Champions of the Flyway!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Nocmig Update, March 2021 - Filey

Common Scoters - nocmig legends, each and every one, with 39 flocks recorded from mid-Mar

 A whole year on from the first tentative nocmig toe-dippings (more on that shortly), and for March I was rolling the tapes at not one but all three sites - two here in Filey, and one in Flamborough (the latter summarised here soon). The two Filey recorders were in their usual positions - in a crack in the study window here in town, and just over a kilometre away up on the North Cliff - and both provided plenty of decent early spring results. As usual the house recorder was running most nights (the exceptions being especially windy and/or very wet nights), and the North Cliff one as and when opportunity allowed (although inkeeping with the ongoing nocmig addiction, this turned out to be most of the time too).
Filey Town 
Species diversity was predictably quite low at the beginning of the month, although alongside regular Oystercatchers and Black-headed Gulls were equally regular Wigeon and Moorhens, with Golden Plover, Curlew, Grey Plover and Coot all added in the first week, Water Rail and Dunlin not far behind, and the first returning thrushes - Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush - all trickling through. And then, as is the joy (or one of the many joys) of nocmig, a total surprise on the night of the 13th - two plus Bean Geese, a less-than-annual species here in Filey - honking throatily over the chimney pots.


 A similar suite of species dominated the third week of the month, with a significant Redwing exodus (74) on 16th, and further Grey and Golden Plovers, Teal and Grey Herons over the following days. On 21st, the diversity improved further still, with Curlew, Knot, Dunlin, Redshank and Oystercatcher repping the shorebirds, the first house spring nocmig Robin of the year, and two very welcome wildfowl registrations - Whooper Swans and (bless 'em) the back alley's first Common Scoters of the spring.
A productive few nights followed, with a nice range of species, thrushes very much in full swing, and Scoters starring on several nights, reflecting the improved conditions (a warmer airflow and SW winds); in addition to the migrant action, another Barn Owl registration in the middle of the night on 24th was again very notable in this wholly concrete, urban area.....
The month ended with stronger winds and thus diminished returns, but passage continued regardless and Common Scoters very much kept up their end of the bargain, with further flocks on 26th, 27th and 29th, with a Whooper Swan also on the latter date. 

Filey North Cliff 
The effort involved in placing and setting the recorder - a bit of a drag after a long day's work and with the light going or gone - may be much more than opening the window and pressing record (as with the house set-up), but after the nocmig gold of late February's Stone-curlew, it didn't seem quite as much of a pain as it might've this month...

Teal, Moorhen, Snipe and Grey Plover were soon on the board, with Gadwall, Water Rail, Grey Heron and odd passerines (including Skylark) added by the end of the first week. After last month's surprise Pintail over the house, a second followed, this time over the North Cliff on 7th; a quiet mid-month was enlivened soon enough with the first Common Scoters of the spring on the 18th, their evocative alien beeps harmonising beautifully with the slightly lower freqency of vocalising Common Toads on the recording....


 .... and, as with the house recorder, it was a busy few days that followed - with, for example, Whoopers, Scoters, Pink-feet and Wigeon, plus more passerines and waders on 21st, a notable departure of 214 Blackbirds on 22nd, more scoter action among a wide range of species on 23rd, and a further ten flocks of scoters on 24th; allowing for duplication with the house recorder, a minimum of 13 flocks overflying Filey that night. 

After a good week or more of pleasingly varied nights, as mentioned conditions at the very end of the month weren't particularly nocmig-friendly, but a nice selection on 29th included four more scoter flocks, Golden Plover, Snipe, small gulls and Moorhens on the move among others, and a small surge of Redwings (41) the following night.


And in the midst of celebrating last month's big surprise in the February nocmig round-up, I somehow forgot to mention another magical recording from North Cliff at the end of last month - incredibly, a singing Great Northern Diver on 28th!
For full counts and more audio clips of every night's nocmig results, see here (town) and here (North Cliff)