Champions of the Flyway!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Barton's Cove, NW Ma.

Cooper's Hawk 

A couple of hours free to explore locally with brother Ned, and so to Barton's Cove, just a few minutes from the homestead in Greenfield.
Turkey Vulture
Ring-necked Ducks and Goosanders (with Buffleheads and Hooded Mergansers out of shot)
Song Sparrow

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Silvio O. Conte & Amethyst Brook reserves, NW Ma.

American Tree Sparrow 

Jesus Christ it's cold (even for the locals), but we still braved the (very) below zero temps and biting winds and moseyed around two local reserves. Unsurprisingly, it was pretty quiet, but then there was, as always, more than enough to enjoy regardless.
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Phoebe
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Wood Ducks
Brown Creeper
American Robin - plague proportions

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Breakfast in America

White-throated Sparrow 

A jetlagged post-breakfast wander around in the woods here in a bleak and cold Western Massachusetts after arriving here at the family homestead late last night. It ain't Israel (which is where we're supposed to be, but which, again, got cancelled - insert various not-smiling emojis here), but it ain't Britain either, and for that, I'm grateful - it's been a long time since I made it out of my native Brexitland.
Black-capped Chickadee 

And most importantly, we're finally with the Am Fam, for the first time in more than two years; very grateful for that. There'll be very few opportunities for birding (and it's a crap time of year anyway here), so expect substandard shots of common stuff that I'll post purely to prove to myself that there is birdlife beyond the British Isles. Amen to that.
Dark-eyed Junco

eBird checklist here.


Red-tailed Hawk
Eastern Phoebe

Spot the camouflaged Song Sparrow
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin (stay away from me)

Thursday, March 24, 2022

A slow March towards Spring (part three)

The clown of the heather 

With occasional exceptions, March is indeed traditionally slow here on the North Yorkshire coast - and so far, that's been very much the story this time round. After the endlessly battering winds continuing from February into the first two weeks of the month, high pressure has well and truly dug its heels in over the last week or so; woeful for migration perhaps, but at least offering a change from the previously tree-bending norm.
Drumming Snipe - the perfect sunrise soundtrack  

Woeful, as in, for observing any kind of migration - clear skies, settled conditions and light winds means pretty much everything just guns onwards, way up in the ether, neither visible nor audible; as a result, vismig, nocmig, and regular patch-watching have all been, well, unremarkable. But fortunately for me, I've been working (surveying) for much of it, enjoying 0400hrs alarms, frosty sunrises, blue skies and some richly varied locations.
Great Grey Shrike, Cropton forest

As well as the regular Humber surveys (of which we have three ongoing, on both sides of the river), as of mid-month we began another breeding season project across the North York Moors/Forests for the National Park; that's the fourth season out of the last six we've been up there, all of which have have involved myriad new locations. Despite the fact it covers an area almost the size of Canada, I almost feel like I'm getting to know it intimately these days....
Goshawks-a-go-go up in the forests

It's a little early in the season up there for the long-distance returnees, but there's plenty to enjoy - drumming Snipe, wheezing Lapwings, yodelling Golden Plovers, displaying Goshawks, waves of enthusiastic Chiffchaffs and more; and as the spring rolls on, the roll call will lengthen considerably.
Bottlenose Dolphins frolicking offshore on my clifftop walk here in Filey yesterday

So, not the worst time to be working away from the coast; and while daytime migration has indeed been uneventful, Nocmig has been steadily improving at all my locations, and I'll put together a monthly summary here soon. But now, well, time to finally look for the passport. More to follow.

Monday, March 21, 2022

White-winged Lapwing, NY Moors, 21st March '22

Another very early start, and another lovely clear, frosty morning in the middle of nowhere up in the NYM National Park as our surveys continue. One of today's highlights was this aberrant Lapwing, with some very dapper symmetrical leucism - imagine that in a distant flying flock in the mist during a vismig session.....

Sunday, March 20, 2022

32 Laps of a stubble field

From earlier in the week, a quick post-work stomp up Hoddy Cows Lane, Buckton, and a little session on my knees with the Lapland Buntings (of which there were a minimum of 32).

Saturday, March 12, 2022

A slow March towards Spring (part two)

I've spent pretty much all week surveying on the Humber - at various sites, and on both sides - and while the wind has been unrelenting, there have been various spring-themed reasons to be cheerful.
The changeover of shorebirds through the season is always a joy, and fascinating - for example, a few weeks ago, Lapwings were by far the most numerous species at Killingholme (see here), and now they're almost absent; ditto Golden Plovers over on the north bank at Saltend. But as some species ebb away, others hit their peak, and this week, Avocets (above and below) have taken centre stage.
While a couple of hundred on the south side a few days ago was a good but expected count for the time of year, a mammoth 378 at Saltend on the north side yesterday was exceptional, and could be one of the highest counts ever for Yorkshire.
Other encouraging signs of the season have included the first few butterflies (including Small Tortoiseshell, pictured), and this Marsh Harrier, which I picked up from Paull as it battled over the river northbound, eventually coming in straight over my head and gunning north.
Work is full-on these days (in all the right ways), and so doorstep activities continue to be very limited, but surveying across various sites continues at full pace - more to follow.
Dunlins and dogwalker

Teal (above) and Wigeon (below) feeding on the tideline
Curlews on the move in front of the Humber Bridge
Small Tort in the sunshine