Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Highlights!

I have had many highlights this year but I have picked 10 out of my many highlights.

1. Migration Festival at Spurn!
On Saturday 7th of September we went to the Spurn Migration Festival. Our first highlight of this was a Stunning Red Backed Shrike which was giving great views at the top of a tree. It occasionally caught small insects which were in the grass. Another highlight of this was all the Waders on the beach. There was loads of Knot, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Oyster Catcher, Sanderling and lots more fantastic Waders. The Spurn Migration Festival was absolutely brilliant!

Red Backed Shrike
2.Siberian Stonechat at Scalby Mills
My second highlight was when I took a visit to Scalby Mills to look for the Siberian Stonechat. When we first arrived we couldn't see it so just as we were about to go my Dad spotted it sitting at the top of some branches! We watched this superb little bird for a while, sometimes it showed within a few meteres of us!
Siberian Stonechat
3.Great Grey Shrike and Swans
Another one of my highlights this year is seeing the stunning Bewick and Whooper Swans at Sadberge and then afterwards going to Bradbury to see the stunning Great Grey Shrike. The Shrike showed very well most of the time. We watched this cracking bird for about an hour.

Great Grey Shrike

Bewick and Whooper Swans
4. Great White Egret and Red Necked Phalarope
My Fourth highlight would be when I went to see the juvenile Red Necked Phalarope at Fairburn Ings plus while we were there we got a surprise Great White Egret from one of the hides. Both of these great birds showed very well especially the Great White Egret as it flew right past the hide! 
Red Necked Phalarope

Great White Egret
5. Two Barred Crossbills at Broomhead Reservoir
My fifth highlight would be when we went to visit the Two Barred Crossbills at Broomhead Reservoir. These great birds were very entertaining, there was about 8 in total, we stayed watching them for about an hour and a half. They sometimes went out of sight but then they always came back again to feed up in the trees. Also that day we saw Common Crossbill, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pink Footed Geese and lots more great birds.

Two Barred Crossbill
6. Green Winged Teal
 Another highlight of the year is when we went to try see the Green Winged Teal at North Cave Wetlands. When we first arrived in the hide no one could see the bird so we decided to have a walk around the reserve and then come back later to see if it was showing. On our walk round the reserve we saw Bullfinch, Redwing, Fieldfare and Greylag Geese. When we arrived back at the hide I almost  immediately spotted the Green Winged Teal on one of the islands. It showed right out in the open for about 30mins before flying of to one of the other islands were it became a bit more distant. 

Green Winged Teal
7. Pectoral Sandpiper at Saltholme
Another of the years highlights is the Pectoral Sandpiper at Saltholme. At first we only got a brief view of it but we came back just as we were about to go and got superb views of feeding along the scrape. Also while we were watching it a stunning Fox came out from the bushes and walked right in front of the hide! The Pectoral Sandpiper was accompanied by Black Tailed Godwits, Common Snipe and Little Egrets. Some other birds we saw that day were Common Tern, Ringed Plover and a nice showing Skylark.


Pectoral Sandpiper
8. Barred Warbler

Another highlight of the year was when we went to Spurn and saw the Barred Warbler which was feeding in berry bushes by the Warren. This stunning bird showed on and off for pretty much all the time we were watching it. At one point it showed right out in the open giving superb views. Also that day we saw Red Breasted Mergansers, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Merlin and lots more great birds. The Barred Warbler was my 200th bird on my life list.

Barred Warbler
9. Flamborough
Another highlight is when we took a trip to Flamborough to see the Serin. We managed great views of the Serin through out scope. Most of the time it was quite elusive. Afterwards we went to the Cliffs were we got absolutely superb views of Stonechat! We got within a few meters of some of them. Also we got a stunning Short Eared Owl which hunted over some of the grassland, at one point the Owl came fairly close to us and pretty much straight after that a Stoat crept out from one of the bushes.
Short Eared Owl


10. Black Necked Grebe
My last highlight is when we went to visit some Black Necked Grebes at RSPB St Aidans. We eventually found these great birds on one of the lakes around the reserve. They showed within a meter of us. It was absolutely incredible to get so close to these amazing birds.

Black Necked Grebes
Those were my 10 best highlights this year and probably one of my best ever birding years.


  1. What a fantastic year Ellis. I had forgotten some of those super highlights. 2013 will take some beating but I've got a feeling 2014 might be right up there.
    Happy New Year dude ;-))

  2. Great years birding Ellis , with great photos , hope 2014 is just as good for you both.