Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 30 April 2018

A Mesmerizing "Wow" Day on Bempton Cliffs! Sunday 29th April 2018

Gannet

The weather on the cliffs today was rather deceiving? Light cloud gave way to periods of blue sky and sunshine, giving the sea that summery blueness. The downside was the wind, a very cool north north easterly blow did its best to challenge and chill! It was more like dressing for mid winter than mid spring! However, the wind did produce a "wow" bonus - the birds were hanging in the wind, very close, above and below the cliffs, a truly mesmerizing experience! All of the expected seabirds were present and visible and in good numbers. The horrible weather conditions that we suffered in March seems to have put nature back by about a month. However, the annual Puffin count has taken place with 4279 birds between Filey and Flamborough. The first Gannet eggs have also been reported at Staple and Bartlett Nab viewpoints so the breeding season is underway.

So what could be seen today?


The Dell area produced at least two Lesser Whitethroats


c40 Linnets could be seen around the reserve, with some showing well in the hedgerows and fields


Everyone's favourite seabird, the Puffin could be seen on the cliffs, on the sea and in flight between the two. However, they did become more elusive on the cliffs in the afternoon, but could be seen in flight.







One of my favourite seabirds is the Fulmar. Todays wind gave them the ideal conditions to demonstrate their flight skills and they seemed to be enjoying every moment!





Razorbills were also keen to demonstrate their flight skills!




As did the Kittiwakes


And of course, the United Kingdoms largest seabird - the Gannet


Year 4 Gannet

Gathering nest material

Keen to take nest material back to the nest!

Year 4 Gannet

Year 3/4 Gannet


Nature can appear as cruel. This morning I witnessed an immature Greater Black Backed Gull take a Puffin in flight and proceed to devour it on the sea. Soon a mature Greater Black Backed took over the kill with several others waiting for their chance for an easy snack.




And finally, the love 'em or hate 'em marmite gulls (AKA Herring Gulls)!


Monday, 23 April 2018

Doing "Touristy" Things (with a bit of birding) in Whitby! - 22nd April 2018

The cardio vascular 199 steps workout!

Heather was working at a craft and gift fair at Whitby Pavilion over the weekend and I joined her on Sunday. This gave myself and Symphony the opportunity to wonder around Whitby and basically do "touristy" things! However, I felt there may be some year tick birds nearby, so it would have been rude not to climb the 199 cardio vascular steps to the abbey and a brief walk along the Cleveland Way! On my way I came across a group of Sandwich Terns and Arctic Terns passing the harbour entrance. On the Cleveland Way I soon came across male and female Wheatears (c8), Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. All was going well until a loose dog entered the fields setting up breeding Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and scattering the Wheatears. Symphony was on her lead but the owners of the loose dog had no concerns for the birds. Indeed, I had to say something, only to be told that they only had to put the dog on a lead if farm livestock was encountered and that bird watchers and environmentalists were too sensitive about wildlife!!!

Wheatears




Meadow Pipit





And, parts of Whitby






Saturday, 21 April 2018

Thornwick Pool, Flamborough - 21st April 2018

Reflective Shelduck

A quiet couple of hours spent around Thornwick Pool, quiet as in very few people and quiet as in lack of birds! Initially, more excitement would have been had watching paint dry! My mind wandered with visions of a Glossy Ibis on the bank, a Bittern in the reeds and a Phalarope on the water, then I wake up with the sound of splashing as three Shelducks fly in! At least the weather was good!

While negotiating the still muddy hide approach, this Wren caught my attention


The hedges and bushes held Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat (singles), and the Barn Owl was seen at the back of the old farmhouse.

Willow Warbler


The pool held several Moorhens, a pair of Mallard, a Common Snipe, two Greylag Geese, one Canada Goose, a Water Rail (chased into reeds by a Moorhen), Pied Wagtails, several Reed Buntings, three Shelducks and a rather large feral cat coming down to drink! Over the water were several Swallows and Sand Martins, with a flyover by a female Sparrowhawk.

Pied Wagtail




Moorhen

"I don't think you laid that egg!"


Shelduck





Common Snipe