Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Little treasures

After strong south-easterlies there's always a chance of Little Gulls in the bay or off the Brigg, and happily, I came across about seven this morning, of all ages and at all ranges. A couple, however, skirted the shoreline while actively dip-feeding in the surf, and so (despite the very poor light, strong winds and camera shake) here they are - as dainty as marsh terns, yet as hard as skuas, and always a joy to watch.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Commoners with Black-heads

Not a Daily Mail campaign against the underclass, or indeed a description of the neighbours, but a few shots from the beach the other day in lovely winter sunshine.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back for more

A combination of many reasons - including a lack of people here in the winter, and fewer options elsewhere - means I'm hitting the beach, bay and Brigg pretty much every day at the minute, and I can't remember the last time I came home anything less than stoked. Today had many highlights, but the Grey Phalarope again took the prizes, tucked in a little cove along a hard-to-reach part of the Brigg, feeding in the swell and surf and generally performing perfectly at close range under stormy skies.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

More grey matters

This morning along the southern flank of the Brigg; while not one of the more accessible Grey Phalaropes I've had the pleasure of watching (and pretty much always against full sunlight), a treat nonetheless, and all the more enjoyable for having to gingerly scramble over seaweed-coated boulders to reach.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Far from a grey day

A lovely sunny day here on the North Yorkshire coast, and so a good few hours enjoying the beach, bay, Brigg and farmland. Lots to enjoy (as ever), including a single Lapland Bunting with the Skylarks and Snow Buntings in the top fields, Peregrines co-hunting with effortless grace, and plenty more besides - but the most photogenic of them all was this beautiful Grey Wagtail.

Not a common species locally and a feature of autumn and winter only, this bird is likely one of only a couple in the wider area (and possibly even the only one, if it ranges up the bay from Primrose Valley) and fed avidly on the huge mounds of seaweed washed up in the bay corner by the recent spring tides. I was hoping for Water (or even Buff-bellied) Pipit, but it's hard to complain....

Friday, January 10, 2014

Great Northern Diver

A couple of hours in the Scarborough area this afternoon with Pearson Snr, with the star of the show being this fabulous Great Northern Diver which has made the harbour its temporary home of late. We were treated to excellent views as the bird patrolled the water close by, surfacing almost directly below us at one point. What a beauty.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Read Warbling

New year, new writing. For those who may want to pass a little time chewing on a few choice cuts of vicarious avian thrills, I've uploaded a series of recent articles over on the wordpress site.

All were recently published either in the printed media or via subscription-only websites, and so are reproduced here free of charge (with thanks to the publishers involved) via the following links.

Postcards from the edge: Autumn in Filey.
A series of three articles for Birdguides chronicling the ups and downs of a migration season spent in the field here at Filey Bird Observatory.

BrĂ¼nnich’s Guillemot – a first for Yorkshire. A personal account for Birdwatch of stumbling upon an almost mythical Arctic wanderer swimming quietly by along the promenade here in December.

The Birds of Stoke Newington Reservoirs.
A fifteen-page paper freshly published in the latest and always excellent London Bird Report (for 2011). Available here via the London Natural History Society, and highly recommended. The above live link goes to my online avifauna of the site, upon which the paper is based.

In addition, there's more new stuff freshly published on the articles page.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Scarborough leftovers

A busy, generally non-birding start to the new year, hence a lack of activity here; still, a few shots worth posting from the Scarborough area recently. A couple of weeks back, we had an excellent day in the forests which included suitably tame Fieldfares and Waxwings (amongst many other winter passerines), as well as a bullet of a Goshawk, which shot past us in hunting mode at head height.

And from yesterday in the harbour, between courses (chips and ice cream, obviously) and with a couple of minutes to spare, this long-staying Great Northern Diver: