15th to 17th June light to fresh N-NW mostly cloudy and cool
“There be quail, Captain.” A text from Tim Jones tells me that there are quail around the North Duffield area. I am on my way around lunchtime though leaving the comfort of the new Spurn Bird Observatory is tough. Thanks Spurn, delivered as always. Bee-eater and golden oriole added to the list.
Through Hull and along the lanes, I head for North Cave Wetlands reserve, a superb Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve with gravel pits and black-headed gull covered islands.
At one spot the cycle path is blocked by a mass of fly tipped bin liners and assorted rubbish.
A stop in North cave is for the best fish and chips that I have had this year. Give my compliments to the chef!
I arrive at the reserve and watch gulls and duck from the first hide.
Leaving a hide I meet a scout troop that have been doing some work. Their leader and a local birder, Barry tell me that there is a probable lesser scaup on the other side of the reserve. I head that way after looking at Mediterranean gulls amongst the many black-headeds. Interesting to see how mature the black-headed gull chicks are here. There are lots and some have fledged already.
Once around the north side I meet two Garys. There won't be many times when such an occurrence will occur again. The news tells that the name will be extinct in the future as no one is naming their child such a magnificent name.
So with North cave's highest lister, Gary; Yorkshire highest 2016 year lister, Garry and me, Britain's highest Green lister, we look for the lesser scaup. Unfortunately it has flown and Gary, the local is not sure of its full credentials anyway. Seems there is too much white on the upper wing and it may be a little too large. He has told me that there is a nearby spot that has had quail in the past and so, as the other two go in search of the maybe rare American duck, I head for a nearby ridge and camp there for the night hoping to hear the resonant 'wet-my-lips' call. I don't.
There's a metal bench conveniently placed at this remote spot and after packing away the tent, I lie on it hoping once more that any quail will call. Once more they don't but I do hear skylarks, corn buntings, yellowhammers and yellow wagtails whilst lying with eyes closed.I fall asleep.
There is another possible quail site not too far away as one was reportedly heard there the previous evening. I therefore head for North Cliff wood.
It all looks a bit like a needle in a haystack as there are a lot of possible fields with high crops that could conceal a quail or two. I start to stop and give each field a few minutes before moving onto the next.
At one particularly large barley field I think I have heard one call and so stop and push the bike the length of the field. No joy.
Now I am still in an area ten miles or so before the one mentioned by Tim Jones and so I decide to head that way.
Half a mile or so later I think I have heard a quail. I stop beside a large barley field at a junction with a road that heads down to Carr Farm.Wet-my-lips! Quail utb. It calls four times and like so many times when I have listened to them in the past, that's it.
I text the oracle with the news and location details for Rare Bird Alert. Bird number 255.
I set off for Wheldrake Ings, yet another Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve near to York. I had visited here the day after the RSPB Member's Weekend back at the beginning of April. Then there were large areas of flooded fields and the river was in spate. Now it was lush, the meadows dry and green and the trees and bushes leaf laden. Banded demoiselles and blue-tailed damselflies fluttered along the pathway and the occasional willow and sedge warbler sang. A peaceful afternoon and evening.
17th June to York
Into York, I find a cycle shop and hear that the bike will probably be in need of too much of a repair and a replacement will have to be found. That crash back in November last year has left its legacy and the frame is ruined at the front. I had half expected this news and leave the bike for Andy, the shop owner to do his best.
I wander through the streets of York, buy a ticket for the train back to Worcestershire and head to the library.
I am meeting my daughter, Rebecca this evening for the journey back to my parents’ house and so have a few hours to fill.
Horrific news about the Labour MP being killed. The hatred displayed by too many during this EU campaign fills me with despair.
3 day mileage . . 82.45
Year's mileage … 4,203