Monday, April 14, 2014

Filey, 1st - 14th April 2014

A superbly tame Wheatear on the Tip

Not a great deal of time in the field owing to other commitments over the last fortnight, but plenty to enjoy nonetheless. From the beginning: The first few days of the month were characterised by cool easterlies and mist, with modest numbers of passerines getting through as a result - except for a few Wheatears (including four on 3rd, three of which were together at the Tip), plus small scatterings of Fieldfares, Song Thrushes, Redwings, Blackbirds, Robins, Chiffys and Goldcrests.

A pair of Avocets briefly at the Dams on 4th (plus odd Woodcocks and Snipe locally) were the pick of the waders, but with the winds swinging into the south-west, it was time to get reacquainted with my chosen clifftop watchpoint at Muston Sands on the 5th for some long-awaited vismigging.

The year's first ducklings at the Dams at the start of the month

Three and a half hours worth of quality and quantity followed: of the former, the star bird was a Crane, circling over the Brigg before disappearing into the ether late morning (my tenth self-found here in two years - amazing), as well as a Red Kite west, several Common Buzzards (plus an interesting, as-yet-unidentified Buteo which may or may not feature here again soon), and a Corn Bunting south at head height (barely annual here, and therefore a real headliner).

Avocets leaving the Dams, 4th

More than enough reward, but amply backed up by some impressive passerine action, most of which was streaming south - over 400 Linnets, 173 Goldfinches, 100 Meadow Pipits, plus Wheatears, Bullfinches, Bramblings, the first Swallows of the year and various other bits; most of the birds were hugging the line of the cliffs in the brisk wind and passing wonderfully close (often at foot level) as a result. A great early spring morning.

Pied Wag on Carr Naze

A day co-leading a tour for Yorkshire Coast Nature on 6th was enjoyably successful, despite the unfavourable conditions (cool, very windy, mostly dull and showery) for our target species of Goshawks and Adders, which we enjoyed prolonged and excellent views of. (More YCN action to follow thorugh the coming months.)

Male Adder, North Yorks

Crane #10 (and the worst photo yet)

Attentions turned to human visitors for the next few days, and aside from bumping into the odd Wheatear and a few Sand Martins on non-birding walks, it wasn't until the 12th that I was back in the field properly. Another vismig session from Muston Sands followed, and while not nearly as productive as the one described above, there was still a fair amount of passerine traffic, and several personal and patch firsts for the year in the shape of Yellow Wagtail, House Martin, Blackcap and Sandwich Tern.

Fieldfare at the Tip

With the revolving door of our unofficial B&B still very much in motion, it'll be a while before I'm back to full strength from a coverage perspective, but I'll be sneaking out with more regularity over the coming week or two.... and for those interested, I've grasped another previously avoided nettle and joined the inevitable Twitter steamroller - see the upper right-hand column if you're interested.

Roe Deer