Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Roe across the Dams

As the curtain is about to fall on an especially quiet spring for migration, there is at least plenty of other fauna and flora to enjoy at this time of year locally, and Roe Deer are particularly visible at present - not least at the Dams, where they seem to be lurking around every corner.

Only a week or so until Massachusetts, its sunshine and its plentiful birdlife beckon.... hosanna!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Today's program is brought to you by the letter G

All from the last week or so here in Filey - Grasshopper Warbler at the Tip, Garganey at East Lea, Great Crested Newt at a local pond, Greenfinch at East Lea, and some gorgeous geese at the Dams (I know, but the one in the middle was a patch-tick at least)....

Monday, May 25, 2015

Afternoon teas and the birds and the bees

It's so easy over at Flamborough,... Amity and I spent much of yesterday making a few social calls in my old neighbourhood, including a mighty enjoyable few hours up on the outer head with Martin, Sharon, Yoav, Adva and kids. Chatting in the garden with the sun shining and tea and brownies at hand, look what decided to start hawking insects with the local hirundines. Effortless birding....

Friday, May 22, 2015


Alright, so it's not exactly Falsterbo or Eilat, but it's all relative. Yesterday morning's Breeding Bird Survey of Arndale seemed strangely quiet, until I realised I had company (and a sharp male sparrowhawk takes a lot of beating), while a brief window of warm southerly air encouraged a particularly scruffy Red Kite to come in off the sea this afternoon; unkempt perhaps, but more fortunate than the Common Buzzard that flew into the hornet's nest of the local rooftop Herring Gull colony, just about making it past my study window and inland.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Filey, 1st - 15th May 2015

Grey Seal pup on the Brigg
Plenty of time in the field, and plenty of entertainment (it is spring after all), but unremarkable just about covers it from an ornithological perspective. It's often a strangely tricky period, despite the time of the season and the possibilities it offers (see the last two years equivalent posts here and here, for example); a cluster of quality birds towards the end of April and then a burst of activity at the end of May seems to be the prevailing pattern lately (although looking at the present long term forecast isn't recommended ...)

Wheatear on the Brigg
The first few days of the month were spent playing at and enjoying the Filey Folk Festival - busier and more fun than ever, and always a riot (and a houseful) - and thankfully nothing of any note was missed as a consequence. The following days saw variable trickles and pulses of migration against a backdrop of unhelpful winds and conditions, but most of the expected long-distance arrivals put in appearances to varying degrees:

Kittiwake bathing in Carr Naze Pond
Whinchat on Carr Naze
Warblers were reasonably well represented, hirundines and Swifts were ubiquitous (and occasionally numerous on days of heavy passage), Common Sandpipers frequented the Brigg and the wetlands (which were illuminated by Yellow and occasionally White Wagtails), small numbers of Wheatears moved through the coastal strip, and Cuckoos sang from several sites.

Goosander on East Lea
Common Sandpiper, East Lea
Highlights were hard to come by, but a few at least peppered the notebook and kept the year-list just about ticking over. Lengthy 'office' shifts at East Lea produced a Hobby on 6th, Little Ringed Plovers on 9th and 10th (different birds, with the latter bearing a yellow colour ring), and a Wood Sandpiper through, also on 9th - sadly accentuating our lack of wader habitat locally by arriving during a heavy shower but soon thinking better of it after a brief circuit.

Black Redstart by the seawatch hide
A smart female Black Redstart hopping amongst the boulders of the Brigg on 8th was a pleasure (and a surprisingly tough species to catch up with locally), and a Spotted Flycatcher at the golf course on 12th brightened up another otherwise quiet sky-watch from Muston Sands. With evil westerlies set to continue into the critical late May window it's hard not to fear the worst, but anything can happen during peak migration seasons, and there's still time for the spring to come good.....

Grey Heron, East Lea

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cormorant vs Coots

So this is what happens when a Cormorant fancies kicking back on the nearest 'island', which just happens to be a Coot's nest.... from East Lea, a few days ago.