Saturday, 23 April 2016

Cold weather and migrants...

Headed out to the bay this morning to try and make the most of the sun and despite the cold wind more migrants had arrived...

The Long-billed Dowitcher refused to move off the sand bar infront of the hide at Cresswell Pond which it shared with 4 Ruff.

We then got word of a swift with white on its body at Druridge Bay Country Park so rushed up to find an aberrant Common Swift with a lot of white on both its upper and underparts. It was flying around with a normal Common Swift and despite it not being the hoped for Alpine Swift it was still an interesting bird...

Moving south to East Chevington, a Little Egret flew through heading north. The north pool held 2 Red-breasted Mergansers before flying off along with a female Goosander. Plenty of hirundines were around the reserve including a few House Martins and the aberrant Common Swift joined two normal birds over here. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing by the approach road with both Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers at the south end and a male Marsh Harrier quartering the fields.

Druridge Pools added Little Owl, a singing Whitethroat and a flock of 20+ Whimbrel to the patch year list with at least one White Wagtail in the area.

A quick look at the north end of Cresswell Pond on the way home produced another White Wagtail, a Wheatear and 2 Avocets.

PWC 2016
Species: 133
Points: 166

Aberrant Common Swift
White Wagtail at Druridge Pools


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Spring is underway...

Another trip to the bay this afternoon where the birding was finally starting to feel a bit like spring...

At Druridge Pools one of the first birds I looked at from the Budge Screen was a stunning adult Little Gull in full summer plumage. The waders present included 3 Ruff, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and a Dunlin. Also from the screen were 2 Pintail, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and a Wheatear while a flock of c. 65 Pink-footed Geese flew over several times.

A look from the north end of Cresswell Pond failed to produce any wagtails but a look towards the west spit revealed 8 Avocets and a surprise Green Sandpiper feeding in the south-west corner. I don't think I've ever seen one on the coast at this time of the year before...

After parking in Druridge Bay Country Park we walked down to the south end of East Chevington where a Sedge Warbler was singing in the reeds and 3 Marsh Harriers (2 males) were flying about. The north pool held the female Scaup again along with a smart White Wagtail and 5 Common Terns.

While driving through the Country Park on our way out my dad saw 8 Common Crossbills land in the trees which were very confiding at times. A Blackcap was singing nearby.

Bothal Pond on the way home failed to produce anything more unusual than another White Wagtail.


Little Gull
Also today Willow Warblers and/or Chiffchaffs seemed to be singing from every patch of trees and a steady northwards passage of Swallows was obvious...

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Jack Snipe

This Jack Snipe was showing well in front of the Budge Screen at Druidge Pools this morning providing me with my best views of one since late 2013. At least 7 Mediterranean Gulls were still around along with 3 Pintail.

PWC 2016
Species: 122
Points: 152

Jack Snipe

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Back to normal...

A last look at the patch this morning before the end of the school holiday...

At Druridge Pools an influx of Black-headed Gulls was extremely obvious and also contained 10 Mediterranean Gulls (3 very smart adults, 3 second-summers and 4 first-summers). 3 Pintail remained on the Budge Fields with 3 Wheatears in the dunes.

At Chevington there were 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls on the north pool with a couple of hundred more BHGs and a single female Red-breasted Merganser. 3 Marsh Harriers (two males and a female) were circling over the south pool with 3 Buzzards. 3 Willow Warblers were my first of the year.

The Long-billed Dowitcher at Cresswell Pond is starting to look very smart, well on the way to achieving summer pluamge. Also around the pool were 3 Avocets, a Little Egret, a Ruff, 2 Wheatear and a White Wagtail.

PWC 2016
Species: 120
Points: 149

Female Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard
Female Marsh Harrier again

Male Marsh Harrier

Long-billed Dowitcher
Mediterranean Gulls

Thursday, 7 April 2016

A weekend in Yorkshire...

Spent a few days birding with a relative in Yorkshire and we managed to see a number of good birds...

On Sunday evening we headed to Nosterfield Quarry where a walk to Flasks Lake produced the smart Red-necked Grebe which was my first for over two years, 3 European White-fronted Geese, 2 Little Owls and 2 Avocets. The reserve centre allowed viewing of 5 Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit, 7 Pintail and a Little Egret. 3 more Ruff and another Little Egret were at Pallet Hill.

Monday saw us heading to the east coast where we started at Filey. Once the weather eventually cleared we walked to the end of Filey Brigg and were able to locate the first-winter drake Surf Scoter. A Wheatear and 2 flyover Mediterranean Gulls were also seen here.

Next up was Bempton Cliffs where the usual impressive selection of seabirds were on the cliffs with my second-ever Corn Bunting singing on the clifftop.

The two Richard's Pipits were showing really well at Flamborough Head when we arrived and continued to over the next hour, providing me with my best ever views of the species.

A return to Filey Brigg to watch tp sunset also resulted in some more great scope views of the Surf Scoter.

Another site on Tuesday evening held 4 Avocets, 3 Little Ringed Plovers and 2 Ruff.

Sunset at Filey
Surf Scoter - taken after the sun had gone down!

Surf Scoter

Corn Bunting

Richard's Pipits - last photo copyright Steve Clifton

Richard's Pipit

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Little Owl
Fulmars - Bempton Cliffs

 Looking south from Filey Brigg

Friday, 1 April 2016

Fourteenth time lucky

Had a look at the north end of Cresswell Pond this afternoon. The Long-billed Dowitcher was showing well and allowed a close approach if careful. I finally managed some half decent photos with this being the fourteenth time I've seen the bird! It was also nice to see the bird is starting to moult into summer plumage.

Also seen were 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Avocets and 2 Sandwich Terns offshore.

Long-billed Dowitcher - I've only uploaded the last shot as it shows the orange on the flanks nicely.