Champions of the Flyway!

Sunday, July 30, 2023

North Yorkshire pelagics - late July '23 (one)

It's that time of year - back on the boat out of Staithes for ouy YCN Seabird and Whale pelagic trips. Always at the mercy of the conditions (and forecast), both my trips sailed this weekend, with pretty calm seas on the first day and slightly choppier ones on the second.
Highlights over the two days included large numbers of auks - the vast majority Razorbills - and their still dependent youngsters; it's the best time of year to see them up close and enjoy their interactions, behaviour and various stages of development. This weekend was exceptional, however - we slowly approached and parked the boat in the midst of huge 'mega-creches' of many hundreds of birds, and the sights and sounds were overwhelming.
The latter was especially memorable, with a cacophony of squeaks and whistles from the young combined with the growls and barks of the adults being the only audible sounds several miles off the coastline - a special experience.
Migrants were also evident, with Arctic Skuas, Manx Shearwaters, a few waders and the like evident, but the standout species was Common Scoter. It's the best time of year for scoters flooding in from the north and east, but on the first trip we counted a mammoth 2177 in many flocks (some hundreds-strong).
Cetaceans? Happily, yes - tune in next time...