Champions of the Flyway!

Monday, January 25, 2016

New articles, and local talk tomorrow

I've just archived a couple of recently published articles over on the wordpress site (click on the titles to read):

Migration Celebration - Spurn Migfest 2015 (published in last month's Birdwatching magazine)

Beyond the Puffin Toys - Science and Discovery at Bempton Cliffs (published last month by Birdguides)

If you're local and around tomorrow night (Tuesday 26th), I'm giving a talk for the East Yorks RSPB Group - non-members welcome:

Filey International – arrivals and departures at North Yorkshire’s Bird Observatory.
From Goldcrests to Cranes, Filey Bird Observatory’s Mark Pearson explores the phenomenon of migration at this east coast hotspot, with an array of photographs and exclusive film footage. All profits and donations go to RSPB Coquet Island’s Roseate Tern appeal.7.30 start. See here for full details.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

White-winged silver linings

After the family-friendly Glaucous Gull shots of the last post, here's a few more better representing the reality of the situation. I found the White-beaked Dolphin on the way back from a seawatch the day before all but untouched by any natural recycling squad, avian or otherwise; it didn't take long to become part of the cycle of life however (see below), and fortunately for us, its most dedicated fan turned out to be a beautiful and pleasingly persistent white-winger.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Glaucous reception

Another real privilege to witness another unique occasion here on the doorstep at Filey. The day before I'd found a sadly deceased White-beaked Dolphin washed ashore near the bay corner, followed by the expected banter about it bringing in an Ivory Gull in the coming days; well, not quite, but it'll more than do...

With our young male Surf Scoter still in the bay (for more than a month now) as well as up to four Great Northern Divers and a host of commoner stuff, a sunny Sunday was bound to attract another batch of visiting birders - which, after playing a show in Scarborough that night and being a little worse for wear, I was particularly grateful for when one of whom (thanks Tim!) messaged regarding the brief appearance of a juvenile Glauc, amazingly trying to feed on the dolphin....

In the spirit of a) a resolution not to take it quite so seriously this year and b) a hangover, no rush was attempted, lunch was enjoyed, and some time later a stroll along the beach was on the cards anyway (no, really). With masses of visitors and their canine army descending on the beach and Brigg, many of whom would be funnelling along the path where the dolphin was as the tide slowly rolled out, I rated the chances of a revisit from the gull at somewhere around nil and put it to the back of my mind.

Bumping into Dave and Sarah (Aitken) made for a nice surprise and we ambled along the bay chatting, stopping to talk to a few familiar faces along the way - at which point the Glauc appeared over my head, clearly patrolling the scene in the hope of another cetacean snack. Still the chances seemed minimal, as processions of people and dogs filed past or loitered around. After watching the gull circle above us for an eternity and with people unknowingly stood looking at the dolphin (as you would), Dave - armed with his RSPB charm and quietly persuasive disposition - successfully convinced the attendees to back off a little....

Amazingly, a break in the traffic ensued and the gull glided in; and despite inevitable disturbance soon after, not only did it return on several occasions, it photogenically patrolled the Badlands-style geology of the Brigg's south side in the cold winter sunshine. Absolutely class, and a joy to watch....

... more graphic, less appetising photos to follow.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Little Gulls & big seas

A belated happy new year everyone.... time to catch up, then, starting with these  always beguiling Little Gulls from a week or so back. After what seemed like an eternity of heavy rain and black skies, finally the sun broke through towards dusk one cold evening, and on a beautifully hostile, deserted Brigg I was suddenly surrounded by them; dainty but hard-as-nails, I had at least 77 feeding and/or battling south. Always a joy.