Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Flamborough pelagic - Caspian Gull

From a couple of weeks back... a bespoke Yorkshire Coast Nature pelagic out of Bridlington harbour and off Flamborough Head on 1st September, with great company and great birds - a real highlight of which was this exceptionally accommodating juvenile Caspian Gull. More to follow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A terning tide

Catching up: these from ten days ago on the end of the Brigg, with warm evening sunshine, a choppy sea and a rapidly encroaching high tide leaving me perched on the outer rocks with an entertaining group of Common Terns. Getting back was interesting, but well worth it of course....

(Plus one of 'our' colour-ringed Turnstones for compamy)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Filey, August 2014

Little Egret - a permanent late summer / early autumn presence
Ok, so bear with me - a lot has happened of late, but instead of letting it all slide, I'm committed to catching up (even if it results in a temporary lowering of the bar regarding quality of content)....

Swallow, Carr Naze Pond
First up, then - August. With plenty more going on besides straight-up birding (fieldwork, reports, weekends in London and a long-overdue trip back to Berlin), it came and went in somewthing of a flash from an avian perspective; arguably no bad thing, because in truth, even when conditions were promising and the decks were clear, it hardly set the world on fire.

An oddly pale Kestrel frequenting the Top Fields at the end of the momth
The sea had its moments, as it always does in early autumn. An always impressive Cory's Shearwater cruised effortlessly north on 19th (the same day as a Blue Fulmar and five Sootys), several small groups of Little Terns passed the Brigg (in a particularly good year here for this only-just-annual species), and all four skuas were present and correct (thanks in no small part to two Long-tails and three Poms on a great evening seawatch on 26th, which also included a Black Tern, 20-odd Arctic Skuas and big numbers of gulls and terns).

Greenshank - pleasingly regular at the Dams and East Lea

The Dams and (especially) East Lea attracted a rich and varied cast of waders to their muddy fringes, where up to ten species per day became an impressive norm; numbers of Ruff were especially notable, often in double figures and reaching 16 on one ot two dates. Despite reasonably good coverage, no scarcity as yet; still, they have a better track record for attracting oddities in Sep and Oct, so plenty to play for yet.

A brief Common Tern - far from it at the Dams
Talking of scarcities, for the first August since moving here I had no luck with finding a rarer passerine this time round, despite potentially promising conditions towards the end of the month; I must've used up my annual Icterine quotent in the spring, and if there were Wrynecks and Barred Warblers out there (which there surely were), they beat me this month. No matter, September has already redressed the balance, and most of the autumn is still to come....

Wall - a good year for this species locally
Small Copper
Arctic Skua in the Bay Corner
A Wheatear showing off its sense of direction in the caravan park
Blue-morph Budgerigar in the coastal hedges....
A fantastically tame and inquisitive Wheatear on Carr Naze
Marsh Harrier - happily an expected August fly-through these days
Fishing competitions continued to bring in the punters at East Lea...
....while hirundines fed on insects on the dry mud cliffs of Carr Naze


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The best eight quid you'll spend this year

After no small amount of toil over recent momths, the all-new lip-smackin' Filey Bird Report has successfully fledged, and I'm happy to report all the effort has been more than worthwhile.

We've completely overhauled it inside and out, changed the format, size, layout and pretty much everything else, made it more accessible (aesthetically and otherwise), significantly upped the bar re: quality of content, expanded and revised various sections (including the annual review and other taxa), stuffed the gallery full of top-quality colour photos, and kept the price down to a cheap-at-twice-the-price eight quid.

Despite the fact that we have no paid staff, no corporate funding or financial backers, no premises etc, as a small but vibrant Obs we were determined to create something a bit special, that at least matches (and arguably surpasses) the best of its counterparts, and thanks to a dedicated and inspired team, I reckon we've succeeded.

Hard to believe that just a a couple of years ago (before my time) there was mounting pressure to ditch the annual report altogether - it'd be terribly smug to revel in how much has changed since then, wouldn't it?

All proceeds go directly towards our voluntary conservation work here in the Filey area (including the management and improvement of our reserves for birds and wildlife), and in case you missed it, it's yours for eight quid (plus p+p). Click here and enjoy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Forest insects

Black Darter
An excellent day up in the North Yorks forests yesterday, co-leading a Yorkshire Coast Nature tour for an enthusiastic group of clients. Despite the strong winds we did well, especially for raptors and insects; of the latter, dragonflies were particularly good value.

Keeled Skimmer
More from back on the patch to follow soon.....

Painted Lady
Common Hawker

Monday, August 11, 2014


With apologies for the lack of updates of late - it's been a very busy few weeks, with surveys, reports and articles to crack on with, as well as the events to organise and co-ordinate for the Filey Wildlife Weekend - a fantastic success, and a credit to everyone who helped, got involved and enjoyed. More on this another time soon.

All of which meant that time spent in the field has been somewhat reduced; thankfully not the greatest of sacrifices, with pretty modest early autumn movements and nothing too exciting locally as yet. After sterling work from the conservation team, the Dams finally had mud and therefore an attraction to waders by early this month, and a steadily increasing range of the commoner species are enjoying the spoils. The sea has been quiet, and the land is just beginning to register passerine migrants, with warblers and the odd chat leading the way.

And so to Berlin - back soon.

From the top - Knot on the Brigg, Common Tern at the Dams, Arctic Skua past High Brigg, Southern hawker at the Dams, Little Egret at East Lea, Wall, Small Copper and Swallow on Carr Naze, and Knot.