Saturday, April 5, 2014

Filey, 1st - 15th March 2014

Young Grey seal on the Brigg
 
With spring finally taking hold, time to get back into the swing of writing up regular summaries of local adventures here at Filey. Traditionally using the arrival of the first long-distance migrants as the starting point, I'll rewind a little further back for good measure and kick off at the beginning of March this time round....

Dunlin on the Brigg
 
In a generally quiet first half of the month, I continued to check the bay daily, the Brigg regularly and the Dams / East Lea every few days at least, while the Top Fields remained firmly on the agenda for wintering passerines. In the bay, the lingering Slavonian Grebe roosted with a few Great Crests on 3rd, but had moved on by the next day, while a few Little Gulls continued to grace the waves into the second week (after a memorable few weeks with them locally).

Dark-bellied Brent Goose
 
The open waters were relatively uneventful (at least compared to the preceding months), although there were exceptions - in addition to a modest scattering of the aforementioned grebes, Red-throated Divers, Eiders, Wigeon and others, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese on 10th included one superbly tame bird that hung around the Brigg for a few days, a raft of 25 Whooper Swans were offshore on 12th, and a Bonxie (my first of the year) headed north on 13th.

A dishevelled Grey Wagtail on the beach huts
 
Watching two Black-throated Divers simultaneously on my high tide scan on 10th, meanwhile - after suspecting a multiple wintering presence for some time - was very satisfying (and exceptional locally); after a couple of further sightings mid-month, the Black-throats slipped quietly away, reflecting a general exodus of bay-dwellers during the period.

Adult Med Gull from the study window - the house list grows (very slowly)....
 
At the Dams and East Lea, the variety and abundance of wildfowl slowly but surely built up during the course of the month, although nothing too out of the ordinary joined their increasing ranks, and the best of the bunch were two Goosander on 7th.

 
Passerine migrants began to register by the second week, and a window of high pressure encouraged a surge of pipits and wagtails on 9th, which included the year's first (and my earliest ever) White Wagtail on Carr Naze; singing Chiffchaffs and hissing Goldcrests were ubiquitous sounds in local hedges and woodlands from then onwards, and numbers of Linnets, Goldfinches and others began to build steadily.

 
Back up in the Top fields, Snow Buntings continued to entertain, and at times it was hard to leave them alone..... 15 on 12th included a colour-ringed bird which, surprisingly, was trapped in France just a fortnight or so previously (see here for full details). Small Tortoiseshells, Puffins, Kittiwakes and Redwings all began to appear in increasing numbers, and the second half of the month would see plenty more action.

Guillemots and (several) Razorbills - if you're bored, why not try finding them?