Wednesday, June 15, 2016

(Food) chain of fools

Being a young Mallard, Moorhen or Coot at this time of year means your chances of survival are about as likely as England dazzling in a European championship, but then at least these chick-shaped energy bars have a purpose in the grander scheme of things.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

More from last month .....

Spring-cleaning the memory card, and so here's a few more (common) bits and pieces from last month on the land here at Filey. (From the top - Barn Owl, Pied Wagtail, Red Kite, Great Spotted Woodpecker, juvenile Starling, Cuckoo vs. Meadow Pipit, Grey Partridge, and a momentarily heart-stopping Herring Gull in disguise).

Monday, June 6, 2016

Diamonds and Perlmans

I'm not the greatest fan of bank holiday weekends - I'm an east coast birder in a seaside town, after all - but when spent in the company of the six-strong Perlman clan, it's a different bag of chips.

Local trips to Bempton Cliffs, the North Yorkshire forests, fossil-hunting on the beach and lots of fun elsewhere made for a blast of a weekend in great company (even Bamba the dog is friendly and chilled).

And there's a nerdily special thrill in getting to show a birding friend the local patch for the first time - a bit like letting your mate from school have a go on your prized, hand-made train set that took you years to build - and this being early summer on the east coast, in appropriately October-like conditions (I hired the smoke machine especially, just for the full effect).

My Mrs on Libby duty (note traces of Bamba)

Picnicking at Bempton - she saved me a crust

Uri digiscoping Puffins...

"And this is where I found ...." Yeah, fascinating....zzzzzz"

Monday, May 30, 2016

Injury-time Shrike

Truth be told it's been hard work here on the patch this spring, with very few windows of opportunity for anything a bit tastier to make it through, and no good fortune to speak of (despite being out pretty much every day). But when the forecasts for the last few days of the week spoke of an easterly airflow with accompanying messy weather set to kick in just as I'd submitted my last major assignment for this year's degree module, the decks were duly cleared.

The initial (and potentially only) view....
Out for dawn on 26th in fog, drizzle and a light easterly and hopes were high; nine hours in the field and virtually no new migrants later, a little less so. But with Icterine Warblers and Red-backed Shrikes turning up along the coast, one or the other had to be out there somewhere; another dawn circuit and another full day later, and the 27th proved otherwise...

...... but then close enough to ID comfortably.....
With guests arriving and other priorities taking over in the afternoon, the morning of 28th was a last throw of the die; and thankfully, finally, a reward, with an initially distant shrike-like shape (how many of those have I checked over the last few days?) morphing satisfyingly into a smart female Red-backed. Hardly earth-shattering, but a hard-fought and very welcome find that made the effort worthwhile.

.... and then enjoy properly at closer quarters. All's well that ends well. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

May so far at Filey's wetlands

Well, it's not exactly been a vintage spring thus far, and real quality has been hard to come by (although there's been plenty to enjoy of course). In addition to breeding activities, our neighbouring wetland reserves of the Dams and East Lea always produce some interest at this time of year - despite the necessary maintenance of high water levels to give nesting birds the best possible chance - and the last week or so has seen a Spoonbill drop in for an evening, a pair of Garganey for a few hours, the odd Little Egret, a constant presence of Common Sandpipers (with three together at East Lea), the odd Green Sand, Dunlin and Snipe, and a regular changeover of up to 11 Mute Swans.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Famous Five

As of yesterday, our American friend unwittingly passed yet another improbable anniversary, having been in situ for no less than five months - an amazingly long stint by any standards, and an almost unthinkable possibility when he arrived back on 15th December last year. It's reaching the point where (as a first-calendar-year on arrival) he's spent as much of his life in Filey Bay as he has in his native Nearctic.

Recent weeks have seen him getting a little more jumpy, making sojourns to the north side of Brigg and even Flamborough for a few days, and with increasing disturbance in his favoured area from fishing and pleasure boats, it may not be long before he finally bids us adios; probably not before getting personal with various other bay dwellers, however, another illustration of which can be found below - in which he gave male Eiders plenty of aggro and females unrequited affection.

(Thanks to my talented wife Amity for the above....)