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January 2008

2nd, Holderness Coast - Went for a drive this morning, working southwards from Hornsea down to Kilnsea. At Kilnsea sands we observed a pair of Brent Geese, which fed just yards away from us on the shore, and out on the mud there were Redshanks, Turnstones, Dunlin’s, Knot’s, Godwit’s, and a few Shelduck’s. In the local fields we also observed Curlews, and a few Roe deer too. A good day out.

3rd - Snow showers this morning, giving an inch covering. This thawing by midnight though as milder air moved in from the west.

4th - A pair of foxes ran through the garden at around noon, probably a dog and a vixen judging by the size of them.

6th, Huggatedales - Saw two Little Owls this morning in the dales to the north west of Huggate, with a Stonechat also seen in the same area, two new Wold species for me. There were also a good number of Meadow Pipits, as well as a few Bullfinches, three Kestrels, and a Buzzard.

8th, Watton Reserve - Not much activity here this morning, but a male Smew was seen, always a welcome observation of probably the most spectacular of all ducks, and represents the first I’ve seen this winter. There were also quite a few Curlews about as well.

13th, Far Ings - Visited this reserve for the first time in a while, and our main target, the Bittern, was very briefly seen flying over the reeds from the new visitor centre. Marsh Harrier’s were regularly seen as we made our way around the reserve, quartering the reedbeds and causing panic amongst the Teal. The wildfowl are now looking their best, and indeed some courting behaviour was observed. Winter thrushes in the scrub and hedges of the reserve and out on the Humber were typical winter waders, and a few Shelducks and Wigeon.

15th - A very wet day with 32.5 mm’s (1.28”) recorded.

17th - Around a dozen Siskin’s were seen in the garden today, a few visiting the feeders. Back in the autumn there was a record invasion of this species to the northern and western isles of Scotland, and so their arrival has been long expected this winter.

18th - A lone Brambling was seen today in the garden, perhaps part of the Siskin flock, which were again observed on the feeders.

20th - Very mild today with a maximum of 13.1 C, over 6 C above average.

Nunburnholmewold - On a good mornings walk the Mistle thrushes were singing in the wood and later three Red Kites were seen soaring over the western escarpment above Nunburnholme village.

21st - A wet day with persistent rain all day, with 22.6 mm’s (0.89”) measured in the gauge. This is turning out to be a very wet, and very mild month.

North Cave Wetlands - Very wet this morning and water levels on the reserve are currently high after all the recent rain. The rain not upsetting the birds of course though, and around the reserve we saw at least 30 Siskins, which were roaming with other finches, including a few Bullfinches, as well as tits and buntings. All the typical winter wildfowl observed, and the Bar-headed Goose remains amongst the Greylag geese. Over 30 Redshanks seen and a few Snipe were also recorded. In total we saw over 45 species, a good morning on an otherwise inclement day.

26th, Dalby Forest - Andy, Jenny, and I went cycling in the ‘Great Yorkshire Forest’ this morning, and it was most pleasant indeed. During our cycle I observed lots of Siskin’s about, and a few Great spotted Woodpecker’s were also seen and heard.

27th - A few Siskin’s seen today, after an absence of about a week.

28th - About 60 to 70 Pink-footed Geese were seen flying over at 1.30 pm, heading northwards.

29th - Pink-footed Geese again seen flying over today, with about a 100 or so, this time heading north westwards at 9.10 am. This was part of a movement that was seen in many parts of Yorkshire.

30th - A male Bullfinch was seen in the garden today, as were a few Siskin’s. Overhead a pair of Sparrowhawk’s were heard courting. In the past week the Mistle & Song Thrushes have started singing, as have the Dunnock’s. Further pointers to the coming of spring are the blooming of the winter flowers, with Aconite’s, & Celandine’s, with also a few Primroses & Snow-drops too. A Rough legged Buzzard was reported over Burton Bushes.

31st - A very brightly coloured Brambling seen in the garden today, a most handsome little bird.

Monthly Review
Winter finches the main highlight of the month, with Bramblings and Siskins, but also notable was the northward movement of Pink footed Geese at the end of the month. Indeed the first signs of spring began to appear by the conclusion of the month, with thrushes in song, and the winter bulbs coming into flower. Also of particular note was the report of a Rough legged Buzzard on the Westwood, a new species for the borough. Weather-wise it was a very mild month, with hardly any frosts, and also very wet with double the average. West south westerly winds dominating.

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