Sunday, July 1, 2012

Filey, 16th - 30th June 2012

Well, what should've been arguably one of the dullest fortnights of the year happily turned out to be far from it. One of the obvious advantages of spending several days a week monitoring the bay (from early morning to late evening) is being in the right place at the right time for early movements and potential long shots, of which there have been both over the last few days.

Long-tailed Duck in the bay corner, 27th

While on the one hand it'd of course bring greater avian returns during main migration periods, on the other there's the benefit of being in such a situation when coverage, and inclination, are otherwise at an absolute minimum. To spend 14 hours straight on a late June day on the off chance of something flying by would otherwise be borderline lunacy, but when you're there anyway, something has to give.

The two main highlights have both been brief visitors to the bay, each present for just seconds. Nothing less than a Long-tailed Duck settled briefly in the bay corner in the squally morning showers of the 27th before disappearing just as quickly - extremely rare outside of the winter months (when typically there are a handful of records annually), and thus fabulously off-the-radar. Arguably even harder still to catch up with locally, a Little Tern heading north along the Brigg on the 25th was another very pleasant surprise.

The Brigg from Arndale

Eiders and Common Scoters are ever-present, with a handful of the former and up to 75 of the latter in the bay; three Teal were also in the bay corner on the 20th, and two Shelduck headed south on the 25th. Odd Great Crested Grebes and Red-throated Divers are still around, and a dark-bellied Brent Goose spent a couple of hours loafing with the Shags and seals out on the Brigg on the early morning of the 25th.

Skuas have been represented by Bonxies (overland on the 18th, on the Brigg on the 20th) and a single dark-morph Arctic south on the 25th; gulls have included a trickle of Black-headed and Common as well as the usuals; and the animated shrieks of Sandwich Terns are a ubiquitous sound.

Red Kite

Aside from Oystercatchers (and odd Dunlins, Redshanks and Ringed Plovers) on the Brigg, waders have begun to move, with Curlews heading the cast; single figures became routinely double, with up to twenty going through on several days. Whimbrels have also sneaked through with their larger congeners, with a peak of three on the 25th.

 A crappy place to live

Of raptors, local Peregrines, Kestrels and Sparrowhawks put in regular appearances, while both Red Kite (23rd) and Hobby (27th) were unwelcome and duly driven out to sea. Preceded by an immature Grey Heron an hour earlier, a Little Egret came in off the sea on the 19th; the same morning was memorable for a huge passage of Swifts, numbering at least 600 in the first three hours.

Bonxie heading overland

Migrant passerines have been predictably thin, but occasional Siskins have coasted and a Crossbill flew low and north, calling regularly on the 27th. So much for June being dull, and as July begins, the possibilities begin to broaden again. If only I year-listed....