Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Thornwick Pool, Flamborough - 31st July 2018

Wood Sandpiper

Thornwick Pools produced some good birds this morning with Little Ringed Plover (1); Wood Sandpiper (1); Dunlin (2); Lapwing (1); Grey Heron (1); Reed warbler (4); Snipe (2) and a year tick for me in Green Sandpiper (1). It was also possible to get some reasonable images as the birds came quite close to the hide at times but generally preferred the bottom right corner.

Green Sandpiper



Wood Sandpiper




Little Ringed Plover




Dunlin



Lapwing




Grey Heron




Reed Warbler Family




Monday, 30 July 2018

Wet! Wet! Wet! Bempton Cliffs - 29th July 2018

Puffin enjoying the rain!

There is no doubt that after the prolonged dry, hot and sunny weather enjoyed over the last few weeks that rain is desperately needed. It would have been nice for the rain to fall during the night, but no, it chose todays daylight hours! Persistent and heavy at times it did not defeat my waterproofs but when it combined with strong winds, eyes soon began to sting and optics became virtually useless. I also had concerns over my camera, although it was wrapped in waterproof coverings.

From 28th July until the 5th August is Whale and Dolphin Watch Week. Today, however, challenged visibility out to sea, but c10 Porpoises were recorded.

Todays Sightings:



Due to the rain, I hardly used my scope and bins but I did manage to obtain some reasonable images with the camera, despite a steamed up viewfinder, but had no idea how they would turn out!

Only a few Razorbills and Guillemots remain on the cliffs having moved out to sea. This did allow Puffins to be seen well in flight as the confusion species were very few. Some Puffins were seen on the cliffs but they wont remain for long.

Puffins






As the Auks leave the cliffs, attention is drawn to the remaining breeding seabirds - Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets and Shags.

There are large numbers of juvenile Kittiwakes (Tarrocks) taking to flight


The most obvious birds continue to be the Gannets. The breeding population are swelled by immature Gannets (those less than five years of age), identified by black/brown colours in their wings. The darker they are, the younger they are! This years Gannet chicks (Gugas) continue to thrive with many now showing some black feathers through their downy white.

Honestly, it was this big!

Year 3/4




Year 3

Year 4




Year 3 (right)

And finally, Herring Gull


Thursday, 26 July 2018

Bempton Circular Walk - 26th July 2018

Razorbills, Bempton Cliffs

With the hot weather continuing it has been difficult to give Symphony any long walks. This morning we decided to go out just after 0600hrs and complete the Bempton circular walk (Bempton, Buckton, HoddyCows Lane, Buckton Cliffs, Bempton Cliffs and back to Bempton down Cliff Lane). It was pleasantly mild, with quite a lot of cloud, sunny periods and a strengthening wind. A heavy dew ensured that footwear and socks became sodden!

It's beginning to look a lot like Autumn! Walking through Buckton, the wires were full of hirundines, this image is all I could manage with my 400mm lens!


Arriving at Buckton Pond (or should I say puddle!) was a sad sight, rain is desperately needed.




It was nice to see male and female Yellowhammers along Hoddy Cows Lane





I managed to get a record shot of a juvenile Cuckoo, distant at the back of Hoddy Cows spring (a two year tick!).


Further towards the cliffs, a Corn Bunting. I've not seen one in this area for over a year!


A Sting moment ensued "You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley"


On Buckton cliffs the light was amazing




The sight and sound of seabirds on Buckton and Bempton Cliffs is reducing as the Auks (Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins) leave the cliffs and head out to spend the cooler months on the North Sea. Small numbers of all these species can be seen still but they wont hang about much longer!

A small number of Puffins were seen on Bempton Cliffs (Bartlett Nab and Grandstand)






At least the Gannets, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Herring Gulls will be on the ledges for a couple of months yet. The Gannets young known as "Gugas" are increasing in size with many already bigger than their parents! Some are also showing moult of their downy white feathers and gaining hints of black.

It's a hard life being a Guga!



Squabbles are regularly seen!



Here, the first hint of black feathers



And still time to display


Kittiwakes are very pretty birds with white heads, grey wings, black wing tips and black legs.



But now, many of their young, known as Tarrocks are fledging and for the next twelve months will show an even more spectacular plumage




And finally, my favourite seabird, the Fulmar