’ve seen in Beverley Borough, many Reed & Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, a pair of Snipe, a very bright and vivid Linnet, and a hunting Barn Owl. A scruffy looking Black headed Gull was also seen flying northwards up the river, the first gull seen since Spring.

4th - A few Whitethroats were seen on Keldmarsh this morning. In the drain I briefly saw what looked like a Water Vole. Hot and sunny again today.

5th - A Grey Heron was seen along the river this morning, and I also observed my first juvenile Sedge Warblers of the year. Indeed they were very confident and approached within yards of me.

6th - A very hot and humid day with a high of 27 C. A moderate thundery shower in the afternoon.


9th, Huggatewold Wood & Millingtondale - A wet morning in the Wolds at first but becoming drier later. Many Meadow Pipits displaying in the valley grasslands, and I saw my first Marbled White butterflies of the year, along with other butterflies such as Gatekeepers, Skippers, & Meadow Browns, the last of these particularly numerous along the bottom of Millingtondale. Two Toads were also seen in the same area. However the most exciting observation was an almost certain Redstart seen near the head of the dale, but as I had no optics I was not able to confirm this brief sighting. However I’m fairly certain it was a Redstart and represents a new species for my Wold list. An interesting morning.


10th - Froglings were seen crossing the road at Hull Bridge this morning. There were also lots of flies around the river too, and it was quite unpleasant cycling through them all.

12th - The beginnings of flocking was in evidence this morning, with over sixty House Sparrows seen along Shepherds Lane, while up on the Westwood a mixed flock of about a hundred finches was seen. Amongst them were a few juvenile Goldfinches. In the Parks the Oilseed Rape has now been cut, and the Pea’s have been harvested, whereas in the garden during the afternoon the Chiffchaff was seen taking a bath, and there is now a family of Great tits visiting the feeding station. Hot and sunny today, the temperature exceeding 25 C for the sixth time this month and the average daytime temperature for the month thus far is 24.5 C. The average sunshine duration this month is also in excess of 8 hours.

13th - The first field of Barley cut in the Parks, and in the hedgerows and on the scrublands the Rosebay Willowherb is now in flower. In the recently harvested pea field I spotted a Grey Partridge this morning too, a new personal species for me.

14th - Over ten Reed Buntings seen in the Weel area this morning, and a juvenile Reed Warbler was also seen along the river. 17 Black headed Gulls passed by too, and a Grey Heron was seen on the riverbank. In the garden a Chiffchaff was observed in the bird bath again today.


15th - Not a cloud to be seen today and this summer is truly proving to be a classic with an average daytime temperature of 22.6 C and just 13.5 mm’s of rain from the beginning of June, and during this month the sunshine duration is averaging in excess of nine hours.

16th, North Cave Wetlands - Quite a few changes in the past month at our favourite local reserve, with the Avocets & Plovers (except Lapwings, which are incidentally abundant) having now left, with variable breeding success. Apparently the Black headed Gulls ruined the Ringed & Little Ringed Plovers breeding attempts, and though the early Avocets were able to raise chicks, the later ones again suffered from the attentions of the Gulls, as well as the local foxes. Other birds which have now reduced recently include Sand Martins. However Little Grebes are doing well with about fourteen observed, and the Great Crested Grebe young are now quite large. A Ruddy duck was also seen today, as was a passing Common Sandpiper. The Common Terns are still here too, with eight seen, that including young, and young Sedge warblers were also seen in the reeds. A good morning with 42 species observed in total.

17th - A juvenile Marsh Harrier was seen over the Parks this morning, hunting in the fields around Black House Stables. It eventually headed back towards the River Hull after finding nothing of interest. A new species for the Borough. Also seen this morning were five Lapwings, some very bright Linnets, and juvenile Goldfinches. Today was also incredibly hot, reaching 30 C for the first time on my records.


18th - Sunny and hot again, up to 28 C.

19th - A Grey Heron was seen over Swinemoor this morning, along with a juvenile Barn Owl, and two dozen or so House Martins. Sunny and hot again, and indeed inland it was the hottest ever July day in some parts of the UK. Here we have also entered into a Partial Drought, as the last 29 days have brought just 3.7 mm’s of rain at an average of just 0.13 mm’s a day. Indeed the lawn is looking at its driest since 1995.

20th - Low cloud this morning but clearing in the afternoon and becoming hot and sunny again.

Bempton Cliffs, Filey Dams, & Watton area - Visited Bempton Cliffs again to see how all the birds were doing. Unfortunately there was a harr and visibility was no more than a hundred metres, but nevertheless we still had some decent observations, including some Kittiwake fledglings, whereas the Guillemots seem to have now gone. All the other birds still there, though just the one Puffin was seen. Along the footpath a Sedge warbler was seen.

After finishing here we decided to go up and visit the Filey Dams reserve for the first time, which wasn’t easy to find as it’s located on the edge of a large housing estate. It’s a nice little reserve, though a bit on the quiet side, though admittedly that could be just the time of year. There were some good observations though, including four Ruddy ducks, and good numbers of hirundines & Swifts.

On the way back we called at Wilfholme Landing and made our way to the Watton Nature Reserve, located on the edge of Tophill Low. It’s a lovely little area, quiet and peaceful with the broad slow flowing river Hull the focal point of the area. Reminds me a bit of Welches Dam abit, one of my favourite places. We only stopped briefly, in part due to approaching heavy rain, but birds seen were Grey Heron, Hirundines, Willow warblers, & Linnets. An enjoyable and variable day.

21st - After morning cloud it became sunny and very hot in the afternoon, with a high of 28 C.

22nd - A moderate thundery shower in the morning, with a more noteworthy thunderstorm in late afternoon, the rain peaking at 52 mm/h. Still reaching 26 C again despite the unsettled weather.


23rd, Nettledale - Walked at Nettledale this morning, one of my favourite dales which despite it’s compact size always provides plenty of interest. Today there were lots of butterflies about, as this Dale is particularly good for them, and amongst the observations there were Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Blues, Marbled Whites, Small Tortoiseshells, Whites, Red Admirals, & Skippers. They were all remarkably approachable this morning too, this probably due to the cloudy conditions. Birds seen or heard included Willow warblers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats, Meadow Pipits, & Yellowhammers. A fine summers morning out in the Wolds.


24th - Wall to wall sunshine today with a high of 27 C.

25th - A pair of Common Terns seen along the river Hull. Very hot yet again, being the 10th day in succession to have exceeded 25 C.

26th - Very hot, just half a degree shy of 30 C, and very muggy too. Thunderstorms developing by the end of the afternoon, some accompanied by hail. Further storms overnight, most brushing by, but nevertheless some impressive and frequent lightning. 21 mm’s of rain recorded through the day.

27th - The stalks of the Elderberries are now turning red, and Blackberries are also ripening. I have noticed that our local Chiffchaff has stopped singing in the past week. Despite the storms yesterday it remains very hot (28 C), and there was a further thundery shower this evening.

28th - A couple of Chiffchaffs seen on the Tickton Carrs plantation, and over a hundred Swallows were observed this morning. Sunny and hot again (27 C).

29th - After a foggy start it became hot and sunny again. Indeed this made it a good afternoon for butterflies, with the following species seen in the garden, Peacock, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, & Blue. Particularly good numbers of Peacocks & Red Admirals, but the Painted Lady’s are also quite plentiful this year.

30th - The fortnight run of days above 25 C ended today, with a high of just 24 C.


Blacktoft Sands - A good mornings birding, with the undoubted highlight being two Spoonbills, which were almost right in front of us for about five minutes. They are particularly attractive and impressive birds and it’s a great new addition to my personal list. Infact there was a good number of interesting species this morning, with eleven Little Egrets, a Ruddy duck, an Avocet, five Ruff, up to seven Spotted Redshanks, two Greenshanks, and three Green Sandpipers. This reserve is always good for waders and so it proved today. 30 species seen.

31st - About twenty five Lapwings were seen in the harvested Pea field this morning, where they were also joined by Black headed Gulls & Common Gulls. In the garden a Goldcrest was briefly seen, the first one seen this summer. A thundery shower in the afternoon.