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December 2007

4th, South Huggatewold - A good walk this morning in this pleasant and quiet area of the Warter Estate. Loads of Pheasants, & Red Legged Partridges about, with also very large numbers of Wood Pigeons. In the scrubland there were also lots of thrushes, including winter thrushes, and a decent variety of finches. Indeed the finches in this area are always plentiful and diverse and there’s no doubt they benefit from the feed that is put out by the gamekeepers.

6th - A flock of Fieldfares flew over the area this morning, chattering as they went.

9th, Kirby Underdale - Walked in this beautiful area of the Wolds on a bright if not necessarily sunny morning. A few Fieldfares seen along the walk, and a Buzzard was seen soaring high above the Wold. A few Hares also seen out in the fields. A pleasant walk.

10th - A couple of Redwings were seen in the garden today. Additionally on most nights at the moment, particularly towards the end of the night, the Tawny Owls have been very vocal.

11th - Stopped by at Swinemoor this morning, where over the area of winter floods at least 300 Golden Plovers were to be seen. Quite a few Lapwings too, and the odd Gull, but no wildfowl were observed. Back home a lone Redwing was seen.

12th - The feeding station was very busy today. Indeed it was cold today with the frost persisting all day in the shade.

13th - A very frosty morning, almost like snow. Persisting all day in the shade.

15th - A Fieldfare was heard in the area.

16th, Rudston - Went cycling with Jenny and Andy in the Rudston area. Very muddy and quite icy in places. Lots of winter thrushes in the fields and woods. After our cycle we went into Bridlington for fish and chips.

18th - A pair of Redwings were seen feeding on the lawn.

21st - A Treecreeper was seen on both the Hawthorn and Crab Apple today.

22nd - The Treecreeper was seen again today, and a Redwing was also observed. There’s also a decent sized flock of mixed finches moving around the area at the moment, and there were quite a few House Sparrows at the feeders today, an uncommon species in this garden.


23rd, Wheldrake Ings - Visited this wonderfully peaceful reserve, but due to fog we weren’t able to see many birds. However the combination of frost and fog made for a wonderful spectacle, added to by the calls of the wildfowl hidden in the fog. When we arrived we did hear some Whooper Swans, but unfortunately we didn’t see them. Despite the fog we were able to make a few observations including a couple of Pintails, probably my favourite duck. Quite a few Snipe also seen, and in the riverside trees and car park woodland we saw Bullfinches, and winter thrushes. The car park incidentally was flooded again, though in general water levels on the Ings were not particularly high. A good mornings outing at one of my favourite reserves.


27th, Deepdale (Calliswold) - Walked with Jenny and Dad in this favourite valley of ours, made all the better since the ‘Open Access’ act which allows us to fully explore this broad hidden valley. Along our walk two Buzzards were seen, and there were good numbers of winter thrushes in the scrubby areas of hawthorn, and in the fields on top of the Wold. A stoat was also seen. A fine walk.

30th, North Cave Wetlands - Visited our favourite local reserve for the first time in a while on a cloudy and grey morning. The Bar headed Goose still amongst the Greylag geese, but the main highlight of this morning was a lone male Pintail, an always welcome observation. A few Shelducks also around today, and all the ducks are now starting to look at their best. Indeed twelve species of wildfowl were seen. Some Stock doves seen in the fields to the west, and a flock of fifty Siskin’s were seen in the western Alders. A good mornings birding.

31st - A large number of Greenfinches were seen in the garden today with about twenty recorded. There were also Chaffinches & Goldfinches mixed in with them.

November 2007

1st - A very bright rainbow was seen this morning, one of the best I’ve ever seen. There was also a very good sunset today, and the day was unseasonably warm.

Bratt Wood - Walked at Bratt wood this morning, which was looking wonderful as it was decked out in autumn colours. The autumn colours have been very good this year infact, with Beech particularly colourful. This is a most splendid time of year. Also seen this morning was a flock of Bramblings, with about two dozen seen, a few Bullfinches, and winter thrushes. A fine autumns walk.

2nd - At least two Redwings seen in the garden in late afternoon, one of which bore a silver ring on its left leg. Very mild still with a high of 17 C today.

4th, Robin Hoods Bay & Ravenscar - Went on a bike ride between Robin Hoods Bay and Ravenscar, following the old course of a railway line. It was a lovely morning and the surroundings too were particularly pleasant too. Along the route we saw a Marsh Tit, and a Stonechat was also seen on the moors edge. After our cycle we went to Whitby for fish and chips.


8th, Watton Lagoons - A quiet morning here at Watton, but still plenty of interest nevertheless in this tranquil little area. Winter thrushes were seen in the hedges, Plovers & Waders in the fields, and wildfowl in the lagoons. A single Barnacle Goose was seen amongst the two hundred plus Greylag geese, possibly the same one that was seen at North Cave on the 26th of September. The Wigeon now have their golden crowns back, and the Pochards were looking particularly striking. Two Kingfishers were seen in the local drains, with one seen within metres of us, perching on a branch. A good morning.

9th - A bright and breezy day, wind chill down to -7 C.

11th - The temperature remained below 10 C for the first time this winter. Cold overnight with a grass frost.

North Cave Wetlands - Visited North Cave this morning where the main highlight was a female Goldeneye, my first of this winter. The Bar headed Goose is still present amongst the Greylag geese, and other highlights included increased numbers of Wigeon & Teal, as well as Golden Plovers & Curlews. Forty two species recorded.

12th - Chilly again with a high of just 7 C.

13th - A lone Redwing seen in the garden at noon.

14th - First air frost of the winter overnight with a low of just under 0 C.

15th - Another air frost overnight, down to -1 C.

15th, Wash & Fenland Trip - Dad and I set off early this morning at 6am for a two night birding trip to the Wash and Fenland areas. We had a trouble free journey and arrived at Titchwell shortly before 10am. We got off to a great start as we saw a Bittern flying low over the reedbed, not just once but indeed twice. Certainly the best sight I’ve had of a Bittern yet. A skein of Brent Geese flew in low over our heads shortly afterwards, their barking calls filling the quiet marsh air, and then they settled down on the lagoons, allowing us to get some good views from the hides. On the reserve there were also good numbers of Pintails, and a pair of Egyptian Geese were present. A good variety of waders were present, with some late Avocets, but other observations included Godwits, Curlews, Ringed Plovers, Grey Plovers, Golden Plovers, Dunlin, Knot, Oystercatchers, Common Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Snipe, Lapwings, Ruffs, Sanderlings, and finally Turnstones, sixteen species in total. Out on the sea Eiders and a Red throated Diver were spotted, as was a lone Goldeneye which flew past. Little Egrets were seen out on the Saltmarshes, and a couple of Whinchats were seen in the scrub on the dunes. On the return to the Visitor Centre we saw a Siskin in the Alders. A great start to the day with sixty two species seen, and we also enjoyed a tasty bacon sandwich.


From Titchwell we went eastwards on to Holkham Gap. Loads of Pink footed Geese feeding on the wet grassland on the landward side of the wood, and there were also large numbers of Wigeon. Lots of Goldcrests in the woods, and a Green Woodpecker and a Jay were also spotted. However the big highlight of the afternoon and evening was the sight of thousands of geese coming into roost, a fantastic spectacle of both sight and sound and something I will never forget. A few Marsh Harriers also passed through on their way to roost, and a gathering of Starlings added to the scene as the golden setting sun went down over the Norfolk fields. As the light failed a Barn Owl came out to hunt, ending a wonderful day. Forty one species seen in the Holkham area, and through the day up to seventy three species were recorded. Spent the night at Long Sutton.


16th - Set off early again this morning, arriving at Snettisham at first light. Very frosty and cold this morning, and the breeze coming in off the Wash was bitingly bitter. Nevertheless it was a beautiful dawn and as we walked out to the hides vast flocks of thousands of Pink footed Geese passed over our heads, heading inland to feed in the fields of Norfolk. A fantastic spectacle, not only for the eyes but also to the ears. On the reserve we saw ten species of wader out on the muds, including quite a few Turnstones, and indeed some of them were actually seen ‘turning stones’. On the lagoons were a few Goldeneye and out on the estuary there were loads of Shelducks. There were also a good number of Little Egrets, though this species is always quite abundant in this part of the world.



After a good start here, where we saw forty four species, we moved south into the Fenlands, and firstly visiting the RSPB reserve of Ouse Washes at Welches Dam. This reserve is one of my favourites as it’s always nice and quiet with good quality hides and fantastic winter spectacles to behold. In the reedbeds a number of Stonechats were seen, and out in the local fields, and on the floods, Whooper Swans were observed. There wonderful and evocative calls are a sound never forgotten. On the floods there were also good numbers of Wigeon & Pintails, and over nine species of wildfowl were spotted. Quite a few Snipe were seen chasing each other about, and a Marsh Harrier was seen quartering over the area frequently. A Grey Wagtail was later seen at the Pumping Station, and in total forty one species were recorded.


From here we travelled north and across to the other side of the floods to the WWT reserve at Welney, where we went to see the Swans being fed. However the Swans were infact outnumbered by Pochards, which seemed to be everywhere. There were good numbers of Whooper Swans though, and amongst them we managed to pick out a lone Bewick Swan, the first I’ve seen for at least five years. However the undoubted highlight of the day, and indeed the trip, was repeated fly bys by a Common Crane, my first ever sighting of one of these magnificent birds. It circled around the reserve a number of times, giving some great views, and even calling from time to time. This was a fantastic way to end our most enjoyable trip, and on our birding tour we saw up to eighty seven species of bird and saw spectacles which will remain with me always. Stayed the night near Ely and returned home the next day.


16th - Third air frost in succession, with a minimum of around -2 C.

17th - Two Redwings seen in the garden today.

18th - A hen Pheasant seen in the garden, arriving around 8am and staying until Billy tried to hunt it around 3pm. The Pheasant took advantage of the seed I put out for the wild birds, and it was nice to see a bird that you usually see out in the fields in our sub-urban garden. Also seen today was a pair of Treecreepers, the first time I’ve seen two together in the garden, and there was also a Redwing.

Millingtondale - Walked around the top of Millingtondale this morning, with spells of moderate sleety rain. Lots of Fieldfares about in the fields.

19th - A Treecreeper seen in the Hawthorn.

21st - The hen Pheasant was seen in the garden again today, and at dusk a lone Redwing was seen. The day had begun foggy, and remained dull and grey all day.

22nd - The birds were very busy this morning, with lots of activity around the garden and at the feeding station. Five Redwings seen as well.

23rd - A couple of Redwings in the garden. In the morning there were some wintry showers, mostly of ice pellets. Overnight the temperature fell to -1 C.

24th - A couple of Redwings seen again.

25th, Kiplingcotes - Andy, Jenny, and myself cycled in the Kiplingcotes area this morning, setting off from the old railway station and up to Goodmanham, and coming back along the Hudson Way. Very muddy in places but very enjoyable nevertheless and along the railway line there were loads of winter thrushes amongst the Hawthorns. A very enjoyable morning.

26th - The temperature only reached 6 C today.

27th - A male Bullfinch seen in the garden today, and the Treecreeper was also seen briefly in the Swedish Whitebeam.

28th, Huggatewold Wood, & Millingtondale - Did this fine walk down through the valleys, probably one of my favourite Wold routes. Lots of Fieldfares about, as well as a few Bullfinches, and a Buzzard was also seen soaring high above the Wold. A good walk, despite cloud and drizzle.

29th - A Mallard was seen flying over the house at 11.30 am.

30th - A mild and unsettled day, up to 13 C, and becoming increasingly windy as the day wore on, especially during the showers, with the wind gusting to a peak of 46 mph, the strongest gust recorded since early March.

October 2007

2nd, St. Peter, Rowley - This church stands in Parkland near Rowley Manor, the former rectory now being a country hotel. It is built largely in the Early English style of the 13th century and the small church contains a mausoleum for the Ellerker family in the south chapel. This locally powerful family used to hold substantial lands in the area west of Beverley, with the now destroyed Risby Hall between Little Weighton and Bentley being their former family seat. It was from Rowley that the Puritan rector, the Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, and many of his congregation, left for America, founding the community of Rowley in Massachusetts.


All Saints, Sancton - This church, located beside the busy Market Weighton to Hull road, has a unique Octagonal tower, the only one of its kind in the East Riding. The tower was constructed in the 15th century, though the church itself has its origins in the 12th century. However in the mid 19th century the church was substantially rebuilt and modernised, and though not to my taste it is a pleasant enough building which seems well cared for by the community which it serves. Interior features are few though there is an interesting octagonal font.


St. Mary, South Dalton - This beautiful church is amongst my favourites in the county, not only for its tall spire (200 feet) which is considered one of the finest in England, but for me it also marks the beginning of the "real" Wolds when heading northwards out of Beverley. The church was built for Lord Hotham in the mid 19th century and as well as being impressive on the outside it is also particularly fine inside, with superb stained glass, carved woodwork and stonework, original gas chandeliers, and hatchments and memorials to the locally influential Hotham family.


St. Mary, Etton - Just down the road from South Dalton lies the peaceful community of Etton, with its solid looking Norman church on its eastern edge. The church was restored in the Victorian period and contains two magnificent Norman arches, as well as some excellent Norman figure carvings which actually came from the now demolished church at Holme on the Wolds. Also inside are some fine painted reredos and a modern inscription commemorating John Lowthrop, founder of America's oldest congregational church.


3rd - Two Snipe seen at the Owl dip along Shepherds Lane, flying around the small pool. A Barn Owl was also present in the area.

8th-12th, East Midlands Tri
8th - Travelled down to the Market Harborough area in Northamptonshire with Mum and Dad today, where were staying in a small log cabin which is surrounded by fields and woods. It overlooks a small fishing pond, and it is a most pleasant and tranquil spot.


9th - Went to the Fenlands this morning, despite grey skies and driving rain, and by the time we reached Welney conditions had if anything grown worse. However a bit of weather doesn’t put us off, and besides Welney is very well catered for in terms of facilities, especially with the new centre. Indeed it was nice to sit in the cafĂ© and watch the rain pelting against the glass, as well as taking in the vast view over the endless flat and fertile fields. On the reserve itself were a few Whooper Swans, representing amongst the first arrivals of this winter, and another highlight was a hunting Kingfisher which repeatedly performed within a short distance of the hide. We also saw a couple of Marsh Harriers, ten species of wildfowl, and many Snipe. After finishing off at Welney we drove down to Ely, where we stopped for a bit of shopping and a brief look around. At one point the rain came on really heavy though, and this forced a retreat to the car. However after this spell of rain the day began to improve, and we went on to nearby Wicken Fen, where Dad and I went for a walk down to Adventurers Fen, an area we hadn’t visited before. This area is really quite wild, and indeed there is a heard of Konik ponies apparently, though we didn’t see them unfortunately. Out on the Mere we saw a Kingfisher hunting again, and other observations included a Water Rail, as well as all the normal autumn wildfowl. On the way back to the car we also spotted two Roe deer, and near the visitor centre we heard a Cetti’s Warbler singing from deep within the reeds. We had no chance of seeing it but it was nevertheless a pleasing observation, and is a new species for my life list. From Wicken we headed back to our holiday cabin and finished an enjoyable first day of our holiday.


10th - We went to Rutland Water this morning on a bright and mild October day, though first we stopped by at the sight of the Battle of Naseby which is just a few miles south west of our holiday cabin. Upon arriving in Rutland, Mum went to look around Oakham, whereas Dad and I went down to Egleton. The main highlight was my first observations of Egyptian Geese, apparently common here at Rutland but nevertheless of personal interest. Though the reserve didn’t live up to the high standards of our previous visit in December 2006, there were some good observations all the same, including Little Egrets, as well as a Green Woodpecker, a late singing Chiffchaff in the woods, a Kingfisher, and a very large number of Great Crested Grebes. In total forty two species were recorded.

11th - We visited a number of historic houses and monuments in the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire area. First stopped at Kirby Hall, near Corby, which is a very fine ruin of an Elizabethan Hall. The grounds are still very pleasant, and along the avenue there were loads of conkers, with some really good ones. From here we travelled down to Geddington, between Corby and Kettering, where there was an Eleanors Cross in the middle of the village. Finally we went on to the famous folly at Rushton Hall, an unusual triangular building covered in stone carvings of a largely religious nature. A pleasant and quiet day.


12th - Returned home today, taking the rural route through Lincolnshire.

14th, Millingtondale - A foggy walk in the Wolds with low cloud affecting areas above 100 metres. Flocks of Fieldfares were seen in the fields though, as these winter visitors begin to settle in.

18th - The first ground frost of this winter overnight.

19th - A Redwing seen in the garden today, the first of the year. A Treecreeper also seen in the garden today. Another ground frost overnight.

21st, Rosedale - Went Mountain Biking with Jenny and Andy in the beautiful area around Rosedale Abbey. Very enjoyable, made the better by the contrasting weather conditions on our route, with fog and frost in the dales, and clear blue skies on the higher areas. Lots of Red Grouse seen or heard, and some of the heather was still in flower. A fantastic morning.

25th - A Redwing seen in the garden.

26th - A female Blackcap seen at the bird bath twice today. The weather at the moment is very grey and dull, with cloud being fed in off the sea on an easterly breeze which is being caused by High Pressure sitting over the North Sea.

27th - Two Redwings seen today. The Blackbirds have started to eat the Cotoneaster berries in the garden, and the Thrushes & Wood Pigeons are starting to get on with the Hawthorn berries.

28th - A lone Redwing was seen on the lawn this afternoon, and indeed there are lots of thrushes around at the moment with many Blackbirds, up to four Song Thrushes, and Mistle thrushes in the area.


Deepdale (Calliswold) - An enjoyable walk in this fine valley, though Dad and I got completely soaked and visibility was poor as we were up amongst the clouds. Despite this the autumn colours of the Larch & Beech are now at their best, and if anything the mist and rain added to the interest of the scene. Lots of Fieldfares in the valley scrubs and on our return up the valley a skein of geese passed over our heads, flying quite low, no doubt because of the mist. A jolly fine morning.

29th - Golden Plovers & Fieldfares were heard in the Parks area this morning.

30th - A fox seen out in the fields this morning.


North Cave Wetlands - Went to North Cave this morning on a beautiful autumns day. A couple of Whooper Swans were the main highlight of the day, but there was also a Stonechat in the wild field, and the Bar headed Goose was again seen amongst the Greylag geese. A good number of Snipe observed, and twelve species of wildfowl were represented around the reserve. In the trees I also saw a few Redwings, a species which seems to be very apparent already this year. A very good morning with 49 species spotted.

31st - A Treecreeper seen in the garden today. Quite mild as well today with a maximum of over 15 C.

September 2007

1st - Lots of Goldfinches in the garden at the moment, especially juveniles with their grey heads. There almost constantly present on the Niger feeders.

2nd, Thixendale - Walked in this fine area in the heart of the Wolds, on a cloudy and breezy day, with some bits and pieces of rain at times. Still quite a bit of uncut wheat in this area, though ploughing has begun in a few fields too. A Stoat was seen along the walk, and in the scrubby areas there is an abundant berry and currant crop. In the village there was the nice smell of coal fires hanging in the air, a deeply evocative smell. A nice walk.

3rd - A large flock of Lapwings seen to the north of Swinemoor. I also saw five Golden Plovers flying over the area.

4th - A Speckled Wood butterfly seen in the garden, on what was a beautifully sunny afternoon.


St. James, Nunburnholme - This delightful little Norman church lies in a village very familiar to me and it is set amongst some of the finest countryside in the East Riding. The church contains a number of treasures, including a 10th century Anglo-Scandinavian cross shaft which is covered in carvings, a Norman tower arch, and fragments of 14th century stained glass. The tower of the church was erected in 1902 and dedicated to the memory of the Rev. Francis Orpen Morris, an early local naturalist and ornithologist. The tower also contains a recently restored peal of six bells.


St. Nicholas, North Newbald - This is one of the finest churches in the East Riding and is built to a scale which is perhaps larger than one would expect for a relatively minor village between Hull and York. It is indeed considered the finest Norman church in the county and is an aisleless cruciform building with a 14th century chancel. The exterior has three well preserved Norman doorways, the most elaborate of which opens on to the nave with a stone carving of a seated Christ above it. Inside the crossing between the different parts of the church are marked by four perfect Norman arches and the church contains a number of interesting features, including a fine village organ.



5th - Eight Golden Plovers were seen in the Parks area this morning, some in scruffy adult plumage. Gulls also around in good numbers at the moment. Very warm today, up to 24 C, and feeling quite muggy for the time of year.

6th - Picked Elderberries for jam and jelly making. Warm again.

7th - Very warm with a high of 24.7 C, actually the 2nd warmest day of the year.

9th, Blacktoft Sands - Went to the RSPB reserve of Blacktoft Sands this morning, on a sunny and warm day. Arrived half an hour earlier than usual, which did make a difference I think as this reserve can become quite busy. Many highlights including Bearded tits, Greenshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Ruff, Godwits, Green Sandpiper, Knot, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Barn Owl, & Kingfisher. The Marsh Harriers were seen frequently with three individual birds were seen at one point. A Buzzard was also seen. A good mornings birding with a total of 46 species observed.


11th - A nearly 100% sunny day.

16th - A sunny and warm day, with a high up to 22 C. This month has been completely dry so far with no measurable rainfall, as high pressure has dominated the month thus far.

Flamborough Head & Bempton Cliffs - Dad, Add, and I went to see the QE2 passing Flamborough Head this morning, watching from the car park at Bempton. Quite a few other people likewise had the same idea and it was good to watch this famous ship sail by. We didn’t bother to go down to the cliffs themselves.

19th - A Chiffchaff was seen in the garden, singing occasionally too as well. Up to twenty Goldfinches also seen at the feeding station, mostly scruffy juveniles.

26th - A cool day with a high of just 12.8 C.

North Cave Wetlands - A great mornings birding at our local reserve, where the undoubted highlight was a Grey Phalarope, a new species for this reserve. It was a pretty little wader, even though it’s now in its winter plumage, and it was also a remarkably active bird, swimming around like a cork as it chases flies on the waters surface. A great start to this birding trip. Other highlights today included a lone Barnacle Goose, which was with the Greylag geese. A good number of Canada geese also seen today, and returning winter visitors included Wigeon, Pochard, Teal & Curlews. Gadwall also seen in good numbers and a dozen or so Snipe were observed around the reserve. A few Swallows & House Martins still around, and when we arrived a Buzzard was seen flying over the reserve. A great mornings birding with a grand total of forty three species recorded.


27th - A flock of about thirty Golden Plovers flew north over the house at 3pm.

28th, Watton Lagoons & North Cave Wetlands - Went birding for much of the day today, taking advantage of the recently good conditions. Firstly we went to Watton Lagoons, where we rewarded with a sighting of a Pintail, and we also saw a Grey Wagtail in one of the drains. Indeed lots of wildfowl about with ten species represented, including at least two hundred Gadwall, 100 Wigeon, and around 150 Greylag geese. The Kingfisher was also seen, and both Swallows and House Martins were seen hunting over the area. A good start to the day.


From Watton we went over to North Cave, where the main highlights included three Barnacle Goose, adding to the one seen the other day, and a Bar Headed Goose also joined all the other geese. A skein of Pink footed Geese was also seen passing over the reserve. Indeed wildfowl was seen in good numbers, with a total of eleven species. The Grey Phalarope has moved on sadly. A good trip with about fifty species seen today.

29th - Golden Plovers heard on Swinemoor this morning.

30th, Huggatewold Wood & Millingtondale - A pleasant wolds walk with some good autumn colours in the woods, particularly the Beeches. However worryingly we had to dip our feet in disinfectant at one point, as the fear of foot and mouth has returned to the area after a rash of cases in the south of the country. Hopefully we won’t see a repeat of the outbreak of a few years ago.

August 2007

1st - The temperature rose to 24 C today, a new high for the year.

5th - Very hot and sunny today, up to nearly 29 C, and comfortably the hottest day of the year, and indeed one of the hottest days  on my records.

Hornsea Mere & the Holderness Coast - Dad and I went to Hornsea Mere this morning where there was very little going on to be honest. However we did see a Greylag x Pink footed Goose, a Black Swan, many Canada Geese, Mute Swans, and most notably a lone Whooper Swan. From here we headed southwards down the coast to Aldbrough, stopping south of Mappleton. From our cliff top position we saw Guillemots, Plovers, Shags, & Sandwich Terns passing over the sea. A jolly fine birthday outing.

7th - Wheat harvest now under way.

Sykes Churches Tour
St. Nicholas, Wetwang - Visited this pleasant church on a beautiful August day with barely a cloud in the sky and harvest in full swing in the local countryside. This church dates back to the 11th century with the current tower and north chapel dating from the 13th century. There was some restoration in the mid 19th century by the Sykes family of nearby Sledmere, and again later at the start of the 20th century when the current stained glass was inserted.


St. Mary, Fridaythorpe - Continuing our tour of central Wold churches we went to the small community of Fridaythorpe, one of the highest settlements in the county. This very tranquil church is located on the north-western edge of the village and overlooks pleasant rolling farmland. Parts of the building date back to the 12th century but much of the modern building was substantially restored and modernised by the Sykes family in the late 19th century. In the photo below the interesting clock tower is clearly obvious, this dating from the early 20th century.



St. Mary, Thixendale - This modern building was constructed in fairly recent times for this small and isolated community in the heart of the high Wolds. Before the demise of Wharram Percy this former hamlet belonged to that parish, but after the desertion of that historical community Thixendale was left without a place of worship, a situation which was eventually rectified by the construction of the church which now stands in the heart of this village.


St. Mary, Fimber - This church, of Whitby stone in a 13th century style, was designed by G.E. Street and built in 1869-71 for Sir Tatton Sykes the Second. The Sykes were responsible for much of today's churches as we know them in this part of the Wolds, and though there are mixed opinions concerning their efforts, it nevertheless has to be recognised that this region owes the family a huge debt of honour for their preservation of local church history. St. Mary's was built on the site of a former chapel of ease, which itself had been built on the site of a Bronze Age burial mound, a fairly common feature in this area of the Wolds. The chancel has an ornate brass and iron screen and a richly carved reredos. The fine stained glass windows are by Clayton and Bell.


St. Mary, Sledmere - As you would expect this is a very fine church, being as it was the place of worship for the Sykes family, the dominant landowners in the northern and central Wolds. Located a short walk away from the family house, it was constructed for Sir Tatton Sykes II in the late 19th century and is filled with particularly fine carvings and features, including an ornate screen and fine stained glass. The exterior likewise is particularly fine with a handsome porch and an attractive tower.


St. Mary, Cowlam - This is a lovely small medieval church which now finds itself surrounded by a busy and productive farm. The village of Cowlam today is no more than a farm house and a former vicarage but nevertheless it is still an active church with services once a month. The church was restored in the mid 19th century, again by the Sykes family, though the main interest of the largely plain and simple interior is the Norman font which is covered in carved figures depicting the Magi, Adam & Eve and two wrestling figures.



St. Michael, Garton-on-the-Wolds - This is one of the best churches in the Wolds, the interior decoration along the nave and chancel being widely considered amongst the finest Victorian church restorations in the whole of England. The church building itself is an imposing and solid looking Norman structure, dating back to 1120. Additions were made by the Sykes family with a reconstructed southern door built in 1856-7. As well as having impressive painted walls, the church also has particularly fine stained glass windows which were fitted in the mid 19th century.



St. Mary - Kirkburn - The village of Kirkburn was previously unknown to me before today's visit but I found it to be a pleasant and quiet corner of the county. The church is early 12th century Norman, with restoration works by the Sykes family being carried out in the mid 19th century. It was during this period that the southern porch was constructed. The interior contains many interesting features, including a fine Norman chancel arch, as well as an old font which has many carved figures upon it.


8th, Whernside - Climbed Whernside today, the highest hill in modern Yorkshire. The climb proved to be far harder than had been expected, or at least the final 300 metre climb up to the Hill Ridge was hard work. In total we walked over thirteen miles and did it within six and a half hours. Along our walk we saw Wheatears, a lone Peregrine, a few Buzzards, and three Ravens, these seen hovering over the top ridge. A great day in this beautiful area of Yorkshire.




9th - The first of the Elderberries are now beginning to ripen.

10th - After a summer of heavy rain and flooding, we are now technically in an Absolute Drought as we have seen no rain for fifteen days.

12th, Huggatedales - A pleasant walk in the Huggatedales area, despite cloud and a bit of dampness in the air. The local wheat harvest continues apace, and along our walk we had a very good sighting of a Buzzard.

13th, Holderness Churches Tour
St. Augustine, Skirlaugh - This large mid Holderness village contains one of the most handsome and interesting churches in the whole region, the church being very well cared for by the community which it serves. The building was erected in 1405 by Walter de Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham, on the site of the previous structure, and is today a Grade I listed building. Indeed the church is considered one of the best specimens of early Perpendicular architecture in England and exterior of the church remains largely unaltered from its original design.


St. Wilfrid, Ottringham - Built of cobble, ashlar and brick, St. Wilfrid's is significant for its broach spire. It was one of a number of churches with spires lining the medieval banks of the Humber that were used for navigation by shipping. Remains of the 12th century church on this site include a zig-zag ornament and capitals of the tower arch and two corbels in the north arcade, but most features are from the 13th-15th century. The clerestory is of the 15th century, as is the fine king-post roof bosses carved with figures, heads and shields. Georgian pews and Royal Arms can also be seen within the building.


St. Patrick, Patrington - This is one of the jewels in the crown of the East Riding's many fine churches, with only Beverley Minster being able to compare to the scale and craftsmanship of this fine spired church which is sometimes referred to as the "Queen of Holderness". Regarded amongst the very best parish churches in England, indeed for many it is THE finest parish church in all the land, it was constructed in the 14th century by craftsmen whom must have been some of the most skilled in Europe. It is cruciform in shape with a tall slender spire which towers over the largely flat local countryside and can be viewed for miles around. The interior in the main is lit by clear glass which gives the interior a surprising feeling of space, again adding to the cathedral like quality of this structure, while in the chancel is fine stained glass where an interesting wooden screen containing a number of carvings of the Saints, the Virgin and Christ can also be found. Other interesting wooden carvings can be seen elsewhere in the building, many of which are medieval, whilst an Easter Sepulchre, a twelve sided font and lavish 20th century reredos add to the quality and historical interest of this beautiful building.



St. Mary, Welwick - This little village, which is on the road to Spurn Point, contains a real gem of a church. When we visited construction work was being carried out to repair damage caused by rain water during the summer storms, but this nevertheless failed to detract from the wonderful stained glass window at the end of the chancel, and the fine monuments within, including a fine tomb dating to the 14th century. The exterior of the church has had many additions over the years, with a number of different building materials being used to add and repair bits in years gone by.



St. Helen, Skeffling - This good sized church finds itself on the southern edge of this Humber bank community, the church being approached by a narrow winding road which eventually reaches a dead end over-looking the wide expanse of the Humber estuary with views across to Grimsby and Immingham on the opposite bank. The present date church is largely unaltered since it was constructed in 1466 and has no electricity or heating, services in winter sometimes having to be conducted by candle light.


All Saints, Roos - The church, dating from 1220 and built of cobble, stone and brick, is reached by a long footpath lined with Yew trees. It was in the delightfully wild churchyard that a Spotted Flycatcher was seen hunting during our visit, a species of bird which is increasingly scarce these days. The tower of this church dates to the 15th century, and the whole church was restored in the mid 19th century. Indeed when we visited the church roof was undergoing some repair. The interior of the church contains some fine stained glass, some of which is medieval.


St. Peter & Paul, Burton Pidsea - This is a medieval church with Norman origins, the chancel being rebuilt in the 14th century, and the aisles and chapels being added in the 15th century. The Perpendicular tower was completed in the 16th century and today's church is a fine example of a Holderness parish church which seems well cared for and loved by the small community at Burton Pidsea. Inside the church are Victorian memorials and stained glass to local landed families, including the Clapham's, Raines' and Harland's.


St. Lawrence, Elstronwick - This is an interesting little church, set amongst some delightfully tranquil and rustic countryside in deepest Holderness. Located on the very edge of the small village of Elstronwick, it is surrounded by handsome mature trees and the churchyard itself is well maintained with a fine balance between wildness and excessive manicuring. The church is built on the site of a 14th century Chantry chapel, with today's structure of cobbles and cobblestones dating to around 1875. The attractive wooden bell turret dates to the same time as the construction of the rest of the church.


St. Peter, Humbleton - This is a fine 13th to early 14th century church with a three storey west tower and spacious aisled nave. The four south aisle windows were inserted in the mid 16th century and the chancel was repaired in brick in the 17th century, at which time the east window was also inserted. However for all its fine interior and exterior details I found this church a bit bland and lacking any real character, the overly manicured churchyard being partly to blame for this unfavourable impression.


14th - A Willow warbler heard in the garden today.

15th - The Gulls are now becoming apparent again in the area, mostly Black headed Gulls & Common Gulls.

16th - Hawthorn berries are now becoming ripe in the hedgerows, and with the Elderberries there is an abundant natural harvest. The garden Haws are also turning, and the Cotoneaster’s & Yews are also beginning to fruit.

18th - A Willow warbler seen in the Silver Birch this afternoon.

19th, North Cave Wetlands - Went to North Cave this morning where things have started to get going again now with a few interesting observations today. A couple of Common Sandpipers seen, along with two Green Sandpipers, two Wigeon, and eight Teal, though the Teal are still in eclipse. Snipe also seen, whereas in the scrubby hedgerows there was a family of Whitethroats, and on the lagoons there two very bright and vivid Ruddy ducks. A few Common Terns also still about, and young can still be seen of Tufted ducks & Little Grebes. A few Pochards now back, and there were loads of Greylag geese around the reserve. Sand Martins, Swallows, & Swifts seen in good numbers and out in the fields a few Stock doves were seen amongst the Woodpigeons. A good mornings birding.

20th - A Willow warbler again heard in the garden today.

22nd - A Corn Bunting was heard in the Parks this morning, the first time this year.

23rd, Gibraltar Point - Went to Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire today, though unfortunately I was feeling very unwell and wasn’t able to fully enjoy the day. Indeed any enthusiasm for birding was none existent and all I wanted to do was sleep and be sick. However Dad did a bit of birding and said that he was impressed by what he did see. A nice day out despite feeling deeply unwell.


26th, Bishop Wilton - Walked at Bishop Wilton this morning, with Jenny joining Dad and I. A pleasant walk on a fine late summers day.

30th - All the cereal crops have now been collected in in the Parks area, with some fields already having been ploughed ready for next years crop.