1st - About fifteen Golden Plovers flew west over the house this morning, flying against driving rain.
2nd - Went down to Swinemoor this morning where there were seven Grey Herons, fifteen Golden Plovers, and two Shelducks out on the floods. However there were at least a further sixty to eighty Golden Plovers flying around over the area, and along the river I spotted two Kingfishers, and a Barn Owl was also seen hunting over the local fields. Yellowhammers heard singing in the hedgerows.
3rd - A LUNAR ECLIPSE this evening.
3rd, Wheldrake Ings - Visited Wheldrake Ings this morning, our first visit here in fourteen months. The reserve didn’t disappoint, but getting to the final hides was quite difficult as the path was covered by a foot of flood water and it was a good thing we were both wearing wellies. There were loads of Wigeon out on the floods, and there were good numbers of Pintails, the most handsome of ducks. Two Goosanders were also seen, mixing in amongst the rafts of Pintails. Ruddy duck’s were seen displaying, the males are very bright indeed now. Indeed fifteen species of wildfowl were spotted, with other highlights including Goldeneyes, and good numbers of both Pochards, & Teal. In the trees a large number of Cormorants were also seen, and there were also quite a few Curlews heard. In the riverside trees and woods there was a decent variety of passerines, including a Marsh tit, and a Bullfinch. A fine morning.
4th, Watton Lagoons - Went to nearby Watton again this morning where wildfowl continue to be well represented. Indeed three Smew were spotted, two drakes and a female, and there were five Goldeneyes, three drakes and two females. On the lagoon over observations included 44 Mallards, 24 Gadwall, 23 Wigeon, 23 Tufted duck, 12 Teal, 10 Pochard, and a lone Shoveler. Some good numbers of waders were also around, with 25 Curlew, 19 Redshanks, and three Oystercatchers. A Barn Owl was also seen hunting over the local fields, and in the drain a Kingfisher was also briefly seen. A very productive mornings birding.
5th - Gave the lawn its first mow of the year. While out doing that I also saw my first Bumble Bee of the year.
6th - A pair of Bullfinches seen in the Copper Beech again, which itself is looking gorgeous now in full blossom. In the afternoon I saw a Bumble Bee again, drawn out by the spring like conditions.
8th - A Comma butterfly was seen briefly in the garden around mid-day, the first butterfly of the year. The Crocus’ are now fully out, along with the Narcissi, and even a few daffodils are now just starting to open. In the Parks this morning the area was filled with the sound of Skylarks, & Yellowhammers in song, and it was indeed a very fine day today. I also saw three Mute Swans pass over.
9th - Went down to Swinemoor again, where five Grey Herons were seen, along with large numbers of Lapwings, & Golden Plovers. Some Greylag geese were also seen flying over the area, and there were also good numbers of Black headed Gulls, some now in their breeding plumage.
11th - Several Bumble Bee’s were seen on the wing today. A Comma butterfly was also seen again briefly.
Blacktoft Sands - Visited this RSPB reserve on the south bank of the Humber on a very pleasant and mild day. Wildfowl & waders were the main highlights, with notables including Goldeneyes, Ruddy ducks, Snipe, 40 plus Black tailed Godwits, Curlews, Redshanks, and around 25 Avocets, the first seen this year on the Humber and some two to three weeks earlier than last year. A couple of Marsh Harriers were seen quartering the marshes, and at the feeding station there were good numbers of Tree Sparrows. The warm weather also brought a few Bumble Bees out, and forty six species of bird were seen around the reserve. A good morning.
13th - Down at Swinemoor again this morning, with Lapwings seen displaying over the fields. Meadow Pipits were also seen displaying, the first time I’ve seen them doing so this year. Skylarks, & Yellowhammers also heard widely. In the garden a female Great Spotted Woodpecker was noted, and a male Blackcap was also seen at the feeding station. A Comma butterfly was spotted again in the sunny afternoon, as was the first Small Tortoiseshell of the year.
14th - Local Forsythia’s now coming out.
15th - A Chiffchaff was heard in the area for much of the day today. Out in the garden some Snowdrops are still flowering, though most are now going over, though the Crocus’ are still going strong, as are the Primroses. The Cyclamens are also still in the flower, and on sunnier days the Anemone’s are out. A few Violets are beginning to appear around the greenhouse, and in the beds most daffodils are now out, though there are still a few yet to come. The next door Copper Beech is now quite glorious, and the Flowering Currant is also now in flower. The local Larches beginning to green, and the Crab Apple is just starting to leaf as well. In the local countryside the Hawthorn hedges have greened up, and the Blackthorn is in full blossom. Spring seems to be here now.
16th - A Chiffchaff was heard in the Plantation on Tickton Carrs this morning. Out on Swinemoor a lone Shelduck was spotted, along with displaying Lapwings. A few Redshanks, & Golden Plovers also seen. In the garden a Chiffchaff was heard again, and a male Blackcap was also seen.
18th - Much colder than recently with wintry showers, including some wet snow.
High Mowthorpe - A chilly and wintry walk on this area of the high Wolds, with showers of snow pellets and a cold and biting wind. In the reservoir there was some decent wildfowl, including Wigeon, Tufted ducks, Mallard, Greylag geese, and Mute Swans, and around the edge there were some Oystercatchers, & Curlews. In the high fields there were winter thrushes, and there were also good number of Skylarks too. In the woods a few Violets were also seen in flower. A pleasant walk.
19th - Chiffchaff heard singing again in the area. In the Parks the Fieldfares are beginning their customary build up in the fields of Black House Farm. The day was chilly again, with further wintry showers for much of the day.
20th - Despite the current wintry weather, as further wintry showers came down from the north, the Chiffchaff was heard singing again in the area. On Swinemoor the Golden Plovers are now building up, with approximately 250 to 300 observed.
21st - Snow this morning, adding to snow that fell last night, gave a covering of about an inch and a half at 9 am. Soon melting though as the sun is now quite strong.
23rd - Chiffchaff heard.
24th - The Chiffchaff was again in the area, including in the Swedish Whitebeam.
25th, North Cave Wetlands - A great mornings birding at our favourite local reserve. This reserve is at its best at this time of year as winter visitors and the first of the spring arrivals overlap. This was particularly in evidence this morning, with still abundant wildfowl, including sixty plus Shelducks, a few Wigeon, Pochards, four Goldeneyes, and four Goosanders, including two drakes. However amongst the waders there were a number of new arrivals, including twelve Avocets, two Ringed Plovers, and a single Black tailed Godwit. A count of twenty two Oystercatchers was also worthy of note. Around the reserve a Green Woodpecker was seen, but of most significance was the sighting of a Chiffchaff, the first of the year here. A fine morning with forty nine species recorded in total.
26th - A male Blackcap was seen in the garden today, and the Blackbirds were seen nest building in the South Wall Ivy. The fine and sunny weather today also made it a good butterfly day, including observations of Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, & Comma’s. Many Bumble Bee’s & Ladybird’s also about.
27th - A number of butterflies seen on the wing again today.
28th - A Chiffchaff seen and heard in the garden. The day had begun with dense fog with visibility under 100 metres.
29th - In the garden a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen, and a Chiffchaff was also seen and heard again.
31st - A female Blackcap spotted in the garden today, possibly suggesting the presence of a pair in the area. The Chiffchaff still in the area, and at one point a noisy group of about seven Black backed Gulls passed over the area.