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December 2008

2nd - Snow during the morning with 2.5 cm’s at noon. The snow only slowly thawing and managing to persist till the 4th.

5th - A lone Brambling (female/juvenile) seen in the Hawthorn around noon.

7th - A Redwing seen feeding on the ground around the Hawthorn in mid morning.

9th - A Redwing again seen in the garden, with a single bird seen feeding on the lawn in the afternoon.

11th - Freezing rain last night caused a lot of ice this morning, making the roads and pavements like ice rinks. Unsurprisingly a number of accidents were reported in the region during the morning.

12th - A cold start with a low of -3.3 C. A female Blackcap seen in the Hawthorn at 10am.

13th - A wet day, heavy at times, with 25.5 mm’s (1.00”) recorded in the gauge. The rain became increasingly wintry later, with some wet snow for a time during the night.

14th, Wayhramwold & Pluckham wood - A good walk this morning in the Wayhramwold area, with a covering of wet snow from last night (in Beverley we had only rain, and the snow started from just under Huggate), as well as some snow which has persisted from earlier in the month. The snow revealed much animal activity, with the paw-prints of foxes, deer, hare, rabbit, squirrel, stoat, mice, and most notable Badgers in Wayhramdale. We had suspected Badger activity in this area and now we know for sure, a useful bit of local knowledge of this elusive animal. In the hedges and woods there were many Fieldfares seen and heard.

17th, North Cave Wetlands - A late afternoon visit, the winter sun setting over the still and cold water of the reserve and the vast fields of the Vale of York. What a beautiful time of year this can be. Quite chilly with some ice on sheltered areas of the lagoons in the north west of the reserve, and the recent cold weather seems to have driven the Great Crested Grebes to milder areas of the country. The main highlights were two Goldeneye’s, a male and a female, at least five Pink-footed Geese amongst the Greylags, 50+ Redshanks, a Curlew, and winter thrushes in the western hedges. Lots of Teal now, and wildfowl remain well represented, though no Wigeon seen today. Lots of Crows, Rooks, and Jackdaws feeding in the adjacent fields, and a good number of Tree Sparrows were along Dryham Lane.

18th - Two Redwings seen in the garden.

21st - In contrast to the recent chilly weather, today was very mild with a high of 12.1 C.

South Huggatewold - A long walk this morning on south Huggatewold (Pig-beans) with Jenny joining us on a breezy, though quite mild day. A couple of Red Kites seen above the dale and at the head of the dale there was a large flock of mixed finches, and Yellowhammer’s, with Chaffinches making up the majority of the flock. A few Bullfinches seen here as well, and further Bullfinches were seen near the farm on South Huggatewold. A flock of Linnets were also seen in the fields, and in the general area there was a lot of game about, with Red Legged Partridges in the valleys and Pheasants in the fields. A Stoat on the Huggate-Warter road was an additional observation.

25th - On a foggy Christmas morning, lots of gulls came to feed on the pig fat on the bird table, with Black headed Gulls dominating, though there were a few Common Gulls too. One of the black headed gulls was ringed with both a standard ring and also a ‘Darvic’ ring, which had RBM clearly written upon it.

28th, Great Dugdale - We walked the new circular walk at Great Dugdale (Warter) which has become possible since the Right to roam act of a few years ago, taking in an attractive area of the central Wolds around the village of Warter. A Red Kite seen over the wood in the centre of the dale, and in the area there was an abundance of game with Pheasants and Partridges everywhere. At the head of the dale there was a large mixed flock of finches and Yellowhammer’s, including a few Bullfinches, a bird which seems to be increasingly encountered in the Wolds at the moment. Other observations included a few Hares, and Lapwings were seen in the high fields. A good morning, with Jenny also joining us.

30th, Bempton Cliffs - Paid a brief visit to the cliffs this morning, where, as to be expected, it was very quiet with just a few Fulmars and Gulls about, as well as Jackdaw’s, Starling’s and Rock doves. However out on the sea a Red Throated Diver was seen, always a personal highlight, and a new species for my East Yorskhire list.

31st - Very cold today on this last day of calendar year, starting with a low of -4.6 C and rising no higher than -0.6 C. Only the second time on my records that the temperature has failed to rise above freezing.

North Cave Wetlands - A quiet afternoon around the reserve, on a cold (temperature around -3C) and murky day. Despite the temperature there wasn’t much ice on the lagoons, and again no Great Crested Grebes were seen, they probably having moved south to milder areas of the country during the cold spell at the beginning of the month. No birds of particular note though the Green Woodpecker was seen twice, and about a dozen Snipe were seen around the reserve. Not so many Redshanks as recently and really only wildfowl remain well represented with good numbers of Tufted duck, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, and of course Mallard. Other observations included a few Gadwall, though not the numbers of autumn time, a pair of Goldeneye’s again, and a single female Wigeon. Only two geese seen, one a Greylag, and the other a feral domestic goose. Cormorants back though, with about five seen.