Friday, August 26, 2016


I still can't seem to get enough of Fulmars, to the point where I'm still constantly distracted by them during sea-watches (and thus they may well be responsible for me missing the Bulwer's as it sweeps by in front of the hide). But there's few more beautiful sights than one approaching at close range out of a storm and into the evening sunshine, and the end of the Brigg is the perfect place to experience them.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Birdfair 2016

Well, that was fun. Amity and I are just back from this year's Birdfair, and what a blast it was, on every level. We were there to represent Yorkshire Coast Nature, our local wildlife tour company out here on (you guessed it) the Yorkshire coast, with company directors, close friends and all-round top geezers Rich and Steve.

It's been a real pleasure to be involved with YCN since its inception a few years ago, and it's hard to imagine more lovely people to work with; long may it continue to prosper, and I'd recommend the tours and workshops to anyone.... (and we won 2nd prize for best tourism stand - quite an accolade with so much quality competition!).

With the boys working it hard on the stand, we had plenty of opportunity to explore, although any good intentions to catch lectures during the day went out of the window - with so many people to talk to, it could take an hour or more to make it out of one tent and into the next. But we made it around most of the stands and around most of the site eventually, and it was better than ever.

Come Friday afternoon and it was time to deliver my lecture - a quickfire, super-distilled, bespoke Birdfair version of my (typically 90-minute-plus) 'Filey International - Arrivals and Departures at North Yorkshire's Bird Observatory' talk. As anyone familar with Birdfair knows, there's an overwhelmingly international bias to the lectures, and the vast majority involve far flung and exotic places - and so to be representing not only a British location but a small Yorkshire bird observatory was a real privilege. Better still, it was a full house, and a great audience - plenty of whom tracked me down afterwards with some lovely feedback.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Birdfair is indeed the people - re-acquainting with old friends and colleagues, connecting in the real world with virtual brethren, and making new friends from often unexpected places. I'm not always great with crowds - especially not for three solid days - and have a habit of zoning out periodically when immersed in such environs (and so apologies if you were a victim of such a wide-eyed blackout), but for the most of the time I think I managed to pay attention... I did consider an attempt at roll-calling all those who made it such a great weekend, but soon realised they really were too many, and all I'd achieve would be the accidental omission of various lovely people - so I'll just have to pull the old 'you know who you are' chestnut out of the fire. You know who are.

Special mention must however go to our dear friends the Perlmans - Yoav, Adva, Noam, Uri and Libby feel like family these days (and were also the bargaining chip that ultimately persuaded Amity to pull the many strings to be there!), which is all thanks to a much-missed mutual friend of ours, a certain Mr Garner. Yoav (and Keith and Paul) did Martin proud at the RSPB Friday evening lecture dedicated to him, and there was inevitably and hearteningly an awful lot of love and respect in the room. Maybe we can work on a more permanent event or suchlike to honour our friend? We'll see.

So - thanks to everyone who made it such a blast, to Tim for being the perfect host, and to the awesome Tina for going the extra mile. Here's to next year!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dams Spot Red

It's picking up nicely over at the Dams, with lots of mud pulling in an increasingly interesting cast of waders. Among small handfuls of Ruff, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlins, this very smart juvenile Spotted Redshank dropped in the other day, and unusually has stuck around since. I've had them annually since arriving here, but they're a tough bird to get on a local year list and most are flyovers - so, a nice treat and a bit of extra inspiration for the coming weeks.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Rain hard, Reynard

Out here in the countryside, our foxes are far less trusting of humans (for good reason), and so any episode which involves getting close to them is a rare treat indeed. One such episode occurred early this morning, when - in a torrential downpour that soaked everything (including me) to the skin - I was drying out in the hide at the Dams, when I noticed I had company arriving from over the reserve. Expecting the new arrival to bolt when confronted with me, instead, the noise of the camera shutter proved too much of a curiosity. Beautiful.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cliff Riches

A few from yesterday's weekly Kittiwake productivity plot - above, adult and below, just fledged juvenile, plus Fulmar and a smart, fresh, local juvenile Peregrine.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Too much to Swallow

A joy to spend time with here on Carr Naze, Filey this morning, several Swallow families were quality entertainment, especially when the parents fed the young (successfully or otherwise - note last shot).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Four-spotted Chasers & Black-tailed Skimmers

As avian action predictably ebbs, so Odonata flows - especially with the beautiful weather here on the North Yorkshire coast presently. Lots of dragonflies to enjoy here in Filey at the moment, and while I don't have a fancy macro lens or the like, it's good to be able to shoot the more co-operative types, which in this case are Four-spotted Chasers (above and below) and Black-tailed Skimmers (lower two).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Stormy nights

From the night before last: A killer sunset greeted us over the Rocket Pole Field as we descended the slope down to the Brigg, followed by another successful catch of six Stormies (including this bird) - it's going very well this year, with a tally of 26 over four attempts. Proceedings were rounded off by an unexpected and incredible light show out over the sea (see very poor and unrepresentative hand-held kit lens photo below) - the multi-coloured phenomena of noctilucent clouds. We got lucky, with a bright and kaliedoscopic performance to rival any aurora, shifting in shape and colour as we watched from the shore.

For more details on when the sessions take place and how to attend, please email me at mpearson[at]

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rare breeders

As in, local rare breeders.... Mistle Thrushes are increasingly hard to come by as a local breeding species, and so this juvenile (one of a family party) was a pleasure to bump into this week. Better still, a tip-off from a local (thanks Andy) put me on the trail of a pair of Little Owls; a little sniffing around resulted in one bird giving itself up in a hedgerow close to what looks like a perfect breeding location. They've become so rare locally that they're recorded less than annually in the Obs area, and this bird was in fact a new species for my Filey list (if I had one).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Midsummer miscellany

Roe Deer stag, Parish Wood
Grey Partridge, Rocket Pole Field
Seal pup on the beach
Painted Lady
Painted Lady
Ruff and Mallard ducklings, East Lea
Male Bullfinch, Top Scrub
Common Scoters from the Brigg (with Bempton Cliffs as a backdrop)
Gadwall and Teal off the Brigg
Bar-tailed Godwit