Champions of the Flyway!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Filey, 11th - 30th June 2013

Barn Owl, Filey Fields Farm

Despite other postings of late (thanks to a couple of unexpected highlights and photogenic subjects), it's been a full three weeks since my last proper round-up, and so here goes. Almost all active birding has been within the framework of the monitoring, i.e. from fixed clifftop vantage points overlooking the bay, surveying the birds and their movements over the course of the breeding season.

Gannet over the Brigg

Thus, as last year, sightings are presently heavily weighted towards seafaring and / or over-flying species, although regular forays to the Dams and East Lea (small freshwater wetlands nearby) have broken up the monopoly.

Eiders on the Brigg

The 10th seems like a long time ago, but a Great Northern Diver hung around in the bay for a couple of days, in almost full non-breeding plumage; the 11th saw the brief arrival of a Great White Egret (and a Garganey) to the Dams, the former gone within an hour or two, the latter a little later. The same day saw impressive flocks of Greylag and Canada Geese on the move shortly after dawn, but then a quiet few days followed, with little of note beyond local breeders.

Coot chick at the Dams

By mid-month, numbers of Sandwich Terns were on the up, Common Scoters were passing through and stopping by in steadily increasing numbers, and Eider numbers were fluctuating daily; odd Red-throated Divers and clusters of Curlews were also on the move.

Female House Sparrow, Dams

Especially pleasing in light of the much-publicised local wreck in the early spring, Puffins have been wonderfully numerous around the Brigg and bay this month, with treble figures not unusual; however, a personal (and conservative) count of 769 on the 25th (565 south, 204 north) was unexpected and very welcome.

Tree Sparrow, Dams

The clear highlight of the month came on the 26th however, when monitoring partner-in-crime Dan picked up a cracking drake Surf Scoter in the outer reaches of the bay; staying into early July, it kindly entertained all-comers within its chosen harem of female Commons (although it did get suspiciously close with a male Tufted Duck on the 30th).

Eclipse drake Mandarin picking the wrong corner of the Dams

Otherwise, well in truth it's been pretty dead, which is to be entirely expected. But as July proceeds, there's plenty to look forward to, and my, it really is beautiful around here.