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Bird Report: Highlights of 2006

by Jim Pewtress


The year started with small flocks of 50 Siskin at Thornton Dale on 4th and 53 Redwing at Boltby on 7th. For the second winter a male and ringtail Hen Harrier were seen intermittently between the 12th and 24th January. 100 Fieldfares at Rudland on 18th with 6 Twite along Rudland Rigg on 20th. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Boltby on the 22nd was a good record. 30 Redpoll sp were at Gilling on 22nd and 20 early returning Lapwing on Rudland on 25th. A single Snow Bunting on Rudland Rigg on 25th and the only report of Golden Plover were 10 at Slingsby on 29th when there were also 5 Tree Sparrows. Three Woodcock at Sykes on 29th when 11 Yellowhammers at Slingsby. The end of the month saw the first Barn Owl of the year at Great Barugh and two Woodcock at Bulmer Hagg.


The Hen Harriers were seen again in February, a possible Peregrine on 12th and the first Buzzard 19th. A Kingfisher at Gilling Lakes on 6th, four Coal Tits and Crossbill plus 125 Canada Geese flying north at Snape on 11th with an unidentified goose flock going north at Sykes on the same day. Brambling were rare this winter with seven at Sykes on 17th. 70 geese flew over Kirkby on 18th and three Twite remained on Rudland Rigg to at least the 25th.


A Buzzard at Sykes and a ringtail on Harland Moor on 1st, with two Short-eared Owls at Wombleton on 2nd. Small flocks of 20 Redwing, 30 Goldfinch and 20 Siskin at Gilling on 4th and 5th when there was a large movement of birds over Kirkby, probably Jackdaws and Rooks going to roost. For the second winter a Raven was at Gilling on 8th. We don’t receive many reports of duck but 16 Tufted Duck at Gormire Lake on 11th and 25 Teal at Boltby on 19th are a welcome addition. A Merlin on Starfitts Lane on 14th and a ringtail again on 16th. 200 Greylag geese over Slingsby on 19th, a Merlin at Spring Wood Hill on 21st. The 25th saw 200 Black-headed and Common Gulls along Ings Lane, the first Chiffchaff was heard there, three Buzzards along Shaw Rigg, three returning Curlew, 200 Fieldfare, two Magpies, 180 Redwing, 100 Starlings and 10 Yellowhammers in Kirkby. 35 Red Grouse and four Snipe were at Rosedale Chimney on 26th. A Great Crested Grebe and three Goosander at Gilling Lakes on 29th when two Oystercatchers at Ashberry and the first returning Ring Ouzel at Ousegill. A Red-throated Diver flew east at Kirkby on 29th. The first Chiffchaff back at Gilling on 30th when also a Green Woodpecker. The month ended with a Dipper at Thornton Dale and ringtail at Barker Plantation on 31st.


A female Marsh Harrier passing through Rudland Farm on 1st with 24 Tufted Duck at Gormire Lake. A Peregrine at Sykes House on 2nd, with the first Swallow on Harland moor on 3rd. A Barn Owl at Harome crossroads on 4th and another Swallow at Bog House on 5th. A walk around Spires House on 8th produced 5 Crossbill, including a female carrying nesting material, a Goshawk, four Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Jays and the first Tree Pipit. Birds were beginning to move back to the moors with 150 Golden Plover at Rudland Farm, Ring Ouzel at Rigg Road, Stonechat at Ousegill and two Wheatears at Rosedale Bank on 9th, 800 Golden Plover at Low Paradise Farm on 10th when also a Kingfisher at Lowna. Blackcaps returned to Gilling and Slingsby on 14th with the first Willow Warbler at Gilling on 15th. Two pairs of Grey Wagtail returned to Gilling on 16th when there were 50 Curlew in Bransdale and 10 Herring Gulls at Pickering. Two pairs of Grey Wagtails at Lowna on 17th when also Wheatear and Stonechat at Ousegill. Two late Brambling were at Sykes on 21st with first Redstart and a Common Sandpiper at Gilling Lakes. 220 Black-headed Gulls at Slingsby on 22nd, the first Cuckoo at Sykes, when also three Crossbills and Reed Bunting, Barn Owl at Nunnington and Dipper on Hodge Beck. Two Crossbill at Blowith Wood on 23rd when first House Martin arrived back at Gilling and 150 Golden Plover on the Fadmoor/Gillamoor junction (mostly of the northern race). Buzzard at Lidmore and Short-eared Owl at West Ness on 24th, the first Swift back at Slingsby on 25th with a Cuckoo there on 27th. Ringtail Hen Harrier at Shaw Rigg and Ousegill on 27th when another Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Rosedale. Buzzard at Boltby on 30th, a single Fieldfare at Sykes and a Red Kite which remained into early May.


A Buzzard at Kirkby on 5th when a Ruddy Shelduck on High Hamer, a most unusual record. 10 Crossbills at Boltby on 6th, Whitethroat back at Slingsby on 7th and at Gilling Wood together with Garden Warbler, Redstart and Tree Pipit on 10th. An unusual record of a Nightjar hovering above the road near Barton-le-Street on 11th. Wood Warbler was late with the first at Gilling Wood on 20th. Nine Crossbill at Sykes on 24th with first Spotted Flycatcher on 26th. Buzzards at Boltby and Otterhills on 27th when three Pied Flycatchers at Stork House and a Red Kite at Slingsby. White Stork on the River Derwent may have passed in to our area on 27th when a Wood Warbler at Mitchell Hagg and Nightjar churring at Sykes on 29th with a Buzzard at Kirkby on 31st.


Cuckoo at Rosedale Abbey on 2nd, Spotted Flycatcher now nesting at Sykes on 5th, a Lesser Whitethroat at Swinton Ings on 7th when also 9 Skylarks. Barn Owl at Pickering on 8th when Cuckoo at Locker Low Moor and Boltby, Stonechat on Hawnby Moor with a Nightjar at Yearsley on 9th. Two pairs of Whinchat were feeding young at Ousegill on 10th. On 11th 70 Sand Martins at Helmsley, a Reed Bunting at Whitehouse and a single Spotted Flycatcher at Wrelton – this species also nested at Sleightholmedale. Two pairs of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Whitethroats, Tree Sparrow and Wren carrying food at Slingsby on 17th. Buzzard at Low Marishes on 18th and two Turtle Doves in Bransdale on 20th. Two Buzzards at Shaw Rigg on 23rd with 3 pairs Whinchat at Ousegill and two pairs of Yellow Wagtails at Cawton. A Sedge Warbler at Swinton Ings on 28th and 29th when four Blackcaps and Spotted Flycatchers in Pickering.


Post breeding flock of 11 Blackbirds at Low Park on 8th with a family party of Bullfinches (2 ad, 5 juvs). Merlin at Sykes on 14th when the Spotted Flycatchers fledged. Hobby at Sykes on 16th, Oystercatcher at Slingsby on 17th, seven Bullfinch at Boltby on 19th and six Cormorant at Slingsby on 20th when another, or same, Hobby at Sykes. Common Buzzard at Yealand Rigg on 22nd and Slingsby on 30th.


Post breeding flock of 40 Mistle Thrush at Rudland on 1st, eight Curlew on Harland Moor on 2nd with Green Woodpecker and two pairs of Stonechat at Whitehouse. A Kingfisher at Gilling Lakes and three Marsh Tits at Gilling on 6th. A female Marsh Harrier over Sykes on 9th and a Nightjar was flushed from moorland on 15th with another Marsh Harrier at Sykes on 16th. A Common Tern at Sykes on 20th when a Cormorant at Gilling Lakes and Buzzard at Gilling on 26th. 20 Red Grouse in Bransdale on 30th and four Buzzards at Bonfield Gill and one at Carlton on 31st.


Kingfisher at Gilling Lakes on 2nd and Sleightholmedale on 7th with a Black Redstart at Saltersgate on 9th. Buzzard over Beadlam on 10th and first post breeding flock of 100 Linnets along Fadmoor Road. 75 House Martins at Sykes on 21st and Buzzard at Ravenswick on 24th.


Three Magpies and nine Skylarks at Kirkby on 7th, Barn Owl at Thornton Dale on 9th and Swallow at Slingsby on 10th. 32 Red-legged Partridges nr Kirkdale on 14th were almost certainly released. Two Brambling arrived back at Sykes on 18th and a ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier returned to the moor on 21st. 100 Pink-footed Geese over Sykes on 29th and a male Merlin at Coulton on 30th.


Several flocks of 30 Siskin at Gilling on 4th and 25 Herring Gulls, 350 Lapwing and a Nuthatch at Newton-on-Rawcliffe on 5th. A juvenile/female Scaup at Nunnington on 6th and a Twite at Rudland Rigg on 8th and 14th. Barn Owl at Normanby on 12th. Reports of an Osprey around Howkeld Mill for several days and two Marsh Tits at Gilling on 19th. By 23rd three Twite and a Jack Snipe flushed at Howkeld Mill on 26th with two Cormorants at Kirkby Ings on 26th and 28th.


Two Long-eared Owls at Slingsby on 1st and a dead Leach’s Petrel found at Pickering on 5th was one of many found inland during the early part of December. A Barn Owl at Great Barugh on 5th and one at Wombleton on 8th. Six Siskin fed in a garden at Slingsby on 5th. Buzzard on Harland Moor and Sykes on 16th and at least six pairs of Stonechat were seen on 16th in the Rudland/Sykes area when also two Twite. 50 Siskin at Gilling on 17th, Kingfisher and eight Redpoll sp at Slingsby on 18th with two Woodcock at Sykes on 19th. Six Bullfinch at Slingsby on 27th, two Brambling at Stoneleigh on 28th, 50 Fieldfares at Slingsby on 29th with 25 Canada Geese south on 31st. The year ended with the two Twite remaining at Golden Heights.

Of interest:

A well watched garden can produce some interesting records. One of our members in Shaw Drive frequently observes the behaviour of a Sparrowhawk that visits on a regular basis. So you don’t need to go off into the countryside to watch interesting birds and their behaviour.

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