Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, March 28, 2014

More snowballs

I spent yesterday morning pounding the regular coastal circuit of Carr Naze, the top fields and north cliff, with a brisk, cool easterly and thick cloud keeping the spring at bay. With a few hour's grace before the forecast heavy rain arrived around mid-afternoon, I headed out into the fields in the hope of passerines.... but just as I reached the furthest point from shelter, the heavens opened with a vengence, and stayed open from then until after dark.

With nothing much to lose (once you're soaked, you're soaked), I took my time on the way back through the stubble fields, and was rewarded with five of these beauties looking somewhat forlorn in the downpour. With no sightings over the last week or more (and no sign on the outward journey), I'd assumed they'd finally left - maybe they have, and these are new birds? - but either way, kneeling down in a muddy clifftop field getting drenched under torrential rain is nowhere near as grim as it sounds when you're in their tame and entertaining company.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Scandinavian Rock Pipit

It wasn't just low flying Peregrines along the cliff path yesterday - amongst other highlights, this subtly-hued Scandinavian Rock Pipit was killing time on Carr Naze before an imminent North Sea crossing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Peregrinning inanely

Back on the patch here in Filey after a week or so away, and with the sun shining I was out in a flash this morning. Plenty to enjoy, with one of the main highlights being this fabulous beast along the north cliffs. There's nothing quite like being eyeballed by a speeding raptor, especially when it then approaches at a heart-stopping rate of knots with a distinctly nonchalant disposition.... genuinely awesome and a privilege to experience.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Brent & Barney

I enjoyed the company of this superbly tame Dark-bellied Brent Goose on the Brigg the other day, which was also kind enough to put in a convenient fly-by against the backdrop of Carr Naze; a little earlier at East Lea, and it seems Barney (a feral Barnacle Goose which usually hangs out with the local Canadas) has found a mate. Everybody's happy.

Friday, March 14, 2014

English sun, French snow

High pressure is making for some beautifully sunny and blue-skied early spring days here on the North Yorkshire coast, and while passage remains generally fairly light as a result, the light is glorious and there's a variety of subjects more than worthy of the camera's attentions. Arguably the finest are Snow Buntings, with about fifteen in the cliff-top stubble presently.

Amity and I spent a memorable hour or so with them yesterday afternoon, edging slowly closer until they stopped caring, ignored us completely and entertained us greatly. Interestingly, a couple of the birds are ringed*; far more interestingly, one is also colour-ringed (white Z3 - see below).

A quick search for the relevant scheme surprisingly indicated our bird had been ringed in France; better still, having emailed the details to the project co-ordinator, a swift reply revealed that she (an adult female) was ringed on 23rd February, just over a fortnight ago, near Calais.

It's unsurprisingly the first sighting of the bird since the ringing date, although interestingly, two others from the same flock have been sighted, in Kent and Northumberland respectively - clearly indicating an northbound return towards breeding areas along the British East coast. Fascinating stuff.

*Attempts at photographing the metal rings to try and establish letters and numbers were only partially successful, but hopefully there'll be more details to follow....

Friday, March 7, 2014

Common as duck

Quiet locally + decent light at the Dams the other day + a camera to play with = this here post of mainly wildfowl, parading before the hides and looking very sharp in the process.