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May 2007

2nd - Cow Parsley starting to come out along the local hedgerows, and down at Old Hall Farm I came upon a large Roe deer this morning.

3rd - Heard a Cuckoo again this morning in the Parks area, where a Sedge Warbler was heard in one of the local field ditches. Two little brown mammals were also seen in the drain at Keldmarsh, possibly Water Voles, but certainly not Rats.

4th - Three Shelducks still on Swinemoor, though the Golden Plovers seem to have now moved on. Sedge & Reed Warblers were heard along the river, as well as a few Reed Buntings. In the fields the Barley now has whiskers, or at least the winter Barley does.

6th, Bempton Cliffs - Went to Bempton again on a cloudy and quite breezy morning. The big highlight of the morning was the first sighting of a this season Guillemot egg, but otherwise it was just a typical day on this seabird city which we are lucky enough to live so close too. The flowers on the cliff top are now out too, and should be at their best in a week or two. Indeed last year these flowers were reason enough to visit this reserve and this year doesn’t look like being any different. A fine morning.

7th - Five Swifts were seen overhead today, the largest count thus far this year.

10th - There was a Roe deer outside the house this morning. In the garden the Hawthorn is now fully in blossom, and on the Ash trees the leaves are now beginning to appear, a week or two after the Oaks.

12th - A good number of Whitethroats were seen and heard along Long Lane this morning, particularly in the scrubby areas.

13th - Heavy rain from mid afternoon onwards, with nearly 1.5 inches recorded by the next morning.

Nettledale - A lovely mornings walk around this beautiful little dale in the heart of the Wolds. The gorse remains gorgeously beautiful to the eyes, and indeed nose, and with the Hawthorn blossom, and wildflowers in the ungrazed dale it was the most perfect of days. However the big highlight of the day came with the sighting of a Redstart, which was seen atop the hedgerow which follows the line of the telegraph cables. It’s the first time I’ve seen one properly, and probably confirms my sighting of a Red tailed bird at the top of Millingtondale last year (9th July) was indeed one of these striking summer visiting birds. Lots of Willow warblers were around again too, and amongst the gorse the Yellowhammers & Linnets were in much evidence. A Whitethroat was also spotted in all the Hawthorn scrub. A beautiful morning.

16th - About half a dozen or so Whitethroats were seen (or heard) this morning in the Parks. The Cuckoo seems to have gone now. In the afternoon the Swifts are now back in numbers, and are now a permanent feature of the daytime sky.

18th - The Swedish Whitebeam is now coming into blossom, and the Hawthorn is still in flower, as indeed they are in the local hedgerows. Cow Parsley now fully out along the local lanes too.

20th, Nunburnholmewold - Dad and I enjoyed a most pleasant walk on Nunburnholmewold this morning, on what was a bright and perfectly warm day. Indeed upon our arrival four birds of prey were seen flying high in the sky above the Wold, with one Red Kite, a single Marsh Harrier, which is a new wold species for me, and two Common Buzzards. Further along on our walk we would also spot Sparrowhawks & Kestrels, making this a particularly fine day for Raptor spotting. In the woods and hedges there were many other welcome sights and sounds, including amongst them Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, & Yellowhammer, and up on the High Wold a Curlew was heard calling in a distant field. There were also displaying Lapwings on these high fields, a sight which if anything is becoming more common again in this area. The hedgerows themselves are a beautiful sight too, with Hawthorn blossom still at its best, and most trees are now in leaf, with perhaps the Ash the one exception as it’s still only in the process of leafing. Further welcome sightings were a few Orange Tip Butterflies, and a Burnet moth was also seen, the first I’ve seen this year. A jolly fine morning, with Mum and Add also coming out with us and enjoying the fine conditions from atop the Wold.

21st - A male House Sparrow was seen feeding on the fat balls today.

23rd - A female Bullfinch was seen having a bath this afternoon. Today was quite a warm day with a high of 21 C.

24th - Warm again, up to 21 C again.

26th, Bempton Cliffs - Our third visit of the year to these impressive chalk cliffs which mark the eastern edge of the Wolds. The Kittiwakes now have eggs, joining the Guillemots from our last visit, and generally everything seems to be moving along nicely now amongst all the birds. Hopefully a good year is promised. On the cliff tops I saw my first confirmed Corn Bunting, which was seen amongst the wonderful flowers that are above the cliff tops. Indeed we went further along the cliffs this time, as to the north of the last viewing point there is a beautiful bit of meadow, where Skylarks & Meadow Pipits were heard and seen abundantly. A very fine morning.

27th, Huggatewold Wood, & Millingtondale - Walked around Millingtondale this morning, on what was a cloudy, slightly damp, and indeed quite cool day. Still plenty to see though, including another sighting of a Redstart, which is perhaps the same one as we saw on the 13th, or maybe there is a small local population in this area of the Wolds. Towards the top of Millingtondale I also observed a Spotted Flycatcher, a new Wold species for my list, and as we crossed the Wold tops we heard Curlews calling over some of the local fields, one of my favourite sound. A very good morning, despite the weather.

28th, North Cave Wetlands - Went to North Cave this morning, after first going to clean Dads factory floor at Cawoods. It was a good morning birding with the main highlight a Temminck’s Stint, a tiny unconspicious bird which we would have missed if the warden had not pointed it out. A new species for my lifetime list, taking it to 176 now. We also observed a Corn Bunting, the first time I’ve seen them here, and they do give themselves away by their distinctive jangling call. Quite a few chicks about now, with little Shelducks, Avocets, Mallards, & Coots. The Common Terns have now returned with two pairs observed. A lone Dunlin was also seen today. A good morning, even though the weather was unseasonably chilly.

30th - Elderflower beginning to flower in the local hedgerows.

31st - Six Greylag geese were seen flying southwards at 11 am.