Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, April 26, 2024

Long-tailed Duck, Filey - late April '24

The long-staying Long-tailed (Long-staled?) Duck has gone into full-on Mexican wrestling mask mode of late here in #Filey, looking sharper everyday.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Raptor Run - latest update!

Well, it's three days until my first (and probably last) half-marathon, I've just completed my final training run, and (whisper it) all is well - no injuries, no big issues, just plenty of trepidation (and pretending not to look at the forecast....). Finishing the race will be a victory, of course - I couldn't care less about my time, just staggering over the line - but the real victory is the fundraising.
As of right now, my often-upped target of £5000 has been achieved, which is, well, just wonderful. There are a great many lovely people who've contributed - some a little, some a lot, some I know, some I don't, some by name, some anonymously - and I just want to sincerely thank every last one of you for your generosity. It's been a massive inspiration and motivation for me, and more importantly, that's a lot of help you've given Jean in her ongoing quest to rehabilitate raptors and all manner of other wildlife. She's over the moon with the reaction, too.....!
My next and final update will be after the deed is (hopefully) done - I'll be leaving the fundraising page open for a week or so after the race, just in case anyone wants to chip in a little at the death. Wish me luck and see you on the other side! Donate here (it only takes a minute!): Raptor Run Just Giving Page

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

North York Moors surveying, early April '24

'Drumming' Snipe - check out those tail feathers

I've just finished the first three days of surveying for breeding waders up on the North York Moors (for Wold Ecology, on behalf of the NYMNPA) which we're carrying out throughout the spring, and it's been a joy.
We're revisiting many squares that we surveyed five years ago, ostensibly for upland waders, but we're also recording all red- and amber-listed species and anything else of note.
It's early in the season, but there's plenty already on territory, and over these last few days I've plotted plenty of Snipe (ah, that noise!), Curlews, Golden Plovers and Lapwings;
Male Stonechat in singing display flight (above) and staring me out (below)
There's always more to enjoy, too - which so far has included my first singing Ring Ouzel of the year, a Goshawk today, and most surprisingly, not one but two unexpected early summer migrants in an equally unexpected situation:
Redstart, Levisham Moor

Parking up at the end of a 'spur' of farmland, on high ground, jutting into Levisham Moor, I opened the door to hear the familiar flight call of a Tree Pipit, which dropped into an arable field nearby; very early, out of breeding habitat, and a total surprise.
Within about thirty seconds and while still getting my kit together, I glanced up at the last, puny bush just before the beginning of the moor, where a cracking male Common Redstart was perched - crazy! A second very early trans-Saharan migrant, in what can best be described as suboptimal habitat...
Golden Plovers

... aside from the fact both are by far the earliest of each species I've ever seen in Yorkshire, it was additionally fascinating when taking into account the circumstances. Early migrants were ariving across the country on the back of a low pressure, south-westerlies and regular showers, and both birds must've found themselves grounded in these conditions, on high-ish ground, on the edge of an uninviting expanse of moorland, and so hung around to fuel up and wait for a better time to keep moving.
A thrilling few minutes of spring migration in microcosm, far inland, and far from anticipated. Joyous!
Meadow Pipit in a tree. (The Tree Pipit was in a meadow, obviously.)