Friday, April 19, 2013

Filey, 12th - 18th April 2013

Little Ringed Plover, Dams, 14th

Well now, that was entertaining. All this in the space of one week, but then, the privileges of plenty of spare time during migration seasons and living at an East coast bird observatory are far from lost on me. If last April (my first month in the field here) was blinding, then this April is hardly proving pedestrian; who says spring is hard work on the east coast?

Osprey, 15th

12th: An early circuit of the northern area in thick fog and cold north-easterlies was more late October than mid-April, with parties of thrushes (mainly Redwings, but plenty of Fieldfares, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds too) dropping out of the sky and pitching down onto the first available solid ground, often just a few metres away. Bird of the day, however, was a brief, first Ring Ouzel of the year, within a mixed flock on the Country Park, soon disappearing into the mist.

Willow Warbler, Dams, 14th

13th: Similarly trying conditions, although with sunny breaks within the rolling banks of sea fret; another thorough combing of the northern area produced a little more activity, with a few common waders moving, double figures of Chiffys for the first time this spring, and a first for the year, a fresh-in Willow Warbler on Short Hedge.

Tufted Duck, Dams

14th: A sea-change in conditions, and thus, avian action. Very strong winds from the south, milder air and intermittent brightness made for a day full of promise - fully described here - with Whimbrel and Sand Martin on the early morning northern circuit (both new for the year), an entertaining session at the Dams and East Lea with a close-up Little Ringed Plover (a personal patch first) alongside a smart summer-plumage Green Sand, plus confiding Willow Warblers, more winter thrush activity, Swallows, more Sand Martins and a first House Martin trickling through, and Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the move.....

Chiffchaff, Dams

15th: Not a day to forget in a hurry, and best enjoyed vicariously over here in full. Visible migration watching seemed a better call in these battering winds than yet more early patrols of exposed, bending hedgerows and coastal scrub, and so to my favoured spot on the clifftop for a delayed mid-morning session - which brilliantly produced an Osprey, two Twite, streams of finches and hirundines (many coasting at ankle level), plus Wheatears, Yellow Wags and more.

Whitw Wagtail, East Lea, 17th

More than enough, but then Flamborough called, and it would've been rude not to answer. Baikal Teal and a truly stunning Goshawk - well worth the short soiree southbound.

Green Sandpiper, East Lea

16th: More absurdly strong south-westerlies, and a steady day without really kicking into gear; lots of hirundines through at the Dams, more warblers (including an overdue first Blackcap), the first Common Sand.... but with reports of Alpine Swift sightings seemingly all around us, what else to do than return to the clifftop, and wait. Sadly no joy for several hours during the afternoon, and in truth, more finch, wagtail and hirundine passage didn't really cut it.....

Common Sandpiper, East Lea

17th: Anticipation undimmed and back onto the clifftop for first light, and several hours sky-watching in temporarily abated southerly winds. Plenty of action - Marsh Harrier and Little Ringed Plover in off in the first half hour, Arctic Terns fishing below me, two Tree Pipits through, impressive numbers of  finches, Woodpigeons and more.... no swift again sadly, but you can't have everything.

Goldfinch, Church Ravine

Scours of local wooded ravines and cover after mid-morning showers provided scant evidence of grounded new arrivals, and so to the Dams and East Lea, where kicking back in the hides and waiting for something to happen with the winds again increasing seemed a good plan. The Dams was quiet but for a drake Baik... er Mandarin, but an always pleasurable, undisturbed session at East Lea produced brief cameos from another Little Ringed Plover (three in three days), two White Wagtails, seven Yellow Wagtails, and a (the?) Mandarin. Again, no sign of a white-bellied scythe in the darkening skies, but having been in the field for the best part of nine hours, duties called and my time was up.

Redwing, Dams

Come 7pm, with the Mrs about to get back from work and dinner ready to roll, the phone shows an incoming call from Syd.... guess what's battling the 40+ mph winds along the Brigg? Out in a flash, apologies yelled and graciously accepted, onto the bike and drawing on reserves I never knew I had, I was there maybe five minutes later, and there, against storm clouds and then down against the white horses, an Alpine Swift. Hallelujah.

Alpine Swift, Carr Naze, 17th

18th: The week ended on a relatively quiet note, with the gale force westerlies continuing; sessions at the Dams and East Lea produced four Common Sandpipers, four Dunlins and the Mandarin amongst others, and a good showing of all three hirundines battling the conditions. A timely breather after an excellent week, with the best part of the month still to come....

Peregrine & (ex-) Eurasian Teal, North cliff