Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Birding for The Clampdown #2 - 25th March

White Wagtail - an uncommon migrant
Day two of the (kind-of) lockdown, and more silver linings. Because of restrictions on local caravan sites I'm unable to access both of my go-to visible migration watch-points at Reighton Sands and Gristhorpe Bay respectively, so this morning I meandered south the much closer distance to my original watch-point of Muston Sands, on the clifftop just south of Filey town and only 15 minutes walk from the house.

White Wagtail
I'll go into the minutiae of this vantage point another time soon (plemty of opportunity, that's for sure); for now, a few photos from what was a hugely enjoyable session this morning, with light SSW winds and under blue skies and increasingly warm sunshine.

Three of 133 Chaffinches heading south
With passerine vismig usually at its most intense in the hours immediately after dawn, arriving at 0845 was very much being late to the party in that respect; but a) there are various species which continue moving much later, and b) it's not all about the little stuff by any means - benign conditions and developing thermals as the morning wears on often means bigger, broad-winged species on the move.

... and one high overhead (heavily cropped)
But I digress. Knowing that I'd missed the early window this morning, I didn't expect much to be on the move, but it was surprisingly productive - and highlights included my (and the area's) first Sand Martin of the year, a Corn Bunting south, three White Wagtails (one on the golf course, two south) among a dozen Pied, almost a hundred Meadow Pipits, five Chiffchaffs (including one stepping-stone migrating along the clifftop) and no fewer than 133 Chaffinches.

Sand Martin or smudge on your screen? 
The latter, as with most of this morning finches, were moving south, in everything from singles to groups of 20, often high and over a broad front, from over the beach on eastern side to well inland on the west.

One of at least 17 Common Buzzards viewable from Muston Sands this morning, It's always tricky working out which ones are on the move and which are local breeders, but even accounting for all the latter being in play (8, max 10), at least eight were 'moving today. 
So, another good morning of quality birding, with the added bonus of plenty of butterfly action, including Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Peacocks. Many a reason to be cheerful.

Peacock on the clifftop
White Wagtail

Dedicated to the legend Bill Thompson III, who moved on a year ago today. Fly free, BT3!