|Gannets, Bempton Cliffs, 30th|
Busy times, what with moving house, guests staying, playing shows, and lack of internet for the best part of two weeks; so, a much-delayed summary for the last third of April.....
|Meadow Pipit, Carr Naze|
With a satisfyingly clear calendar and daily sessions in the field, there was plenty to enjoy, despite the relentless and often gale force south-westerlies, which made for frustratingly challenging conditions on most days during the period; hard work in truth, but with a few standout highlights making efforts worthwhile.
|Peregrine over the Country Park|
18th: Several hours at the wetland reserves of the Dams and East Lea produced four Common Sandpipers and four Dunlins, a male Mandarin, and up to a hundred hirundines battling the winds over the water, mostly Swallows and Sand Martins, but with House Martins scraping into double figures for the first time. A full circuit of the northern area on the 19th, more out of habit than sense, was predictably quiet given the conditions, with a couple of Wheatears at the Tip the pick of a sparse page in the notebook.
|Pale-bellied Brents off the Brigg|
The 20th called a change of plan, which involved pitching up in the hides at the Dams and East Lea from sunrise, and waiting. Reasonably successful, and telling, in that most of the waders recorded – a Little Ringed Plover, two Green Sandpipers and two Dunlins – all passed through before 0700, with none staying for more than a few seconds. Shovelers numbered six, and a pair of Mallards had four young ducklings at the Dams, the first of the spring. The highlight, however, was an immature Iceland Gull that drifted northwest early on, unfortunately not dropping in to loaf and bathe with congeners.
|Red Kite, 22nd|
To the clifftop sky-watchpoint for late morning, with the wind temporarily abating to moderate and small numbers of passerines on the move in the shape of hirundines, Meadow Pipits, Yellow Wagtails and finches; a Marsh Harrier high and west at 1115 and eleven Arctic Terns in the bay were the highlights.
|Teal at the Dams|
Another early start on the 21st, and a cracker of a session, described in detail right here, but a good few hours kicking back on the clifftop paid off beautifully - with a spectacular 45-minute airshow from a Common Crane, an Obs record of at least seven Red Kites, plus a Marsh Harrier and at least five Common Buzzards.
Almost unwatchable on the 22nd down to the increasingly strong south-westerlies, but in a mid-morning half-hour spent largely rescuing the 'scope from an early saltwater grave, another two Red Kites and a Common Buzzard battled south. The next two days were equally plagued by the wind, and rounds of the northern circuit and the Dams / East Lea were relatively uneventful, but for a decent arrival of warblers (esp Phylloscs, plus a first Common Whitethroat of the year), an explosion of butterflies (esp. Small Tortoiseshells) and Tree Pipit over.
|Brown Hare, Tip|
A respite on the 25th with genuinely light winds for the first time in years was a pleasure, and the fact that three Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the Brigg were the only notable record barely detracted from it. The following day and back came the winds, with little new to show for it but for the first Common Swifts gunning northbound.
|Grey Partridge, Tip|
The end of the month provided little in the continuing wild winds, although a brief trip down the road to Flamborough in search of the Iberian Chiffchaff proved instantly successful.....
|Iberian Chiffchaff, Flamborough, 28th|
.... and a new month was around the corner, with plenty of time in the field in the bank.