Champions of the Flyway!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Filey, 19th - 25th November 2012


Overall a pretty quiet period, with a few notable exceptions. A wander to East Lea (a small wetland reserve owned and managed by the local group and full of potential) on the beautifully sunny morning of the 23rd was unremarkable, until around 30 Pink-feet came in from the north, kindly putting me on to a Hen Harrier heading in the same direction - which I'd have missed it if not for tracking the geese over the town. A welcome and overdue first for me locally.

Treecreeper, Church Ravine

Not quite so lucky the following morning, when a Grey Phalarope beat me by a few minutes off the Brigg; still, it got me down the slippery slope looking for it, and in the following couple of hours we'd added Black Guillemot (less than annual here), a Red-necked Grebe (drifting south on the current just off the Brigg), two Great Northern Divers, a (the) Long-tailed Duck, a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and 60+ Red-throated Divers on the move. An excellent haul for a pleasant but unpromisingly calm day.

Otherwise it's pretty much as you were; no cold-weather movements or notable influxes as yet, and the bay is relatively quiet. That can all change very quickly, however.....

Kestrel finishing supper

The latter half (including legs and tail) of a ?, down the hatch

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rosy, Technology

Partly written whilst kicking back on Wingletang Down, St. Agnes while in the company of a Rosy Starling (true story), this is our new single, released online today. It's the last single from our forthcoming album 'The North Sea Rising' which is out on Imprint Records in March. Enjoy.

All three singles from the album are free to listen to here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Filey, 6th - 18th November 2012

All quiet on the eastern front, with the last fortnight providing few surprises locally; sadly no particularly encouraging weather conditions or late surges of migration, and little in the way of winter specialities as yet. Merlins, Short-eared Owls and Woodcock on the land, and Long-tailed Duck, Goldeneyes and Great Northern Diver at sea have been the pick.

Still, it's increasingly quiet (and bleakly beautiful), and daily wanders along the beach, Brigg, cliffs, and in fields and woods are a therefore an increasing pleasure. And, although calm at the moment, the bay will doubtless provide as the winter sets in; and then there's the sea when the winds dictate.....

A Shag on the Brigg

Great Spotted Woodpecker in Church Ravine

Dunlin in the bay corner

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Early winter classics

Merlin, in off the sea and over Filey's beach huts

Waxwing - my first of the year, fresh in on the 4th

Three colour-ringed Turnstones at Scarborough Harbour - all returning birds from last year

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Smash and crab

Also from Scarborough harbour the other day, this Herring Gull demonstrated the art of how to dress and serve a crab, after nicking it from a nearby fishing boat. Nice work.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Scarborough Harbour harbours hyperboreus

Being in Scarborough this morning anyhow, I took the opportunity to walk down to the harbour and have a sniff around for the juvenile Glaucous Gull that's been kicking around intermittently for a few days. Happily, it didn't take long to find, giving lovely close-up views in the early winter sunshine.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Filey, 27th Oct - 5th Nov 2012

As hard as it is to acknowledge, regarding true autumnal migration, it really is all over now. With the winds steadfastly in the west for the foreseeable future and, realistically, the window of opportunity closing over those coming days, it'll take a miracle to deliver a much prayed-for final twist. But while they failed to set the season alight, the last ten days have at least provided periods of entertaining, seasonally-adjusted birding.

Treecreeper, Church Ravine

As covered in recent posts, the 27th provided close-in Black Guillemot and Little Auk, setting the tone for the next few days. Several hours sea- and brigg-watching on the afternoon of the 28th yielded plenty of duck action (including Goldeneye, close-up Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoters, plus plenty of Teal and Common Scoters on the move) as well as Black-throated, Great Northern and plenty of Red-throated Divers, and thirty-plus Little Auks; Woodcocks, Blackbirds and other inbound migrants dropping onto the rocks capped an excellent session.

Blackbird fresh in on the Brigg

Mistle Thrush

The 1st and the 3rd were notably only for sizeable flocks of Pink-footed Geese (200 and 180 respectively) heading south, vocally and dramatically, in loose formations high along the coast; a brief jolly to Scarborough Mere the day inbetween for a Great White Egret was surprisingly worthwhile, not only for the heron but (especially) for a Yellow-browed Warbler, briefly pulled out of a passerine flock (and more than I've found on home territory all week).

A full day in the field on the 4th made for a series of highlights, including a Merlin fresh in off the sea, two Twite coasting south, three Waxwings (including a single bird at wonderfully close quaters), and two Treecreepers in Church Ravine with a roving passerine flock. By a curious twist of fate the last three species were all personally new for the patch; question is, are times so hard as to justify totalling up the list yet?

Purple Sandpipers - great value, always

Friday, November 2, 2012

Scarborough, merely - 2nd November 2012

A relaxing afternoon as planned with the old man and Lenora, and with the necessary prerequisite of birding  from the car (and not much else around), Scarborough Mere's Great White Egret seemed like a good idea. Perhaps the easiest twitch imaginable followed, with the bird unmissable even with the naked eye, on an island with a Grey Heron for uneasy company. Short of riding around on a quad bike while letting off fireworks, it could hardly have made itself more obvious, but apparently it'd been around for several days before registering on the local radar.

A drive around the mere followed, and when we drew close to a roving tit flock, I offered to get out and pish them in, with Pearson Snr in the market for close-ups of Long-tailed Tits (not much has changed in the thirty years since I was first sent into Flamborian ditches, driving Bluethroats into twenty-footers...).

First plenty of tits, then a few Goldcrests, and then after thirty seconds or so, a sharp (and particularly bright) Yellow-brow, up close and personal. An unexpected bonus, and I think maybe my seventh or eighth self-found YBW of the autumn (the rest have been at Filey, naturally) in what has been a far from vintage season for them locally, so no complaints there. Still, a rarer congener wouldn't go amiss, and there's still a few seconds left on the clock.....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Long-tailed Duck, Filey Brigg

Another local speciality, this Long-tailed Duck performed beautifully alongside the Little Auks, waders and various other species by the Brigg the other day. Never easy to catch up with, this bird was my second of the year (after a summer plumage male briefly in the bay corner, back in June).