Champions of the Flyway!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Seasons greetings - Filey, 14th April 2013

A day of outrageously high south-westerly winds, suddenly milder temperatures and intermittently sunny skies, and a day of quality early spring birding here in the adopted manor. Nothing particularly rare or scarce, and yet wonderfully entertaining from start to finish.

An early loop of the northern area was hard-going, what with hedgerows bending like taught catapults and the fields and coastal strip woefully exposed, but a Whimbrel west, a Sand Martin south and a Sparrowhawk in off the sea (the former two year firsts, the latter unusual) were ample reward for a quick whip-round.

Onto the Dams, where there was little in the way of new arrivals out on the water, but: a Yellow Wagtail (first of the year); no less than four fresh-in Willow Warblers, three of which were feeding frenetically along the sheltered boardwalk, giving fantastically close-up views in the process; two Swallows through, another first for the year; and numerous Redwings continuing to shreep from all available cover.

Wren, Church Ravine

Next stop, East Lea, and a case of regular attention paying off beautifully. As recently intimated, it was only a matter of time before the glorious mud produced, and after just a few days drawing blanks and praying for a Little Ringed Plover, I arrived at the sheltered hide and there, almost as close as it could possibly be, was a little beauty trotting around on the nearest island.

Chiffchaff hanging on for dear life, Dams

A new Filey bird for me (another positive side-effect of a new patch is just how long it takes for the returns to become overtly diminishing), I had it to myself - alongside a smart Green Sandpiper and several Redshanks - for a good hour or more. Add in several more Swallows and Sand Martins, and all was more than well.

Willow Warbler, Dams

An afternoon session in Church Ravine and around the adjoining churchyard produced more, despite the winds; a couple more Willow Warblers, at least eight more Swallows, a first House Martin of the year, another Golden Plover over, and yet more departing winter thrushes. Enough action to finally anchor the notion that spring is truly underway.

Redwing, Church Ravine

Green Sandpiper, East Lea