Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Late, but still a Cracker.

I had to work over Christmas this year, which meant that my time off came in early January. Given the weather that was perhaps a bonus.
I decided to go over to the other side and pay a visit to some of my favourite haunts on the other side of the Bridge. First call was Far Ings, with a view to seeing the reported drake Smew. I arrived early with an eye on spotting a Beardie or two collecting grit. With no success after an hour I headed for the Hotel lake for the Smew. There was a nice pair of Goldeneye and two “winter” Great Crested Grebes dancing for eachother, but no Smew. Later I was to find out that it has been spending time across the water at Welton Water, returning late in the afternoon. A Bittern was visible from Ness, but was a bit distant.

I decided to move on, driving down the road to Alkborough. The Prospect Lane was marked as closed, but that I think was only for ice some weeks ago. Not knowing otherwise I parked on the edge of the village and walked down the hill loaded up with scope, camera, bins, and a rucksack full of lunch – yes I got quite warm.
The view from the main hide was all a bit distant, but despite that I was treated to some interesting sights – 16 Spotted Redshank with what looked like a large Snipe amongst them (the reported Long-Billed Dowitcher I was told), lots of Lapwing, Knot, and Dunlin. Interestingly, I didn’t see one harrier. The walk back to the car was long, but was rewarded with an overflying Green Sandpiper and 300-400 Pink-Footed geese which came down across the Humber around Brough Haven.


Back to Far Ings. Still no Smew, but there was a flock of c40 Waxwings in the bushes behind Reeds Hotel. They were feeding on rose hips and generally readying themselves for their roost. This was my closest encounter with that fabulous bird, and I found it very difficult to drag myself away. Eventually they moved on and so did I.
My last stop was Ness hide where I witnessed two pairs of Coot squabbling over one of the side pools. The squabbling eventually and inevitably resulted in noisy fisticuffs.

As thing quietened the last highlight of the day began – a “murmuration” of Starlings. It started with only 5 birds, but gradually the numbers built until a knowledgeable companion estimated the numbers at well over 5,000 birds. As quickly as it had started, the “murmuration” end with every last Starling diving into the reedbeds. I videoed the spectacle, but at 108Mb, the file is too large to share here.