Thursday, April 11, 2013

Filey, 1st - 11th April 2013

Chiffchaff at the Dams - a sprinkling arrived this week

Finally enough action and enough time in the field to kick-start the local patch summaries again, and if there's half as much drama as last April here at Filey, entertainment and inspiration shouldn't be too hard to come by. The first six days of the month remained in the grip of the same bone-chilling, relentless north-easterlies which effectively wrote off the previous month, but finally conditions changed on the 7th. As described in the previous post, it was a fine day in the field, and suddenly, the doors were blown open again.

Goldcrest, Church Ravine - outbound migrants well scattered locally

Grey Partridge - happily unavoidable at the moment 

The highlight was a Common Crane, picked up circling high just a couple of minutes into a mid-morning sky-watch, with entertaining back-up from a Red Kite, several Common Buzzards, and tons of passerines coasting north (including 360 Meadow Pipits in two hours). Last but hardly least, the first Wheatear for the year here kindly popped up on the 18th green of the neighbouring golf course, ushering in spring proper.

Harbour Porpoise, sadly washed up on the beach

A female Red Crested Pochard at the Dams caused a stir amongst the more undiscerning local listers on the same day (bless - perhaps a spot of London birding would temper the hype afforded this widespread feral wanderer), and grounded passerines included Chiffchaffs, Redwings, Goldcrests and plenty of Blackbirds and Robins, no doubt itching to crack on back their breeding areas.

Reed Bunting, belting it out at Carr Naze pond

The 8th saw a return to the cold, dreary, blustery conditions and the tortuous NE wind, and a circuit of the northern area was predictably hard work; until a Firecrest briefly materialised in a windswept hedge by the Tip, that is (the only bird in 200 metres of hawthorn and blackthorn....). A scarce bird here, I've been lucky enough to bump into last year's only record and this year's first, hopefully with more to come.

Brown Hare at the Tip

Rabbits on Carr Naze - an essential part of a special eco-system 

The 9th, 10th and 11th were all relatively quiet, with the same species in the notebook - Chifffys, Redwings, well scattered Snipe, a squealing Water Rail at the Dams, the odd Siskin - although the daily quest for a Black Redstart or a Ring Ouzel is far from over.....

Meadow Pipit - can't move for 'em round these parts

The Dams and East Lea - two neighbouring local wetland reserves, a five minute cycle from the front door - are looking very good habitat-wise, with plenty of exposed mud and marshy areas; yet to provide so far this spring, but they inevitably will, hence almost daily rounds of both at the moment. Hence a lack of notables from both sites during visits on each of the last four days is an irrelevence, and I'll happily keep the routine up over the coming weeks.

Stock doves, Church Ravine - subtly beautiful, underrated birds