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Monday, 28 October 2013

All quiet on the Eastern front

Fairly quiet this weekend, I decided to go to Filey first thing as there had been Snow Bunting and Twite along Carr Naze yesterday, no sign of any this morning though in the fairly windy conditions, it was certainly quiet, several Red Throated Divers on the sea were about the best of it. I carried on to the Dams where a couple of Yellow Browed Warblers had been seen yesterday but again no sign of them although eight Whooper Swans had just dropped in, first of the winter for me.  I headed off to Flamborough next and had a look around the Thornwick Bay/Holmes Gut area, another three immature Whooper Swans were on a field there but the wind had got pretty strong by then and most stuff was keeping its head down, I moved across to South Landing where I watched a Tit flock move through, but there was nothing with them, then spent a bit of time with a couple of Bar Tailed Godwits on the beach. I had originally planned to end up at Hornsea Mere and although there had been negative news on the Spotted Crake today I thought I would go anyway, it was a good move as there were a couple of winter plumaged Slavonian Grebes showing well off Kirkholme Point although by then the storm clouds were gathering and the light was dire.

the Gulls seemed to relish the windy conditions

Rock Pipit on Carr Naze

the eight Whoopers

still a few Dragonflies enjoying the sun

one of the imm Whoopers at Thornwick Bay

looking to Bempton Cliffs

Rock Pipit at South Landing

a couple of Bar Tailed Godwits on the beach

Kessy keeping an eye on things

juv Slav, Hornsea Mere

adult Slav

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Swift response to a Sibe

I was out with Mark and Pete Watson today and miraculously some of the East Coast mid week goodies were still present this weekend, we decided to start at Hartlepool. We were soon watching the Western Bonelli’s Warbler in Borough Hall Gardens, lovely little bird but it was very active and it was hard enough keeping on it let alone getting any pics, then with news the Pallid Swift was showing out towards the Heugh Gun Battery we thought we’d go and see that and come back to the Warbler later, the controversial Swift (although I think its generally regarded as a Pallid now) performed really well and we spent quite some time with it before heading to the Jewish Cemetery where a Dusky Warbler had been reported earlier, unfortunately that had gone to ground by the time we got there, plus it wasn’t calling and with a strong breeze getting up we eventually gave up on it, back at Borough Hall Gardens the windy conditions had also put paid to refinding the Bonelli’s so we decided to head back down the coast to Scarborough where the Siberian Stonechat was still showing at Scalby Mills, a very nice bird and again showing really well down the little ravine there, also a Dipper on the stream. There had been a report of a Lapland Bunting at Long Nab so we tried for that next but it was a needle in a haystack job really, joined by our mates from Leeds we walked through the stubble field and although we flushed plenty of Skylarks and Linnets etc the best bird we saw was a Wheatear, with time getting on it was back into Scarborough to check an area near the Open Air Theatre for a Yellow Browed Warbler, we got onto it in with a little Tit flock, it called a few times but only gave a couple of fleeting glimpses, it was a big area and the flock was ranging widely, still all in all a pretty good day.

hoped to have got better later but never got another chance

a bit of sun

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

East Coast Episode

Some favourable winds over the last few days have resulted in a bit of a fall on the East Coast,  I nipped out to Long Nab, Burniston after work last Thursday hoping to cash in on some of the good seawatching that had been going on, it was blowing an absolute gale and hardly able to stand up I wondered if I'd made the right decision however I managed to find reasonably sheltered spot but passage had obviously tailed off in the afternoon and the best I managed were four Manx Shearwaters struggling North. Out with Mark on Sunday for a bit of migrant hunting and we had also both booked Monday off for some extra watching, on the Sunday we had decided on Flamborough, we started at South Landing where a Dusky Warbler was in the hedge near Highcliffe Manor for its second day, it was calling a lot but not easy to see and it was quite some time before we got reasonable views of it. Although there had been no news on yesterdays Rustic Bunting we decided to check out the fields at the bottom corner of Millennium Wood next anyway, it was a nice area with lots of Finches and other Buntings flitting about but no sign of the Rustic, also a Buzzard over plus a Short Eared Owl being mobbed high up. With news filtering through of a few goodies down Old Fall we headed off down there next, lots of Thrushes coming and going as we walked down and at the Plantation we were lucky to get straight onto a Pallas's Warbler which disappeared after a minute or two and although we hung around for another hour or more it never showed again and neither did the Red Breasted Flycatcher which had also been in that area, we were entertained by plenty of the more common migrants though including several Mealy Redpolls and Bramblings. Late afternoon after an unsuccessful search for a Great Grey Shrike at the Headland we headed off to Hoddy Cows Lane, Buckton for a Radde's Warbler, it didn’t sound too good at first with returning birders giving negative news but we thought we’d give a go anyway, after a fruitless search around the area it had been earlier we started walking slowly back along the lane when a birder coming the other way alerted us to a movement in the hedge, after a couple of minutes a Warbler flew up and along a bit and although I wouldn’t have said for certain it looked good for Radde's, a bit later a bird flew out from further down the hedge and across the lane into the vegetation on the other side, I went to investigate and up it popped with a caterpillar in its beak, ID was confirmed and we had several more brief views as it made its way along the bottom of the hedge before we lost it again, a fine end to a good day.

high up Short Eared Owl

Pallas's sighting all too brief, no chance to get better shots

possibly a Northern race Great Spot


Monday we went down to Spurn and again there were loads of Thrushes, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests everywhere but it seemed most of yesterdays good birds had moved on. We started at the Crown and Anchor Car Park where Blackcaps and Siskins were posing but there was no sign of the Barred and Yellow Browed Warblers seen earlier, we then moved round to Sammy’s Point after news of a Little Bunting and Great Grey Shrike filtered through, the Shrike was eventually found right at the far end but there was no sign of the Bunting although a stroll along nearby Green Lane a bit later afforded us brief views of another one, plenty of common migrants were also in the area including Common and Black Redstarts, Bramblings and Woodcock. We returned to Spurn and spent the afternoon wandering around the Warren, Triangle and Beacon Lane areas etc, it was rather steady though, highlights being a Short Eared Owl over, female Scaup on Borrow Pit, another Great Grey Shrike, a Merlin that shot through plus Ring Ouzel and at least four Jack Snipe on Canal Scrape, by 5 o-clock it had become rather quiet so we called it a day.


Great Grey Shrike as usual proved unapproachable

Purple Sandpiper, not a common sight at Spurn

Lesser Redpoll

hiding Jack

A good couple of days with some nice birds seen although views were generally brief and the better birds certainly didn't pose for the camera.