Jono Leadley, of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, reports on some unusual visitors to the area of late.

Much has already been written about the deluge of waxwings into Yorkshire. This attractive avian traveller has graced rowan trees across the county from early November, when a sprinkling made landfall along the Yorkshire coast.

Large flocks of these bohemian-crested Scandinavians plundered berries in town centres and supermarket car parks in Hull and York before filtering further west and south, with large congregations in Sheffield and Leeds at the time of writing.

These influxes, known as irruptions, occur sporadically and are due to a productive breeding season followed by a scarcity in winter food in the birds’ usual wintering range in continental Europe.

Another arrival, possibly from the continent, but perhaps from a more local source was a bittern which arrived at North Duffield Carrs.

A rare visitor to the York area, this cryptically-coloured denizen of the marshes, spent its week-long stay stalking around the reed swamp in front of the Geoff Smith Hide, often providing great views to a procession of local birders.

The major floods which happened during the last week seem to have made conditions a little too wet for this bird, which seems to have moved on.

If the weather gets colder, more of these spectacular small herons could make an appearance.

The bittern was also the 171st species to be recorded by York University student Tim Jones who has beaten the previous record of 170. Tim has worked hard to record as many wild bird species as possible across the area since January 1 and beat the record on November 16 when he glimpsed the bittern.

His highlights have included a wide range of species, many of which are unusual in the York area, including Temminck’s stint, Artic skua, crane, black-necked grebe and even a wandering gannet, seen flying over his local birding patch at the Heslington East campus!

For more information about Tim’s impressive feat check out his blog

As we approach the season of goodwill do spare a thought for the county’s wildlife. It is a good time to stock up your bird feeders as nature’s harvest begins to dwindle in the hedgerows and woods.

Vine House Farm in Lincolnshire grow the majority of their bird seed themselves, unlike many companies that import food from Eastern Europe. The farm has won many conservation awards too, for their work to improve their farm for wildlife.

And even better news is that if you buy from them, five per cent of the value of the order will be given to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to help us work hard for Yorkshire’s wildlife. So buy from and you will help your local wildlife twice!

You can also help local wildlife by supporting Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Consider a gift of membership for a loved one. Simply drop us a line on 01904 659570 or log on to

Your membership subscriptions all go to help fund our work to look after the 95 nature reserves, such as Askham Bog, Spurn, North Cave Wetlands, Moorlands and Wheldrake Ings, along with our work to influence landowners and policy makers and inspire people about the natural world. With your support we can make 2013 even better for Yorkshire’s wildlife.