Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mr Big Stuff - Filey, 21st April 2013

Another excellent spring morning's birding, and it was all down to the big stuff today. An early session at the Dams was quiet, but just as I was about to go and kick a few bushes in the northern area, a Eurasian Jay flew north-west - a very tricky bird to nail generally here at Filey, let alone in the spring - which changed my mind for me, and within ten minutes I was back on my favoured cliff edge and sky-watching at Muston Sands.

Over the Brigg (and many unsuspecting day-trippers)

Despite struggling temperatures, the winds in the south-west and hazy high cloud offered some encouragement, and it wasn't long before things got interesting. A Red Kite north-west at 1030 continued what has already been a very good year for the species locally, but that was just a taste of things to come...

Aware of Crane activity further up and down the coast, I was hoping for some more good luck with this species here in my adopted manor (after the group of three which welcomed me almost a year ago to the day, and the single I had from the same spot a fortnight ago). With a lot of sky, land and sea to choose from,  I was fortunate to be scanning north-east at 1103, when in glided this beautiful beast, surprisingly low over the North Sea and for a second looking like it may pitch down on the Brigg....

For the next 25 minutes or so, the bird then proceeded to put on a stunning airshow over the bay and over the town, eventually heading high and directly out to sea at around 1130. Wonderful.

Back to the kites: I watched another two following the same path ten minutes after the first (when another two were simultaneously over the Dams, per JH), another single ambled north above me another fifteen minutes later, and then a pair - very likely involving two of the above birds - toured the town and seafront area a while later; a minimum of five thus far (assuming the very first bird was then involved at the Dams soon after, which is far from certain).

A little while later, and thanks to the wonders of modern communication, we were again able to ascertain that a pair in the southern area were in fact four - two over the golf course, and two new birds over Hunmanby Gap. So, a minimum of seven individuals between 0900 and 1300, a fantastic haul easily smashing the former local record.

With a pair of Red Kites looking on and laughing, this lady golfer smashed her shot into deep into the rough.

Other fly-bys included a Marsh Harrier (with a further two seen elsewhere in the recording area), plenty of Yellow Wags and corvids on the move, and a steady trickle of hirundines. April; love it.

One of at least five Common Buzzards moving through this morning

...and the game-changer, a Eurasian Jay early doors