Monday, 8 October 2018

A day of westerlies at Kilnsea and Spurn Triangle

It's a good time of the year for a trip to the coast, especially to Spurn, where migration is in full swing. Although the forecast was of cloud, the sunny spells were plentiful and in the afternoon it was balmy at the lee of the westerly wind.

Kilnsea Wetlands
I started at the hide at Kilnsea. Three Brent and a drake Pintail were the highlights. There is not much water left and the birds were mostly distant. A pair of Rock Pipits were feeding by the scrape in front of the hide.
Drake Pintail in between Brent Geese.

I drove to the Blue Bell car park and walked up the front of the Sandy Beaches caravan park. On the rocks by the breaking waves there was a Purple Sandpiper, a site tick for me. Off sea, a lone Common Scoter flew south.
Pied Wagtail.
There was not much down the beach and I returned by the road to the visitor centre.

Some birdwatchers were looking at a Whinchat, which was very mobile. I missed this species last year and it was nice to connect with it.
Canal Scrape
A Jack Snipe had been seen at Canal Scrape, but I missed it. A Snipe and a Dunlin were close to the hide. Three Little Grebes were about, one of them spent some time standing on the edge of the water. Two House Martins flew south. Blackbirds, Redwings and Fieldfares fed in the hawthorns.
Little Grebe with fish.
A Little Grebe standing, not something you see every day.

Tree Sparrow.
After a stop at the visitor centre, where I was pleased to see a few Tree Sparrows, I walked to the Warren and turned back by the beach. The only bird of notice a Wheatear which flew to the clifftop. 
On Beacon lane I had my first Brambling of the season.
In Beacon Ln and by the dunes off Beacon ponds, and in other spots sheltered from the wind, there were many invertebrates to be found. Quite a few Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters, the two late dragonfly species, were about. On the dunes by Beacon Ponds (top shot), a Silver Y moth and a Eupeodes luniger hoverfly fed on sea rocket. No sea aster bees today, most of the sea aster I saw was on seed.
Male Common Darter
Male Common Darter.
Migrant Hawker resting in the brambles. 
Migrant Hawkers tend to be very approachable when at rest and this one let me get very close to take a shot at its eyes.
Silver Y moth on Sea Rocket.
Eupeodes luniger.
Small Tortoiseshell
The only mammal today was a Grey Seal on the sea just off Beacon Ponds.
 Although I missed many exciting migrants, including a Red-flanked Bluetail by the Lighthouse, migration was very noticeable today and the mild weather and invertebrates made it for a very pleasant autumn walk around Spurn. 

Monday, 1 October 2018

A sunny day at Filey Brigg

Despite the sunny conditions, it was cold and windy, with a cutting NW wind. Filey Bay was balmy though, and in the ravines and sheltered areas, there were still a number of active insects. The tide was ebbing and we walked towards the Brigg from the beach, the path just passable. A flock of Oystercatchers with a few Redshank and a few Dunlin fed on the exposed rocks.
The wooded ravine from the country park to the Sailing Club.
A very battered Speckled Wood.
The crumbling till cliff atop the hard Upper Jurasic gritstone (Birdsall Grit) that forms the backbone of the Brigg.

A Redshank and two Oystercatchers feeding on the ebbing tide.
Two drake Common Scoters.
Cormorants and Shags with Filey as a backdrop.
Cormorants drying their wings .
The swell at the Brigg.
Looking towards Brigg End.
Grey Seals loafing on the lee side of the brigg.
Grey Seals.
This young seal had a cut on a flipper, but looked otherwise in good condition.

Moulting Grey Seal Pup.
Another group of seals.
Gannets over the breakers.
Good visibility, with Scarborough on the background.
Drake Common Scoter.
A very confiding Kestrel hunting from the cliff.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Shearwater Cruise 2018

This morning I joined the last RSPB shearwater cruise of the year with the Yorkshire Belle. The tide was high on arrival, a few Kittiwakes and a flock of Redshank were roosting on the sea wall. Despite the early start, 9:00, I was surprised to find there were people queueing since 8:00. The trip was full and we set off prompt. Two Red-throated Divers were just off the harbour wall, with many more passing through offshore. A few Sandwich terns were also about early in the trip, the only terns seen. The highlight of the trip was a Basking shark, who swam and then dived just next to the boat. I didn't get any photos but managed to see its dark grey triangular dorsal fin. Several grey seals and harbour porpoises were also seen. I didn't managed any photos of the Sooty Shearwater and I missed the Manx Shearwater (who flew at the same time we saw the basking shark). But added Puffin to my year list, a young one.
Red throated Diver.
Young Razorbill.
Hundreds of Gannets, with many young were off Bempton Cliffs, some times diving for the chum thrown from the rear of the boat.
Two Great Skuas by the boat. The count was 6 or 7. We could see three at the same time at one point.
Skua with Flamborough as a backdrop.

 In the middle of the trip the RNLI boat approached the Yorkshire Belle in a training mission. The boat came very close and paramedic jumped aboard and then back into the rescue boat.

 Another couple of photos of Great Skuas or Bonxies. We did have repeated close views of them.

Great black-backed gulls and a Great skua following the boat. My best skua shot would have been the top shot but a great black-backed gull photo bombed it!
Cormorants and shags on the buoy off Danes Dyke on the way back.
The Bridlington harbour light at the end of the North pier.

There were more Kittiwakes at Bridlington than off the cliffs.This one, sat on a nest.
One of five purple sandpipers, off the south harbour wall, in the company of Oystercatchers, Turnstones and Redshanks.
A Cormorant fishing in the harbour.
A Great Black-backed gull portrait.
Oystercatcher with mussel. Watch the clip to see how it dealt with opening the shell.

On the way to Flamborough I was sat facing east, sheltered from the wind, on the way back though the relentless wind had a strong chill factor, and I needed a hot drink before driving back. Altogether an unforgettable day!