Champions of the Flyway!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Birding for The Clampdown - Vismig Gold

A speck of dust on the 'scope / your device's screen?
Lucky, I know - lucky to be able to time my daily outdoor venture for what would hopefully be the optimal period for broad-winged activity (late morning) yesterday, and lucky that my favoured viewpoint is all of 12 minutes from the front door, and about as isolated and ideal as you can imagine.

Nope - it's a huge, beautiful Common Crane! (same photo, cropped)
So it was yesterday morning, with the sunny intervals, mostly patchy cloud and a southerly airflow - at the right time of year for bigger wanderers on the move. Realistic targets (outside of the ubiquitous Common Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks and Peregrines) in early to mid-April in favourable conditions include Red Kite (I've had a few this spring) and Marsh Harrier (a regular scarce migrant), perhaps an Osprey with luck (a handful a year, often in spring), or something rarer still....

Here's one I made (found) earlier - a few springs ago in the same place
... like a Common Crane, for example - less than annual locally but a species I've been fortunate to find multiple times during skywatches in the Filey area in recent years. After warming up with my first Marsh Harrier of the year, wheeling ever higher as it coasted north (which would've done more than fine as the day's highlight), I scanned the skies to the north, and picked up a distant blob, travelling high and north-west, with a constant flight path and what appeared to be slow, broad wings....

My first migrating Marsh Harrier of the spring heading north 
I moved to the Harpia, picked it up in the haze as it gained height, and bingo - a Crane, lolloping majestically up the coast. Now, more than ever, what an absolute joy to behold.... I put the news out via local whatsapps (it only takes a few seconds to type species, location, time and direction - technology is amazing, eh...!) and happily it was tracked as it coasted up beyond Scarborough - always a pleasure when news gets out fast and everybody has a chance of enjoying it.

Reed Bunting
Passerines were still on the move, too, with Meadow Pipits and Chaffinches making up the majority, and bonus balls including Corn bunting and Brambling. Another good day - here's hoping there are more to come this spring.