Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Magic Pelagics - North Yorks, 23rd August 2019

What a day... a 0400hrs start and a 1930hrs finish, ten hours of which were on the boat off Staithes, North Yorkshire, leading two pelagics for Yorkshire Coast Nature, in increasingly benign, warm and sunny conditions.

Too tired to give it the lyrical waxing it deserves right now, but in brief, we went into the day on the back of a very poor Minke season so far (just a handful here and the odd one there so far along the Yorkshire coast), a very poor seabird season (with minimal skuas and zero large shearwaters in the North Sea as whole so far), and little in the way of encouraging sightings from land or sea.

We came out of it with:

A minimum of 20 Minke Whales, with up to ten around the boat at any given time;

a Cory's Shearwater, giving two brief but cracking close fly-bys;

a Balearic Shearwater heading purposely south; a single Manxie (three shearwaters of three species!); ten Bonxies and one Arctic Skua;

many Lion's Mane jellyfish; epic feeding frenzies of Gannets, Fulmars, seals and whales (which we 'parked' in the midst of); Harbour Porpoise; Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns;

Red Admirals, a Peacock and Painted Lady, all over five miles out; and most gratifingly, two affirmingly happy groups of clients who had unrivalled, bespoke access to this quintessentially Yorkshire extravaganza.... Fancy joining us? Have a look here....

Monday, August 5, 2019

Greenshank, East Lea, Filey - 5th Aug 2019

A couple of hours enjoying a decent cast of waders at a dark and showery East Lea here in Filey this morning included a pleasant interlude with this accommadating Greenshank, aware of my presence and not giving a flying one either way.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

More Filey Bottlenose Action

A little more time to sift through photos of yesterday's memorable Bottlenose Dolphin experience here at Filey, and a chance to post all potentially identifiable dorsal fins in one post. I took as many records shots as possible so that, theoretically, we can ID at least a few of them by matching them with known individuals on existing databases, and we already know that the one with the silvery outline to her dorsal is Guinness (-r 009) from the Moray Firth population, and is over twenty years old.

There's plenty of other interesting evidence to ponder, including the number and age of youngsters, the Harbour Porpoise-like dorsal of the individaul above (far right), the paleness of the one the below, the size of the one at the foot of this post - all illustrating how amazingly variable this species is in appearance. More to follow when I get the details.... click on images to enlarge.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Twelve Grey Bottlenose, Hangin' In The Bay

A quick one from this afternoon's seawatch on Carr Naze, Filey. As always at this time of year it's as much about cetaceans as it is birds, and after a quiet first hour I picked up a pod of playful, entertaining and long-staying Bottlenose Dolphins in the bay over towards Bempton - perfect timing for the Seawatch Foundation's Whale and Dolphin Week, and SF Robin and I had the pleasure of showing dozens of people the spectacle unfolding offshore.

Over the course of an hour or more, the various sub-pods meandered around the bay, coming closer and eventually rounding the Brigg and heading North. Lots more photos (of various distinctive dorsal fins - ID'ing should be fun!) to sift through, but all in good time.....

Click on images to enlarge.