Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 29 January 2018

My quest for two geese!

Tundra Bean Goose, Greylag Goose, Pink Footed Goose

A couple of hours in the vicinity of Seamer Tip Pool and Burton Riggs Pools enabled me to gain a life tick and a year tick! I have never seen a Bean Goose so when one was reported commuting between the two above locations, I just had to go! Arriving at Seamer Tip Pool, very little was about and even less in the surrounded flooded fields. Oh dear, I thought, I hope this wont be a wild goose chase! Lets try Burton Riggs Pools and bingo! Initially I could only see Canada and Grey Lag Geese on the small pool but as I scanned two geese appeared at the left of the group and were obviously different. My first ever Tundra Bean Goose was confirmed and was forming a close swimming relationship with a Pink Footed Goose (year tick). It was great to compare the species together, I had no idea that the Bean Goose was much larger!

Late January on Bempton Cliffs - 28th January 2018


Late January already, where does the time go? Today was relatively overcast with a strengthening south westerly blow but feeling quite mild. The cliffs were full of action with an estimate of 30,000 Guillemots on the ledges, on the sea and in flight. A wonderful sound with their guttural calls mixing with the increasing number of Gannets and Fulmars. Last week there were only five Gannets on the cliffs but this has now increased to about forty but many more in flight and on the sea. Two firsts for the year (for me), a Peregrine and a fly through Kittiwake! Interestingly, of the eight main breeding birds at Bempton, five were present today - Gannet; Fulmar; Herring Gull; Guillemot; Shag (six if you include the single fly through Kittiwake), with only Razorbill and Puffin missing! Throughout todays blog I have also attempted to include some birds in flight shots. This is very much work in progress!

So what else was about?

The largest number of birds today undoubtedly fell to the Guillemots!

"You're a bit different mate!" Bridled Guillemot

"Up a bit, down a bit, yes, yes, just there!"

It was very noticeable that the number of Gannets are increasing

A "gift" for my beloved!

Inevitably, with increasing numbers, squabbles will break out! Those bills are not to be underestimated!

The delightful Fulmars

Herring Gull

Great Black Backed Gull

At sea, training, the RNLB Keep Fit Association, at speed!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Flamborough, South Landing and Thornwick Pools - 25th January 2018

Rock Pipit - South Landing

Went down to Flamborough South Landing this morning but arrived too late to capture the sunrise but managed to get this "away from it all" image!

The sea held at least six Red Throated Divers while two Purple Sandpipers scurried along the water line, but too far for my lens. Rock Pipits were a little more obliging though.

The incoming tide flushed a single Curlew, taking flight into direct sunlight!

A group of Oystercatchers huddled together on the waters edge refusing to budge as the tide encroached. I had hoped for a flight shot with water splash but they refused to humour me!

I moved on to Thornwick Pools where I met Tony and Jo leaving. They gave me perfect instructions to locate a Jack Snipe, again very distant. Getting to the lower hide at Thornwick Pools involved negotiating a new wetland feature of mud and standing water. Not a good time to remember my wellies were snug in the comfort of my garage. Whilst negotiating this gloopiness, a Barn Owl flew over the top pool before resting on a far post, enabling a record shot.

Apart from Moorhen, several Teal and Herring Gulls, the pool was quiet until two Shelduck flew in from the east.

Just as I was about to leave, movement in the vegetation drew my attention to these two!

On my way back to the car, my attention was drawn to the RNLB The Friendly Forester, currently residing at Thornwick Park, having been rescued from almost certain destruction. I had to go over in order to pay homage to this grand old lady. Just being near her, she enthuses history, grace, bravery, sadness and memories. Some background information can be found HERE

I believe that restoration work will be undertaken.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Mid Winter on Bempton Cliffs - 21st January 2018

Guillemots (Spot the Bridled Guillemot!)

Looking at the weather forecasts, today was destined to be rather inclement with rain and wintery showers all day. It's a good job that weather forecasts for this part of East Yorkshire are generally wrong! The morning was bright and frosty with an increasing south westerly blow, with snow showers blowing in late afternoon. It was a great day to be out on the cliffs for a bracing walk and engaging with the wildlife!

As I arrived at the Dell, a Barn Owl briefly paused on a post - today was going to be good!

The sun was just rising over the hills, begging an image which I happily obliged through the bushes of the Dell.

Walking down to the viewpoints, the North Yorkshire costal hills beyond Scarborough were graced with snow!

No snow capped hills looking towards Flamborough but stunning views none the less!

As I approached the cliffs, the guttural sounds of Guillemots broke the silence, thousands of them, on the ledges, on the sea and in flight! I felt like joining them in song until I remembered (1) I don't know any words to songs and (2) I can't sing! Interestingly, there were only two Guillemots reported yesterday.

I am often asked "How can you tell the sexes of the seabirds?". Well this is how!

Bridled Guillemot

It was very noticeable that the Gannet numbers had increased, with many coming in close to the cliffs, almost landing but aborting and flying back out to sea. At Jubilee Corner five Gannets were on the cliffs at nests which was a pleasure to see.

Some decided to play "Geronimo"!

One of my favourite birds, the Fulmar, are also in good numbers and never fail to impress!

Great Black Backed Gull

Porpoise numbers were good. It is rare to see anything more than the dorsal fin break the water! I decided to try and photograph one, 400ft below me!

And finally, todays sightings!